Full Story — Trumbull goes for Tesoro

Democrat Vicki Tesoro has won the first selectman’s office, defeating Republican Paul Lavoie and unaffiliated candidate Michael Redgate in a race for the office vacated by Timothy Herbst, who declined to run for a fifth term.

According to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Tesoro garnered 4,718 votes. Republican Paul Lavoie collected 4,157 and petition candidate Michael Redgate, 1,518.

In other races, incumbent Democrat Anthony Musto won another term as town treasurer, defeating former Treasurer John Ponzio 5,296 to 4,829. Republican Suzanne Burr Monaco retained the town clerk’s office, fending off Democrat Mary Markham in a closely contested race, 5,190 to 4,955.

Democrats also took control of the Trumbull Town Council, turning a 15-6 GOP edge into an 11-10 majority.

In District 1, Republican David Pia led all candidates with 1,437 votes. He and fellow Republicans Donna Seidell and Paul Verbitsky won seats on the council along with Democrats Dawn Cantafio and Bill Mecca. District 2 saw Democrats Mary Beth Thornton, Thomas Whitmoyer and Kevin Shively post wins, along with Republican Edna Colucci. Republicans Laura Rosasco Schwartz, Carl Massaro and Michelle Rutigliano will join Democrats Cindy Katske and Jason Marsh in representing District 3. Finally, the so-called Super District, District 4, will be represented by Democrats Lisa Valenti, Bruce Elstein and Ashley Gaudiano, and Republicans Ann Marie Evangelista, Ted Chase and J.C. Cinelli.

Control of the Board of Education was decided by just a few dozen votes, with the GOP holding on to a 4-3 edge. Republicans Jackie Norcel, Loretta Chory, Mary Petitti, and Jeffrey Donofrio posted wins, along with Democrats Mike Ward, Lucinda Timpanelli and Kathleen Fearon. With 5,365 votes, Donofrio just outpaced Democrat Julia McNamee’s 5,319 to keep the school board in Republican hands. Full results of all Trumbull races are available at trumbulltimes.com.

“We ran a heck of a campaign, one we can be proud of,” said Democratic Chairman Tom Kelly Tuesday as results began to trickle in. “Vicki didn’t say a negative word the whole time.”

Kelly attributed the win to the strength of the Democratic candidates and old-fashioned shoe-leather campaigning.

“We outworked our opponents, and it paid off,” he said.

At Republican headquarters the mood of supporters quickly turned somber.

“We thought we ran a great campaign and had the right message for Trumbull, but elections are funny things,” Lavoie said. “We went into the evening feeling good.”

Lavoie, whose term on the Board of Education ends December 5, said he would move forward.

“I’m someone who looks forward, not back,” he said. “I had a full, rich life before I got into politics, and I’ll continue to have a full and rich life after. I wish the new first selectman-elect good luck, I hope she governs well and keeps Trumbull the great community that it is.”

In her victory speech, Tesoro echoed Kelly’s sentiments, thanking her supporters and under ticket for sticking to a campaign pledge to avoid negativity.

“At the beginning of this campaign, I was told you have to attack your opponents. I was told negative campaigning works,” she said. “I disagreed. We ran a positive, issue-oriented and fact-based campaign, and we proved the experts wrong and the people of Trumbull right.”

Tesoro said the people of Trumbull had spoken up and demanded inclusiveness and cooperation in Town Hall.

“My pledge during the campaign is my pledge today,” she said. “Everyone’s voice matters, and myself and my administration will clearly put Trumbull’s interest first.”

Though he was not in the race, four-term incumbent Republican Timothy Herbst, who opted not to seek a fifth term, was a large factor, with Democrats promising to reverse an often confrontational management style. Tesoro thanked her opponents for running a “more civil campaign than we’ve seen in eight years.”

For his part, Herbst spent most of Election Day campaigning for Republican candidates in the Hartford area. When the results were final, he issued a statement congratulating Tesoro for her win.

“Of course I would have preferred to be succeeded by a Republican, but elections are tough,” he said. The full statement is at trumbulltimes.com.

Herbst said he hoped Tesoro would continue his policies of the past eight years. Whatever policies she pursues, Tesoro told her supporters, they could count on her dedication to a better Trumbull.

“There is a lot of hard work to do,” she said. “There will be ups and downs, but what there will not be is disillusionment. We will not say one thing and do another. We will be smart, hard-working, passionate people. All of that begins tomorrow. Tonight we celebrate.”