McHugh wins special Board of Finance election

Democrats balanced the Board of Finance Tuesday when Democrat Lainie McHugh wrested a seat from Republican Bill Haberlin in a tight race. (Editor's Note: This version corrects an earlier error in reporting of the tallies.)

Unofficial tallies around 9 p.m. Tuesday showed McHugh winning the race by 95 votes, 1,591 to 1,496.

“It was hard to tell all day which way it was going, McHugh said.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Paul LaVoie said the GOP is looking at the possibility of recounts in tight districts.

Haberlin won District 1 by six votes, 354-348.

McHugh won District 2 by three votes, 259-256. She also won District 3, 446-365, and District 4, 453-410.

The machine count showed McHugh winning by a 121-vote margin.

Absentee ballots went to Haberlin, 110-85.

“I want to say thank you to the voters of Trumbull,” McHugh said. “I hope we can change the Town of Trumbull. I look forward to representing the best interests of all residents through compromise.”

Haberlin said he was trying to figure out the result.

“Everyone I talked to, the response was so positive for me,” Haberlin said. “Obviously she did a better job getting the vote out than we did.”

“They did a very good job at getting the voters of Trumbull excited about a couple of issues, the sewer fee issue and the Park and Rec sticker issue,” LaVoie said. “Unfortunately the Board of Finance doesn’t have anything to do with that. It’s not sour grapes. They picked their platform based on those issues.”

McHugh and Democratic Town Committee Chairman Tom Kelly saw the result as an indication of a desire for broader change in Trumbull.

“It’s a very important election,” Kelly said. “First of all, because we had to fight in court for this election to be held in the first place, so it certainly validates the decision by us to go to rourt and it’s always a better situation when the people decide. People were given the right to choose and they exercised that fundamental right today.”

“I don’t think anybody can think that,” Haberlin said. “It’s a special election: You get 12 or 13 percent of the vote out. If it’s 60 percent that’s telling the story.”

McHugh said people were looking for a “change in tone.”

“I’d love to see us engage more voters,” she said. “I think this is the beginning of a shift. I think this is the beginning: People want the message to get out and want it to be more positive.”

“I hope we can get some consensus building,” McHugh said, “I’d like to have better priorities and more transparency.”

McHugh and Kelly thanked Haberlin for his service and running a positive campaign.

Kelly added that McHugh and Democrats looked forward to working with Republicans on the Board of Finance and throughout government “To make Trumbull a better place, and we’d like to work collaboratively and together.”