- Front Porch
LeftAlign.11 Zandri (D)4,044
✔ Dickinson (R)7,108
W ALLINGFORD — There will be no changing of the guard, as Republican Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. crushed Democratic challenger Jason Zandri in Tuesday’s election, winning by more than 3,000 votes.
According to unofficial results, Dickinson amassed 7,074 votes, compared to Zandri’s 4,015. Dickinson, 66, will begin his 16th consecutive term in January. He was first elected the town’s chief executive in 1983.
Dickinson supporters gathered at Gaetano’s Tavern on Main to watch as results came in from the town’s nine polling locations. After all the results were in, Dickinson asked for the crowd’s attention as he stood in front of an American flag gifted to him by his brother Richard during his first run for mayor. The mayor gave a rousing speech, highlighting the importance the people play in making the town successful.
“Who do we thank for this wonderful evening?” Dickinson asked the crowd.
“The people of Wallingford,” the crowd replied.
“That’s right,” an enthusiastic Dickinson said as he pumped his fist.
After the speech, the mayor introduced Republican Town Council and Board of Education candidates who won election. Dickinson said after his speech that victory was never guaranteed.
“I never get used to it,” he said. “I was nervous today.”
“There’s something wrong if you weren’t,” chimed in Republican Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay, as she chatted with Dickinson.
Watching the efforts of Zandri, Dickinson said there was some concern “in the back of my mind.” Zandri began his campaign months earlier than Dickinson. The Democratic challenger placed signs all over town and was aggressive in promoting how he would create efficiencies at Town Hall by upgrading technology and other changes.
“I was a little shocked at the separation,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Bob Prentice said of the vote disparity between Dickinson and Zandri. “It was more than I thought.”
“I was surprised,” Republican Town Councilor John LeTourneau said. “Jason campaigned hard, but again, the people of Wallingford love the mayor.”
As Dickinson continues as chief executive, he plans on working on keeping tax increases to a minimum, maintaining the town’s strong bond rating and keeping electric rates low.
While Republicans celebrated, Zandri, 44, thanked his supporters who gathered at the Italian Club on Dudley Avenue.
“Everyone was pulling to make a difference here and we did,” Zandri said. “We gave the town an opportunity to look at something else.”
Zandri, who gave up his seat on the Town Council to run for mayor, made his way to Gaetano’s and congratulated Dickinson.
“I told him I appreciated the opportunity to run against him,” Zandri said.
Zandri’s explained that no matter the party, everyone is working for the town of Wallingford, so “everybody wins.”
After he finishes his Town Council term, Zandri will work on raising funds for the annual Independence Day firework show. Zandri said his future in politics is uncertain.
“I may not be what the town wants,” he said.
After Gaetano’s cleared, Dickinson remained and spent time with his brother, Richard Dickinson, and sister, Susan Gregory.
“I feel he has done a great job,” said Gregory, who resides in Durham.
“He’s amazing because he stands for honesty, integrity and responsibility,” said Richard Dickinson, who traveled from Boston to attend Tuesday night’s festivities. “He’s really quite the independent thinker.”
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