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New London Republicans announce endorsed candidates

New London — The ballot for the city’s municipal elections in November came into better focus Wednesday with Republicans formally endorsing mayoral, City Council and school board candidates.

With decidedly less drama than Democrats had a day earlier, the Republican Town Committee met at the Senior Center to endorse committee president Bill Vogel as a mayoral candidate.

Democrats on Tuesday endorsed City Councilor Michael Passero for their mayoral candidate over incumbent Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio. Finizio expects to petition his way into a September primary with Passero.

Republicans nominated a full slate of City Council candidates: Nancy Cole, Dennis Downing, Katherine Goulart, Martin Olsen, Keith Robbins, Tim Ryan and Tom Wise.

Board of Education candidates are Jefferson Harris, Joe Geraci and Mirna Martinez, who is currently a school board member.

Olsen is the only current Republican councilor in a city without a minority representation rule. Olsen called on fellow Republicans to pull together for the betterment of the city.

“Our new form of government has brought a high degree of turbulence and turmoil — a circus-like atmosphere,” Olsen said. “It’s not something that I would call conducive to good government or productive city government. It’s led by our mayor but aided and abetted over two terms by significant Democratic majorities supporting Mayor Finizio’s policies.”

“It’s been difficult for me as the lone ranger. I need a little help,” Olsen said.

Republican John Russell, a former City Council member who has already secured a spot on the City Council ballot as a petitioning candidate, was nominated from the floor as a City Council candidate at Wednesday’s meeting.

State statute, according to committee members, prohibits a political party from endorsing a petitioning candidate. Russell’s name was withdrawn.

Vogel said there was an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement with the Green Party to cross-endorse some City Council candidates.

Vogel said the agreement would have had Republicans endorsing former Public Works Director Tim Hanser, a Green Party member, while the Green Party cross endorsed Olsen, Robbins and Ryan.

“That didn’t pan out, but we’re getting closer to getting more cross-endorsements,” he said.

Vogel said he would set out to “counter the liberal progressive agenda of the mayor in which he promises things which he really can’t do.”

The city candidates spoke about fiscal responsibility, economic development and transparency.

“Not the transparency we’ve been used to for the past few years, but real transparency in how we actually do public policy and how we do public budgeting,” Ryan said.

G.Smith@theday.com

Twitter: @SmittyDay

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