MERIDEN – Unaffiliated Mayor Kevin Scarpati received the Democratic endorsement this week and is running unopposed for his third consecutive term.
Democrats endorsed Scarpati, mayor since 2015, when the party met this week to nominate candidates in November’s races for City Council, Board of Education, mayor, and city clerk. Republicans did not nominate a candidate to challenge Scarpati when they held their nominating caucus this week. No other candidates have filed paperwork in the mayor’s race, the City Clerk’s office said this week. Candidates have until Aug. 7 to file.
“It’s been an honor to serve you as your mayor since 2015. We have seen a lot happen over the last (four years) with a lot happening downtown and a lot happening across our city,” Scarpati told the Democratic Town Committee after receiving the endorsement this week. “… It’s just been a tremendous ride and one that I look forward to continuing.”
Republican Town Chairman Guy Beeman said whether Republicans feel Scarpati has done a good job “depends on the issue.” Ultimately, the party didn’t feel compelled enough to put up a challenger, he added.
Scarpati, 30, was a Republican on the City Council from 2011 to 2015.
This year’s race will mark the first in several that Republicans have not run a mayoral candidate. In 2017, the party ran former longtime City Clerk Irene Masse. Republicans last gained control of the mayor’s office in 2013, when Manny Santos defeated Democratic incumbent Mike Rohde before losing to Scarpati in 2015.
Both parties nominated full slates for the six seats up for election on the City Council, which include one seat in each of the city’s four voting areas and two at-large seats. The six councilors whose term is set to are Democrats Brian Daniels (Area 3), Sonya Jelks (Area 1), Cathy Battista (Area 4), and Michael Cardona (At-Large), and We the People Councilors Walter Shamock (At-Large) and Joseph Carabetta III. Daniels, a councilor since 2009, and Carabetta, elected in 2015, are not seeking re-election.
In addition to endorsing Battista, Jelks, and Cardona for re-election, Democrats endorsed newcomers Krystle Blake (Area 3) and Nicole Tomassetti (Area 2). Tomassetti, 23, is the daughter of the late Daniel Tomassetti, vice-president of Tomassetti Distributors, and the niece of former longtime City Councilor Anthony Tomassetti.
For the second at-large seat, Democrats endorsed a “placeholder” candidate, John Eno, after the candidate chosen by a committee, Tom Welsh, president of the Meriden Economic Development Corporation, recently withdrew from consideration. The party plans to nominate a new candidate to replace Eno in the coming weeks, Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Millie Torres-Ferguson said.
Republicans nominated three candidates for council seats at their meeting and also cross-endorsed three candidates from the We the People party. The two parties traditionally cross-endorse each other’s candidates to avoid running against each other and splitting the vote, said We the People Chairwoman Lois DeMayo.
Republicans endorsed Joe Vollano (Area 3), Michael Carabetta (Area 4), and Dan Zaborowski (At-Large), and cross-endorsed Walter Shamock (At-Large), David Grodzicki (Area 2), and Geetha Catrell (Area 1) from the We the People Party.
DeMayo said the We the People Party will nominate their own candidates and cross-endorse Republican candidates when it holds its nominating convention next month.
Vollano narrowly lost a run for Area 3 in 2015, losing to Daniels by about 70 votes. Michael Carabetta is known by many for spearheading and collecting signatures for last year’s historic budget referendum, in which about 6,000 residents voted to reject the City Council’s budget because it included a 4.6 percent tax hike. Shamock, 89, is the longest-serving member of the council. He has served for 28 years.
According to the City Clerk’s office, two other candidates have also filed paperwork to run for City Council. Richard Cordero, a Libertarian candidate, is running in Area 1 and Art Petrocelli, a petitioning candidate, is running at large.
In the school board race, four seats on the nine-member board will be up for grabs in November. Democratic incumbents Mark Hughes, board president since 2007, and Pamela Bahre, in her second term, are not seeking re-election, and another seat left open after the death of board member John Lineen in March.
A fourth seat, currently held by Democrat Wandy Eddy, will also become open because Eddy isn’t able to run because she works for the Post Office as a federal employee. The federal Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity.
Democrats appointed Eddy in January to replace Donald Green after Green resigned to become a state magistrate. City Charter stipulates that Eddy can fill Green’s seat until the end of his term, ending in 2021, or the next municipal election, whichever comes first.
There will be a separate line on the ballot for candidates vying to serve the final two years of Green’s term.
Democrats nominated newcomers Parrish Holloman, Giana Gleeson Ives, Sheri Amechi, and Mike Reynolds, who previously served on the board until 2017. Democrats also cross-endorsed longtime Republican board member Robert Kosienski, Jr.
Holloman, a 22-year-old city native, currently serves as the youth president for the Middlesex County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Gleason Ives’ background includes past jobs as a Hartford Public Schools teacher and as a policy fellow for former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Amechi, who is running to finish Green’s term, has lived in Meriden for 15 years and has one son who graduated from Meriden Public Schools and another who is currently in the school system.
Republicans nominated five candidates for school board: Rebecca Wronski, Tony Martorelli III, Ray Ouellet, Kosienski, and Josh Broekstra, who is running to finish Green’s term.
While Wronski, Martorelli, and Ouellet are each running for the first time, Beeman said each candidate is familiar with Meriden schools through different capacities. According to Beeman, Wronski recently retired from teaching in Meriden, Ouellet use to be a school resource officer in Meriden schools, and Martorelli has children in the school system.
Broekstra ran for an Area 2 seat on the council and lost a close race to Democratic incumbent Larue Graham.
In the City Clerk race, Republicans endorsed incumbent Denise Grandy, who was elected to a four-year term in 2015, replacing longtime clerk Denise Grandy, who had retired. Democrats nominated longtime DTC member Yvonne Jimenez.