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And away we go ...

Published July 27. 2013 4:00AM

New London's local election season just started with the nomination of candidates by the local town committees, but already the political intrigue is thick.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio will not be on the ballot (he is not yet halfway through his four-year term), but his presence was and will continue to be felt. Expect Republican council candidates to turn their fire on him and his record, even if he isn't running.

The Democratic Town Committee denied Councilor Marie Friess-McSparran its endorsement. She is a critic of the mayor and has opposed him on most every major policy issue.

So Ms. Friess-McSparran accepted the nomination of the Republican Party to run on its council slate, but said she will remain a registered Democrat. Watch what you wish for, Mr. Mayor, this choice will allow her to attack in a way she could not if part of the Democratic ticket.

There likely will be a Republican primary. The Republican caucus, while choosing to endorse a Democrat, chose not to endorse former GOP councilor Martin T. Olsen. This appears payback for Mr. Olsen's decision in 2011 to lobby for Democratic votes on the council and gain election as the last ceremonial mayor before the change in government, denying fellow Republican Councilor Adam Sprecace that position.

While the motivation is understandable, denying Mr. Olsen, a candidate with past success, a place on the GOP line is self-defeating. And self-defeating is something the Republican Party, in this Democratic-dominated city, cannot afford to be. Odds are, Mr. Olsen will win himself a place on the ballot in the primary, but it's a divisive start for a party that needs to unify.

As for Mr. Sprecace, he decided not to seek a fourth council term, which is unfortunate but understandable. The decision, he said, was personal. He has a young family and wants to spend more time with them.

No one could question Mr. Sprecace's work ethic as a councilor. His research on policy topics was often exhaustive. And while this editorial page did not always agree with him, it always respected the knowledge he brought to a debate and the passion with which he advocated his position.

Expect to see him back in politics at some point.

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