Incumbents Declare Victory in Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury

November 06, 2019 - 12:36 pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The mayor of New Haven was ousted by voters Tuesday as other incumbents declared victory in other cities including Bridgeport, Hartford and Danbury.

Former New Haven Alderman Justin Elicker defeated Mayor Toni Harp, who was running as a third party candidate after losing the Democratic primary and conceded defeat.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a Democrat, prevailed in a six-way race to win a second term, while Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, a Democrat, overcame challenges from several write-in candidates.

Voter turnout was "slow but steady" across Connecticut, with mayor to local zoning board positions and local referendum questions on the ballot, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said.

By early evening, voter turnout was averaging roughly 19%, ranging from the single digits in some communities to more than 30% in others. Merrill said it appeared to be about on track for a typical local election year, or possibly lower. The statewide turnout average was about 30% in 2017. All but Andover, Bethany, Union and Woodbridge were holding elections Tuesday.

She said there were reports of some minor problems at the polls, including some confusion in Bridgeport about whether some Sacred Heart University students were eligible to vote.

In Bridgeport, voters were given the go-ahead Monday to head to the polls Tuesday by the State Supreme Court. Several local residents have been seeking to overturn the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, citing absentee ballot irregularities. But the state's highest court put off a ruling on whether to order a new primary.

In Danbury, Republican Mayor Mark Boughton, who ran an unsuccessful run for his party's nomination for governor last year, declared victory in his pursuit of a record 10th two-year term as the city's leader. He was facing a tough challenge from former City Council President Chris Setaro, a Democrat who has managed to match Boughton in fundraising.

The Danbury News-Times reported that morning voting was heavier than normal in one downtown ward for a non-federal election year.

"That's because there has been a lot of campaign and a lot of people have come out to vote," George Ganolo, a Democratic moderator, told the newspaper. "I don't know which way they're going, but a lot of people are here."

While local issues likely were on the minds of voters, federal ones may also have been. Democrats in some communities were encouraging voters to send Republican President Donald Trump a message. One flyer circulated by the Manchester Democratic Town Committee said "the only way to stop him is stop them," referring to "Trump Republicans" at all levels of government. In Greenwich, a local police sergeant was recently placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, after admitting he purchased campaign signs that linked the GOP's first selectman candidate, state Rep. Fred Camillo, to Trump. Voter turnout in Greenwich was about 32% by early evening.

Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano has criticized Democrats for tying local and federal politics, saying "that's not what local politics is about." The GOP controls 101 of the state's 169 municipal chief executive jobs.