By Davis Dunavin
In an Election Day marked by unexceptional turnout and few upsets, the most historic element comes in a repeat performance: Mayor John A. Harkins has secured the first re-election in Stratford history.
Harkins defeated challenger Joe Paul by more than 1,000 votes, 5,693 to 4,346.
"We have the awesome responsibility of governing Stratford," he said. "Voters say they like the way we govern. But it's not about us. It's about Stratford and we'll keep it that way."
Supporters cheered when Harkins entered Republican headquarters on Main Street. He said he'd been asked why Republicans secured such an easy victory this year.
"Why is it Republicans?" he said. "We have better candidates, we work harder, we raise more money and we get things done. The voters spoke loudly: they like what's going on and they want progress to continue."
He also credited his man-hours spent on the Army engine plant project for voters' positive reception.
In addition, Republicans maintained an 8-2 majority on the Town Council. Board of Education results are still pending and will be announced when they are received.
Full Results (added as they are received):Mayor
- Harkins 5,693
- Paul 4,346
- Bruno 269
- Mulligan 56
- Peter Massey (R)
- Matthew Catalano (R)
- Stephanie Philips (D)
- Jason Santi (D)
- Brian Dempsey (R)
- Ken Poisson (R)
- Craig Budnick (R)
- James Connor (R)
- Joseph Kubic (R)
- Paul Hoydick (R)
As of 2:00 p.m., 5,532 Stratford residents have voted in today's election. That's 17.4 percent, or still slightly lower than this time in the last election. Republican registrar Lou DeCilio says he expects a surge in turnout when residents get off work.
Stratford's Democratic Registrar of Voters reports a combined 2,627 have voted at all town polling places. This is a townwide 8.2 percent turnout so far, slightly down from four years ago, when 11.2 percent had voted by this time.
"We've got a lot of prayers coming our way," he said. "People are finally getting my message, now that we have a chance to talk to voters directly. This is a great opportunity for people to get involved in government — when we work together, we can make great things happen."
Paul will appear at polling places throughout the day, taking lunch at Marnick's at 1:00 p.m. before heading to Democratic campaign headquarters at 2874 Main Street at 7:30 p.m. to watch results.
"It's been steady here at Bunnell," he said. "It's only been a few hours, but I'd say it's an average morning. You'd expect a 30-40% turnout normally. We'll see how it goes by the end of the day."
A mayoral race between incumbent Republican John A. Harkins, Democrat Joe Paul and two petitioning candidates, highlights this year’s municipal election in Stratford.
But there are plenty of other seats up for grabs, including seven on the 10-member Town Council, as well as spots on the Board of Education and Planning and Zoning commissions.
A sample ballot is available for download here.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
A recent redistricting may have changed where you go to vote so before heading out you might want to look up your voter registration info here.
Election-related Patch articles
Ahead of the election, we asked the mayoral candidates how they felt their campaigns went and if they believed they got their messages across to prospective voters.
“Our campaign’s message was one of positivity and progress," said Harkins, who, after 14 years in the Legislature, was elected to the town's top municipal seat in 2009 when he beat incumbent Democrat Jim Miron by a comfortable margin. "Just four years ago, our town was reeling from a lack of leadership in the mayor’s office.
"Since I took over as mayor, we have brought back civility to our municipal government and made great strides on the redevelopment of the Stratford Army Engine Plant, the handling of the town’s unfunded pension liabilities, and making an agreement with Bridgeport to make for a smaller, safer airport, and ensuing the flooding issues on Main Street by the airport are addressed.
"This positive message has been very well received by the people of Stratford throughout our campaign.”
"People are so excited that they have a chance to change Stratford," the Democrat added. "The first example of that enthusiasm was shown when I won the primary; the second will be when I win the election."