MERIDEN — Incumbent mayor Kevin Scarpati secured a second term in the election Tuesday night, beating out Republican Irene Masse, a former city clerk, and petitioning candidate Ernestine Holloway by a significant margin.
“I am beyond honored, beyond grateful to have won this race but to be honest with you if I won and didn’t have the council behind me to support me it would have meant nothing,” Scarpati told a roaring crowd in an exuberant victory speech at local Democratic headquarters.
Unofficial results showed 4,128 votes for Scarpati, 2,773 votes for Masse and 520 votes for Holloway, a registered Republican.
The night got off to a tense start at the Democrats’ Four Points Sheraton headquarters after a resident suffered a medical emergency and had to be taken away in an ambulance. However, as soon as polling numbers began to reflect sweeping Democratic victories the mood shifted as the crowd erupted into cheer after cheer.
Scarpati, 28, held seats on the City Council and Board of Education as a Republican. He switched to unaffiliated for his 2015 mayoral campaign and is endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee. Scarpati’s campaign focused on economic development and providing incentives to help bring businesses downtown. In his second term, Scarpati said he will prioritize the redevelopment of the abandoned Meriden-Wallingford hospital on Cook Avenue and business growth throughout the city.
“Tonight Meriden made the right choice certainly to continue to lead the city in the right direction,” Scarpati said. “I’m confident in the team that was elected. We’re going to get the job done.”
Masse, 78, believed her 24 years of experience as City Clerk would give her the necessary tools to lead the city. First elected as City Clerk in 1991, Masse credits herself with helping adapt to major technological changes during her tenure. Masse’s campaign focused on reducing low-income housing in the downtown, putting expensive city projects out to referendum and maintaining the Meriden Green. Masse is endorsed by the Republican Town Committee.
Masse arrived at Democratic headquarters just after 10 p.m. to congratulate Scarpati, giving her opponent a big hug.
“I’m disappointed that I couldn’t lead my entire crew to a Republican victory,” Masse said, adding. “I’m not sorry. I’m certainly not sorry.”
Holloway, 49, believed her insight into the problems facing Meriden gave her an edge in the race. She has practiced as a evangelist pastor for over 30 years and holds community events such as cookouts and backpack giveaways that she says help promote diversity in the city.
Holloway did not return a request for comment Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, Holloway said she intended to contest the election results in a post on social media.
“I felt like I was cheated,” Holloway said in a phone interview before the polls closed.