Democrats hold majority on Meriden council

MERIDEN — Democrats hung onto three of six City Council seats up for grabs Tuesday while Republicans picked up a seat in a razor- close at-large race.

Republican Lenny Rich bested Democrat David Salafia by 35 votes leading to a likely recount.

If the result stands there will now be three Republicans on the 12-member council, two We The People members and seven Democrats.

Longtime Democratic Councilor Anthony Tomassetti did not seek reelection and his at-large seat went to the GOP reducing the Democratic majority by one.

Incumbent Democrat Miguel Castro easily won the Area 1 race, winning over We the People party challenger Lynn Ryder, while Democrat Larue Graham topped Republican Joshua Broekstra in Area 2, and Democrat David Lowell garnered the most votes in the at-large race, according to unofficial totals.

But victory celebrations were muted at Democratic headquarters as all eyes watched as Mayor Michael S. Rohde’s numbers slipped to his Republican challenger Manny Santos.

Republican Minority Leader Daniel Brunet beat his Democratic opponent Luke Ford in Area 3. We the People Party incumbent Bob Williams Jr. easily held onto his seat against Democrat Philip Mangiaracina and Working Families Party candidate Wayne Kalmick.

“Everything is in the cards and we’re doing a great job,” Brunet told a cheering crowd. “Here’s a town that’s overwhelmingly Democrat, it’s realizing now the importance of the commonsense, the reason, and the positive things we’ve been doing in the last four years.”

Democrats appointed Lowell, Castro and Graham to fill vacancies earlier this year and Tuesday marked their first election to keep those seats in their own right.

“I’m extremely exited,” Castro said. “The fact the people have spoken and the people have trusted that I can raise their voices on their behalf.”

Graham and Castro thanked the Democratic Town Committee and their campaign teams. Lowell said he looks forward to serving the city.

But Rohde’s loss at the top of the ticket dampened the festivities.

Democrat Steven Iovanna, who was not up for re-election, said he was shocked.

“The vote on the council says we’re going in the right direction,” Iovanna said. “We’ve got a lot of great projects going on. We’re going to have a great effort to work as a team to move the city forward.”

Graham said voters wanted changes in the administration.

“There were concerns about getting new blood into City Hall,” Graham said. “There are a lot of things happening thanks to this administration, but the thing I kept hearing was getting new blood in City Hall.”

mgodin@record-journal.com (203) 317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz



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