MERIDEN — After nearly 30 years on the City Council, We the People councilor Walter Shamock will not seek re-election and plans to retire from the council at age 89 in December.
Shamock initially planned to seek another four-year term as an at-large councilor, but changed his mind at the last minute, party officials said. He has served 28 years, from 1989 to 2005 and 2007 to present.
“Walt is a guy who’s served almost 30. It’s time, I understand,” We the People Party Chairwoman Lois DeMayo said. Shamock couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
We the People councilor Bob Williams, of Area 4, plans to run for an at-large seat in place of Shamock, DeMayo and Williams said. Williams is two years into a four-year term as one of the council’s two Area 4 representatives. If Williams, a councilor since 2009, wins an at-large seat, he would leave his Area 4 seat and begin a new four-year term. The We the People party would then appoint someone to finish out Williams’ final two years in Area 4.
If Williams loses his at-large bid, he would still be able to finish his Area 4 term, meaning the party has nothing to lose by running Williams for at-large and could potentially gain two seats if he prevails.
Williams said Shamock personally reached out to him and asked “if I'd be willing to pick up the torch in his legacy.” Williams decided to run after talking with people around town and getting “resounding” support, he said. Williams said the possibility of We the People gaining an extra seat was a small factor in his decision, adding that no other We the People candidates expressed interest in running for the at-large opening.
Shamock had been cross-endorsed by Republicans and We the People. DeMayo expects Republicans will cross endorse Williams.
Williams, who considers Shamock a friend, said Shamock’s retirement will be a “tremendous loss” to the council. Shamock’s 28 years on the council is by far the most of any current councilor. The second-longest serving councilor, Brian Daniels, has served 12 years and is not seeking re-election this year.
“He’s kind of like an encyclopedia. Regardless of his opinion on an issue, he certainly has the history,” Williams said.
There are currently three We the People councilors — Williams, Shamock, and Joseph Carabetta III, who isn’t seeking re-election in November. The council also includes eight Democrats and one Republican.
Republicans and We the People are hoping to pick up some seats in November to, at the very least, create a 6-6 split between the council’s two caucuses, DeMayo said. In addition to the two at-large races, Republicans and We the People have also collectively nominated a candidate for each of the four council area races.
A total of six people have filed paperwork to run for two at-large seats up for election in November, according to City Clerk Denise Grandy.
Democrats are running incumbent Michael Cardona, who is finishing his first-term as an at-large councilor, and John Eno. The party endorsed Eno, a Democratic Town Committee member, as a “placeholder” during its nominating convention in July because the committee’s preferred candidate, Tom Welsh, pulled out at the last minute. Democratic Town Chairwoman Millie Torres-Ferguson said in July that the party would choose a new candidate in the coming weeks. As of this week, the City Clerk’s Office said paperwork has not been filed for a new candidate, and Torres Ferguson couldn’t be reached for comment.
Other at-large candidates, according to the clerk’s office, include Republican Dan Zaborowski, along with Arthur Petrucelli and Ernestine Holloway, both registered Republicans running as petitioning candidates.
The local Libertarian Party also recently made some changes to its slate of candidates. Last month, resident Roger Misbach and his wife, Ellen, filed paperwork to run for a council Area 4 seat and mayor respectively. At the time, Roger Misbach said he and his wife only filed paperwork to run as a “placeholder” and that they planned to find other candidates to replace them before a deadline of Oct. 13.
However, Misbach said this week that he and his wife couldn’t find other candidates. Misbach will run for mayor, while his wife will run for council Area 4.
Ellen Misbach, 53, has never run for office before and works as a cook at a private school. Roger Misbach 52, ran for office once before, an unsuccessful 2018 bid for the state’s 83rd House District, and works as a line technician for Frontier.