Races to follow this Election Day

Changes in local leadership in the region are assured in today’s municipal election with voters filling open seats in Waterford, Stonington and Preston, all now held by Republicans. In Old Lyme a scandal not directly tied to the town could influence the vote. Meanwhile, voters in New London will decide if a Board of Education member recently arrested on a felony charge will return to the board.

In Preston, Republican incumbent First Selectman Robert Congdon, after 24 years in office, opted not to seek re-election. In a surprise decision Congdon, in a letter to the editor, endorsed the Democrat in the race, Sandra Allyn-Gauthier, rather than Republican Greg Moran. Congdon wrote that he set party politics aside to support the candidate with the best qualifications, pointing to Allyn-Gauthier’s experience as a banker, her master’s degree in business administration, and service on the Board of Finance and Board of Education.

In Waterford, Selectman Rob Brule seeks to keep the first selectman’s seat in Republican hands as he competes to succeed Dan Steward, retiring after 14 years. Brule has faced a vigorous challenge from Democratic nominee Beth Sabilia, a member of the Representative Town Meeting.

Also in Stonington a selectman, John Prue, is asking voters to make him a successor to fellow Republican Rob Simmons, who is stepping aside after two terms as first selectman. Democrats nominated an unaffiliated candidate, Danielle Chesebrough, in the first-selectman’s race.

In Old Lyme, Democratic incumbent First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder confronts the fallout from her work on the board of the Connecticut Port Authority, where she served as chair of the Finance Committee and, later, board chair. The authority has faced strong criticism for its mismanaged finances and questionable expenditures, with Reemsnyder resigning under pressure. This non-town issue could be the biggest factor in the race in which the incumbent is challenged by former Republican First Selectman Tim Griswold.

In New London Jason Catala — disregarding calls from his own Democratic Town Committee and from us in an editorial to leave the race for reelection to the school board — is pressing forward despite his arrest on charges of second-degree identity theft and illegal use of a credit card. Police allege Catala used personal information he obtained from a niece to open and use credit cards he took out in her name.

It should all make for an interesting Election Day that will alter the region’s political landscape, perhaps significantly.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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