Simmons defeats Crouse for second term as Stonington first selectman

Stonington Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons and his Democratic challenger, George Crouse, campaign next to each other outside the polls at the Stonington Borough firehouse on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2017. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)
Stonington Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons and his Democratic challenger, George Crouse, campaign next to each other outside the polls at the Stonington Borough firehouse on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2017. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)

Stonington — Just as he did two years ago, Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons defeated former Democratic First Selectman George Crouse.

Simmons defeated Crouse 2,831 to 1,827. In 2015, Simmons defeated Crouse 2,893 to 2,093.

The race for the two seats on the Board of Selectmen went to Republican John Prue (2,263 votes) and incumbent Democrat Kate Rotella (2,341 votes), as they both outpolled Crouse. The selectmen race is among the two candidates and the losing first selectman candidate.

Before the official results were announced in the basement of Town Hall, Crouse arrived, hugged Simmons and congratulated him. Earlier in the day, the two men campaigned at the same places, smiling and joking with each other.

"I tried to get my message out but Rob has done a good job. It would have been tough to displace him," said Crouse graciously. "We did the best we could."

Crouse had served 11 months as first selectman after Democrat Ed Haberek resigned in December of 2014.

"The Board of Selectmen as a whole set a standard for bipartisanship and civility and focused on important goals and objectives over the past two years," Simmons said when asked why voters supported him. "People saw that it worked the past two years and they wanted to see it work for another two years."

During the campaign, Simmons said the town needs a steady hand with experience in all levels of government to navigate issues such as decreasing state aid. He had pointed to numerous accomplishments over the past two years, such as successfully fighting the proposed Amtrak bypass through town; continuing his effort to upgrade two rail crossings in town, securing grants for Town Dock and breakwater improvements; and working out an agreement with Westerly to repair the Stillman Avenue bridge. He also was the driving force behind residents' decision to bond $2.2 million to create the Mystic River Boathouse Park.

Elected to two four-year terms on the Board of Finance were incumbent Democrat Timothy O’Brien and Republican Lynn Young.

Unaffiliated candidate Danielle Chesebrough, who was endorsed by the Democrats, defeated Republican Richard Balestracci for a two-year term on the finance board. Incumbent Republican Blunt White ran unopposed and was elected to a two-year term to fill a vacancy on the finance board.

Elected to the four seats on the Board of Education were Democratic incumbent Candace Anderson and Democrat Jack Morehouse, Republican incumbent Alexa Garvey and unaffiliated voter and past board member Alisa Morrison, who was endorsed by the Republicans.

In the race for town treasurer, Democrat Sandy Grimes defeated Republican John Delmhorst, while Democrat Karen O’Keefe defeated Republican Stephen Palmer for a seat on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Longtime Democratic Town Clerk Cynthia Ladwig and Republican Tax Collector Linda Camelio ran unopposed and were re-elected.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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