Republicans Celebrate Sweep


WINSTED — Champagne and beer flowed at the Town Republicans’ headquarters on Elm Street Tuesday night, after candidates from the Laurel City GOP learned they had swept this year’s election, beating most of their Democratic contenders by at least 30 percent and trouncing the town’s minor parties by much larger percentages.

The top vote-getter Tuesday was the town’s new mayor, Kenneth Fracasso, who picked up 1,164 votes, followed by David Cappabianca with 1,100, Gene Berlinski with 1,017, Jeffrey Liskin with 1,011 and Democrat Candy Perez with 994.

Republican Michael Hamm earned 915 votes, putting him in sixth place overall and giving his party the town’s limit — a five-member majority on the new seven-member board.

Democrat Michael Renzullo received 703 votes, earning him the seventh seat on the board, albeit as one member of a two-seat minority.

"I imagine the beating up will start soon and it won’t stop for the next two years," Renzullo predicted Tuesday night. "It will probably feel a lot like how [selectmen] David Cappabianca and Jay Case felt for the past two years. I’m going to try to work with the Republicans the best I can."

As Republicans celebrated, members of the town’s other parties seemed to wince in pain.

"I feel like the town just got sold," said Winchester Party member Barbara Wilkes, who ended up with 614 votes, losing her seat on the board.

"I don’t like the buyer and I don’t think anyone else will either," she said.

Wilkes’ husband, Harold, gave a similar analysis.

"I guess we know who owns the town now," he said.

Democrat Perez said she was happy to be elected and that she’ll try to work with the new Republican majority.

"I have the ability to work with anyone who wants to work with me," she said. "The Republicans have said they want to cooperate and I take them at their word."

At Republican headquarters Tuesday night, the incoming group of selectmen talked to reporters in the storefront’s back room. "I had a feeling we were going to win," Cappabianca said. "We worked hard and we ran a clean campaign."

The selectman said he expects losing parties to blame the Republican sweep on "all that money they got from that nasty developer," but in the long run, he said, the Republicans stuck to the issues.

Republicans were by far the top money earners in this year’s election, collecting enough cash to run prime-time television commercials on the Charter Cable network. Party members showed unabashed support for the development of a combined golf course and upscale housing development in town, while opposing a proposed $42 million infrastructure bond.

The proposed developer of the golf course and housing project, Aurora Rosa Estates, was a major contributor to the Republicans this year.

Cappabianca said the Republicans’ first order of business would be to schedule a special meeting for Thursday night regarding the bond proposal and that his party will stick to its platform. "We have a lot of catching up to do," he said.

Newly elected Selectman Gene Berlinski echoed Cappabianca’s remarks, adding the Republican majority does not necessarily make the job any easier. "We’ve got a lot of work to do," he said. "This is no easy deal."



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