Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Municipal Elections: Enfield

This is the first in an occasional series about town politics. There will be more about different towns as the election approaches. Email me if you want me to write about your town.

On Monday, I was driving home when I saw a large red sign posted on one of the busiest corners in town. On it was painted, in white letters, the URL "EnfieldDeservesBetter.com."

Excitedly, I pointed out the sign to my beleaguered wife, who took one look at it and shrugged. Another ad, big deal.

To me, it was a big deal. It was definitely a campaign sign, probably Republican (the town GOP posts red and white signs, Democrats blue and white). The political season was finally on in Enfield.

Enfield

Town Statistics

Population (2003): 45,246
Registered Voters (2004): 26,603
    Unaffiliated: 12,157
    Democratic: 9,486
    Republican: 4,899
    Minor Parties: 61
U.S. Congressional District: 2nd (Rob Simmons-R)
State Senate District: 7 (John Kissel-R)
State House Districts: 58 (Kathy Tallarita-D), 59 (Steve Jarmoc-D)
2004 Pres. Vote:
    Kerry: 10,826
    Bush: 8,669
2004 Cong. Vote:
    Rob Simmons (R): 8,948
    Jim Sullivan (D): 8,844
Form of Government: Council/Manager
Town Council:
    Currently controlled by Democrats. The council majority elects the mayor, in this case Democrat Patrick Tallarita.

Election 2005

In 2003, Democrats finally won a clear majority on the town council, following several successive terms of Republican control. Democrats want to retain their majority, while Republicans, following several retirements, are putting forth a renewed, more youthful slate in the hopes of recapturing the council.

Republicans were defeated two years ago largely because of the effect of the Enfield Taxpayers' Party, a conservative group who wants to lower taxes at all costs. The two ETP candidates and the Republicans combined received more votes than the Democrats, but the split in the town's conservatives gave the Democrats the win. The effect of the ETP this year won't be as great, as they are running only one candidate, not two.

Republicans are running on the idea that Enfield "deserves better," although some of the problems they cite on their website were initiated during the period of Republican control. Democrats are promising more of the same.

Issues will include taxes, budget matters, infrastructure, economics and possibly a new library plan that was recently unveiled.

Prediction

The past two years have generally been good ones for Enfield. Several large businesses have moved into town, road improvements have been made without too much pain, and tax increases, while steady, haven't been particularly onerous. This will help Democrats.

Still, the Republicans will do much better now that the ETP seems a little weaker, although their reluctance to engage the ETP directly (Republicans backed out of an ETP-backed candidate forum) may hurt them. Minority Leader Scott Kaupin, who would become mayor if the Republicans won, is well-known and well-liked.

It'll be closer than 2003, but the Democrats will probably hold on.

Update (Thanks, MikeCT)

Websites:
 Enfield Republicans
 Enfield Democrats

 MyTownHall.info has interviews with most of the candidates.

8 comments:

MikeCT said...

You'll be interested to know that the Enfield Democrats have launched their "A Better Enfield" site this week (not to be confused with the Republican "Enfield Deserves Better).

Some municipal elections I'd like to know more about:

New Britain, where Jason Jakubowski and the local Dems should be able to capitalize on 4 to 1 Democratic advantage in voter registration to oust the Republican incumbent.

West Haven, where John Picard got the Democratic nomination over the long-term Democratic Mayor Richard Borer (don't know if Borer decided to run as independent - some more info on Borer in my previous comments on him and allegations of shady deals and mismanagement).

Plainfield, where Kevin Cunningham successfully defeated the party-nominated candidate for first selectman, and now refuses to accept the support of the local town committee.

Wallingford - just trying to understand how Bill Dickinson, the incumbent Republican mayor, has lasted for more than two decades, and whether Jim Vumbaco, son of the last Democratic Mayor, has a chance.

And while it is not a town election, I hope someone will break the apparent news blackout on potential sucessors to Ernie Newton in the State Senate.

Genghis Conn said...

Thanks, Mike. Your sources of information are, as always, excellent. I'll add the Enfield Democrats site to the original post.

New Britain has had a tendency to go Republican over the last decade, despite the 4-1 registration advantage held by Dems.

There's been nothing about Newton's Senate seat, although I've been looking.

Aldon Hynes said...

Here is what I wrote for my personal blog yesterday about municipal races. Unfortunately, blog is down right now. Hopefully it will be back up soon.

Also, I've been following the special election in Bridgeport fairly closely. I will dig up my notes on this and paste them a bit later.

These are some of the races I’m particularly interested in:

Greenwich First Selectman: Democrat Peter Berg is running against one term incumbent Jim Lash. Peter helped out with my wife’s State Rep campaign. He’s a bright guy and would be a great first selectman.

Stamford Mayor: My home town. Mayor Dan Malloy is running for re-election. The Republicans are fielding Chris Munger. Munger is a retired FBI agent. So far, his campaign has been less than exciting. Al Fiore was running as a petition candidate and has dropped out to support Munger. Darek Shapiro is running as a Green candidate in this race and is a much more interesting than Munger.

It will be interesting to see how the Greens do in Stamford. They have two other candidates on the ballot this year, Trish Haines Dayan who is running for Board of Education and David Bedell who is running for Constable. In the Board of Education race, the Democrats are also fielding incumbent Marggie Laurie, who is really good as well as Richard Freedman and Donald Huppert.

Up in Danbury, there is an exciting Mayoral race with Democrat Dean Esposito challenging incumbent Mark Boughton. Boughton has been in the news a lot because of his statements about immigrants.

Also of interest in Danbury is Lori Kabeck who has been working as assistant town clerk in Danbury for many years and is now running for Town Clerk.

In Norwalk, Mike Geake is running for re-election as a commissioner in the second taxing district. I met Mike very early on in the Dean campaign and he is a great guy.

In Stratford, Jim Miron is running as the Democratic candidate for Mayor. This is the first mayoral race since they revised their charter. The Republicans are fielding Dom Costello and there are three petitioning candidates on the ballot.

Up in Shelton, former Democratic Mayor Mike Pacowta is running against incumbent Mark Lauretti. Mike was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In New Britain, Jason Jakubowski is running for Mayor. You can here a podcast with Jason at ctpolitics.net.

There are a bunch of other interesting races, but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

On Ernie Newton's successor, it is my understanding that Ed Gomes, on the city council, a leading critic of Ganim and Fabrizi, will get the Democratic endorsement tonite. I expect him to win. Wonder if Kevin Sullivan who worked so hard for Ernie and was so angry at the unions for supporting one of their own(Gomes is on the State Labor Council and Steelworker Union Officer) will swear him in?

Anonymous said...

What I am not seeing here is anyone talking about the issues like why the current Enfield Council has not been able to enact an EMS program after hiring a consultant? Or why has the current council not been able to get our police a contract?

Genghis Conn said...

I haven't the faintest idea why the EMS thing isn't working, but I did read today that the police finally do have a contract.

article here

The timing is quite suspicious.

Anonymous said...

I find it suspicous that the Enfield democrats, who ran a campaign on how good everything is, are now looking to oust the town manager. The Town Manager, Scott Shanley, is widely regarded as one of the best in the state especially for his administrtive abilities. Why would we want to oust someone in that position if things are so good...makes me wonder.

Genghis Conn said...

A very, very good question, anonymous. I'm not happy about it, either.