SOUTHINGTON — Republicans easily held on to the majority on the Town Council Tuesday with all of the party’s incumbents winning reelection.
Republicans ran a slate of six incumbents, the maximum candidates allowed by state minority representation laws. All six, Victoria Triano, Tom Lombardi, Michael DelSanto, Jim Morelli, William Dziedzic and Paul Chaplinsky were elected Tuesday night, according to unofficial vote totals that didn’t include absentee ballots.
Democrats ran two of their Town Council incumbents and four newcomers. Chris Poulos, a Democratic incumbent, wasn’t nominated by the party to run for reelection.
Incumbent Democrats Chris Palmieri and Val DePaolo won reelection along with Jack Perry, a challenger who previously ran unsuccessfully for council as an unaffiliated candidate.
Democratic challengers Kelly Leppard and Kristen Guida, along with Planning and Zoning Commission member Christina Volpe, failed to take seats on the council Tuesday.
Vote totals heavily favored Republicans in Tuesday’s elections. Every Republican got more than 6,000 votes while the top Democrat, Palmieri, got fewer than 4,800.
Steve Kalkowski, Republican Town Committee chairman, said voters liked the party’s message and saw the accomplishments of the Republican-led council over the past few years.
“Our platform is what the voters of Southington are looking for,” he said. “We have outstanding candidates that are born leaders.”
Kalkowski said Southington residents have learned to trust the Republican leadership on town boards and commissions.
“We put out our commitment to the voters and it’s up to them to hold us to them,” he said
Erica Byrne, Democratic Town Committee chairwoman, said her party faced an uphill battle in a town that favors Republicans and during an election year where there was backlash against Democrats at the national level.
“I think the Republicans have done a good job of using national issues to motivate local voters,” she said.
Triano, Republican council chairwoman, said she was humbled that voters again gave her party a majority on the council and other boards.
“People have a lot of trust in us. They believe in our vision and it’s important that we don’t let them down,” she said.
Triano said it was important for the council to be focused on solving issues in town and keeping promises.
Palmieri, the council’s Democratic minority leader, said he was excited that voters wanted him to serve again but was disappointed that other Democrats didn’t get that chance as well.
“I’m saddened because we had a fantastic team of candidates,” Palmieri said.
He also believed national issues played a factor in Tuesday’s landslide Republican victory.
Voters also overwhelmingly supported a $17 million referendum to fund a new library, replacing the current aging structure on Main Street.
Library supporters ran a campaign complete with signs and mailers urging residents to vote in favor of the plan.
Leaders of both parties supported the library plan, saying it was necessary to fix code and other problems with the current building as well as provide much-needed space.