Salem election recount leaves original results intact in 3 races

Salem - A recount Wednesday confirmed the original election results in three close races - the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Library Board of Trustees.

A recount is triggered in Connecticut if the vote difference between candidates is less than one-half of 1 percent or fewer than 20 votes.

In the Board of Selectmen race, Republican challenger Ed Chmielewski beat Democratic incumbent Robyn McKenney by eight votes, one more than the seven originally reported.

Chmielewski, McKenney and Robert Ross, a cross-endorsed candidate, ran for the two open seats. Ross, with 325 more votes than Chmielewski, is unaffected by the recount.

"I'm very excited to serve," said Chmielewski, who said the night's story was not about him but about the fact that the will of Salem residents was validated.

The recount also confirmed the election of Republicans Greg Preston and Dave Kennedy to the Board of Finance and Republicans Wendy Ortega and Susan Buck to the Library Board of Trustees.

Chmielewski, who is chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said this was the second municipal election in a row in which all but one candidate nominated by his committee was elected.

Republicans will "continue to listen to and work for our townspeople," he said.

On Monday, McKenney, who had considered waiving the recount, said she did not expect the results to change but that it was "really respectful of everyone to allow (it) to go forward."

Democratic Town Committee Chairman T.J. Butcher said the process is important not just so that the losing candidate can be comfortable with the results, but also so that the winners can be certain that their election was valid.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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