WALLINGFORD — For the first time in over 15 years, all nine town councilors will seek re-election in November’s election.
The council’s six Republicans, two Democrats and one unaffiliated member have declared intentions to run.
Those seeking re-election include unaffiliated councilor John Sullivan, a former Democrat, and Republican state Rep. Craig Fishbein, one of few state legislators to hold local office.
Others seeking re-election are Democrats Jason Zandri and Vincent Testa, and Republicans Vincent Cervoni, Tom Laffin, Chris Shortell, Joe Marrone and John LeTourneau, according to Democratic town chair Jeffrey Knickerbocker and Republican town chair Chris DiGenova.
While campaigning without a party’s support will be an “uphill battle,” Sullivan said he feels party affiliation is not as important today.
“Certainly I think there’s more tolerance today for people running unaffiliated than there was in the past,” he said.
Sullivan won election in 2015 by just over 500 votes as the fifth-highest vote getter and won in 2013 by just over 1,000 votes as the fourth-highest vote getter, according to election records.
Sullivan left the Democratic party in 2015 a couple weeks after the election, citing disagreements with local party leaders. To get on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate, Sullivan had to receive enough signatures on a petition, which was approved by the Secretary of the State’s office in March.
“Being unaffiliated ties me directly to the residents. There’s no direction other than what’s best for the residents and the town,” Sullivan said.
Fishbein, who was sworn in as a state representative in the 90th district in November, is running for his fifth term on the council. After balancing both roles for about six months, Fishbein said he hasn’t found time or scheduling to be an issue.
“I have one of the best attendance records on the council,” Fishbein said.
Fishbein, a private attorney, found it hard to give up his council seat. “It’s sort of like a child,” he said. “I don’t have kids. It was my first foray into politics. How do you turn your back on that?”
Other Democrats running for council include residents Bruce Conroy and Gina Morgenstein, according to Knickerbocker. Residents Jamie Hine and Patrick Reynolds are seriously considering a run for council, he added.
DiGenova said he hasn’t received interest from any other candidates, but didn’t rule out the possibility of someone coming forward in the coming months.
The deadline for local parties to submit a certification of endorsement to the town clerk is July 26. Town Charter allows up to six members from the same party on the council.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. could not be reached Friday for comment on whether he will seek re-election. The longtime Republican mayor is serving his 17th consecutive term, and has won the last three mayoral races by over 3,000 votes on average.
Knickerbocker said he expects the Democratic party will run a mayoral candidate this year, which it did not do for the last municipal election. He said several residents are seriously considering a run.
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