Republican Nash wins Norwich City Council election
Norwich ― Republicans gained the majority on the City Council on Wednesday as former Alderman William Nash won the special election to fill a vacant seat through the November election.
Nash, 60, who had served 12 years on the City Council before deciding not to seek re-election in 2021, defeated Democrat Shiela Hayes, a longtime civic activist and youth advocate, 1,200 to 935, not including the 115 absentee ballots submitted. About 11% of Norwich voters turned out for the one-race election held on an odd date ― a Wednesday in late May.
Nash is a retired city police officer, a former DARE officer, and now is director of operations at M & M Group, a commercial property maintenance business in the Norwich Business Park.
Nash said he was pleased with the results, although not the turnout. He said the unusual date might have contributed to the low turnout.
“Norwich is 40,000 people, and we need them to get involved,” Nash said. “Norwich is not going to grow if we don’t get people involved.”
Hayes called to concede and congratulate Nash shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The two candidates vowed at the start of the campaign to run a clean race, with no personal attacks. The two have known each other for years and have worked together on various city efforts over the years.
“I’m glad we ran the kind of campaign we did,” Nash said, “because it was pleasant and wasn’t nasty like the national stuff is.”
Nash said he and Hayes will sit down next week to discuss city issues.
Hayes congratulated Nash as the results became apparent shortly before 8:30 p.m. Hayes thanked her campaign team and vowed to continue her activities as a youth advocate and pressing for city investment in its diverse neighborhoods.
“I will continue to work in the city, and continue to advocate for the city,” Hayes said.
Democrats had held a 4-3 majority after the 2021 election until then Democratic Alderman Derell Wilson was elected in November 2022 as a Norwich state representative. The council has been split 3-3 since Wilson’s departure in January. Nash will be seated just as the council prepares to vote on the 2023-24 city and school budget and to allocate the final $781,000 in the city’s federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 recovery grant.