Republicans big winners in Groton

Groton - Republicans on Tuesday seized back control of the Town Council, winning eight of nine seats and ousting four incumbents based on unofficial results.

Republican incumbents Harry A. Watson, Dean G. Antipas, Deb Peruzzotti and Bruce S. Flax were re-elected, along with Republican newcomers Greg Grim, Diane Marley-Barber, Karen F. Morton and Bonnie Nault.

"All eight of us got elected. Maybe we should have run nine," said Watson, the top vote-getter in every district, based on early results. "I think it has a lot to do with what's going on in the state right now trickling down to the local communities."

Incumbent Councilor Joe de la Cruz won the sole Democratic seat on the council.

"I'm disappointed to say the very lease," he said. "I thought we did a very good job when we were in there . . . I am shocked. Shocked."

The race focused on controlling taxes to keep Groton affordable but attracting business to maintain the quality of life in town.

Democratic incumbent Mayor Rita Schmidt and councilors Bob Frink and Rich Moravsik lost seats, along with Democratic Councilor Patrice Granatosky, who filled the seat vacated by Genevieve Cerf earlier this year.

"Everybody was looking for a change, a change of leadership," said Grim, a radiological engineering supervisor. "I think everybody was concerned about their taxes and keeping spending under control."

"I'm super excited," said Nault, a Realtor.

"We killed it, man," said Flax, re-elected Tuesday. "Two years ago, they knocked a couple of us off." He said the combination of voter frustration with Democratic state leadership and local concern over spending prompted the change. "Our message is starting to resonate with the voters, especially in the city, that we need to create efficiencies," Flax said.

Moravsik said it could be the governor getting bad publicity affected the local party. "It's one of those things. I guess people wanted a change and they got it. They got me and Bob and Patrice and Rita, we're out," he said. "I guess people in Groton want a change. I don't think they're going to get it with these guys."

Voters approved a request to authorize $8.23 million in bonding for refurbishment of the water pollution control facility effluent pump station and rehabilitation of the Fishtown Road pump station.

d.straszheim@theday.com

Twitter: @DStraszheim 

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