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Nickerson re-elected to first selectman

East Lyme — Incumbent First Selectman Mark Nickerson was re-elected to his second full term on Tuesday, winning 3,067-1,296 against challenger Wes Firmin.

"It’s a big win across the board for everybody on our team" Nickerson, a Republican, said, referencing the many Republicans elected on Tuesday.

Nickerson, 54, the owner of two local GEICO offices with a background on the Board of Selectmen and Zoning Commission, became the town's first selectman in January 2015, when former First Selectman Paul Formica became a state senator, and was elected to his first term in November 2015.

Nickerson's major issue this campaign was balancing taxes with the town's quality of life and educational system, as the community faces anticipated decreases in state aid. He also emphasized the importance of completing town projects, including developing the former Mobil gas station site on Main Street into a park.

Firmin, 37, a Republican who ran as a petitioning candidate, works at Northeast Financial Group and is an owner of Firmin's Garage, a family business, was making his first bid for public office.

He ran on a platform of cutting town spending and prioritizing "needs" versus "wants," focusing on infrastructure improvements and bolstering small businesses in town.

Firmin congratulated Nickerson on the win.

"The voters have spoken, and he’s their choice,” Firmin said. “I think I raised some eyebrows in town, and I want everyone to know that I’m not giving up and I’m not going to go away. I’ll be back in 2019.”

Voter turnout was about 41 percent.

During the morning of Election Day, around 8 a.m., a resident was allegedly being boisterous and verbally aggressive with Nickerson and other candidates and the police were called when the individual refused to step away to ensure peaceful resolution, Nickerson said.

Police Chief Michael Finkelstein said police received a report Tuesday morning of a verbal disturbance around 8 a.m. at the high school and it was not criminal.

At 9:30 a.m. at the community center, the same unidentified individual approached candidates and would not leave them alone, Nickerson said.

Finkelstein said police are investigating a third, walk-in complaint in the afternoon to the police department that a physical disturbance had occurred at the high school.

No arrests have been made at this time.

Voters returned incumbents to the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education.

Democrats Rose Ann Hardy and Dan Cunningham and Republicans Marc Salerno, Paul Dagle and Kevin Seery earned the five selectmen seats, while newcomer Terence Donovan, a Zoning Commission member and chairman of the Democratic Town Committee did not win.

Democrats William Derry and Candice Carlson, and Republicans Leigh McNamara Gianakos, John W. Kleinhans and Albert L. Littlefield won the five open seats on the 10-member Board of Education, while newcomer Ann Cicchiello, an attorney did not win.


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