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Preston — First Selectman Robert Congdon easily won re-election to a 10th term Tuesday, defeating political newcomer Vincent Eleazer 684 to 139.
Congdon, a Republican, said the wide margin was attributable to the fact that he was running against a first-time candidate. Eleazer, the first member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to seek office, ran as an unaffiliated petitioning candidate. The Democratic Town Committee did not field a candidate.
“The candidate I ran against has not been involved in town government or town boards and commissions for his 19 years in town,” Congdon said. “And being a petitioning candidate made it an uphill battle as well.”
While there were no major issues in the race, Congdon said, there was a sharp contrast between his views about tribal-town relations and that of his challenger.
“The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) is going through changes in their regulations, and we clearly differentiate ourselves as candidates on Native American issues,” he said.
Despite the results, Eleazer said he hopes to run for office again.
“It was a good opportunity for stepping out,” he said. “It was an awesome experience.” Eleazer, who works in hotel operations and volunteers in tribal government programs, said he plans to stay involved in town affairs.
Along with Congdon, the Board of Selectmen will be comprised of three-term incumbent Republican Michael Sinko and Democrat Lynwood Crary, who has served on various towns and commissions.
For the Board of Finance, voters chose 12-year incumbent Republican Kenneth Zachem and Democrat David Cannon, who will be serving his first term on the board. Joining them will be Preston Redevelopment Agency member Merrill Gerber, a Republican who ran unopposed for a four-year vacancy on the board.
With 907 votes cast, turnout for the election was 28 percent.