The primary season is underway in full force in Shelton. Eight Republicans submitted the signatures Wednesday, Aug. 7 — the deadline for such an action — in hopes of forcing a primary for spots on the November ballot.

Republican voters can cast their ballots at the primary on Sept. 10, with the top vote getters getting placed on the GOP ticket for the November election, which will be headed by the mayoral battle between 28-year incumbent Republican Mark Lauretti and a relative newcomer, Democrat John Harmon. The Republican registrar of voters office has seven days to verify all submitted signatures.

While admitting this is a large amount of individuals hoping to primary for GOP ballot spots, Republican Town Committee Chairman Anthony Simonetti said the party’s leadership remains confident its slate will win the GOP votes in September.

“We have a very strong slate,” said Simonetti, adding that the RTC will be “campaigning for our people. The RTC is dedicated to these people. That is our mission, and we will not fail.”

Mark Holden, Anne Gaydos and Tom Minotti all submitted signatures to primary for the Board of Education. The trio will be looking to unseat three from the Shelton Republican Town Committee’s chosen candidates — incumbents Dr. Darlisa Ritter and Kathy Yolish and newcomers Carl Rizzo, Jim Ozaretti, Ben Perry, Don Stanziale, Ruth Parkins, John Fitzgerald and Amy Romano.

The RTC tabbed all eight Board of Aldermen incumbents to run for their respective seats, but even those will not come without a fight — most notably in the third ward. Save Our Shelton members Greg Tetro and Peter Squitieri filed their signatures in the registrars of voters office to seek a primary against Alderman President John Anglace, Jr., and Cris Balamaci.

Board of Apportionment & Taxation member Mike Gaydos, who was nominated by the RTC Steering Committee for a return to that role but withdrew his name during last month’s RTC caucus, is seeking to primary in the second ward, where longtime incumbents Stanley Kudej and Eric McPherson earned the RTC nod.

The one surprise comes in the fourth ward, where Simonetti admitted that RTC members spent the past few days gathering signatures for RTC member Bernie Simons to primary against incumbents Jim Capra and Noreen McGorty, both of whom were voted onto the slate by the RTC caucus — with 68 party members in attendance — last month.

“Information came to light that changed our perspective on this ward, and over the weekend a decision was made that (the RTC) needed to move in another direction,” said Simonetti, adding that Simons stepped up to run for an aldermen seat in that ward. “We needed a stronger person in the fourth ward.”

Simonetti would neither comment on whether it was one or both incumbents being targeted nor what “information” was uncovered to cause this change in course in only a few days.

Former Democrat-now-Republican Chris Jones, known for running against Mayor Mark Lauretti in the past, is seeking a primary to be placed on the GOP ballot for Planning & Zoning. Ginny Harger, Ned Miller and Charlie Kelly were put forth by the RTC Steering Committee, with Jones’ name nominated from the floor during last month’s caucus. In the paper balloting, Jones was not close to breaking into the top three.

Karen Battistelli, present Board of A&T chair, who stated she would seek to primary for a place back on that board, did not file any signatures prior to the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The RTC Steering Committee left off Battistelli, and when Gaydos removed his name from consideration, RTC Chair Simonetti nominated Boyko for Gaydos’ seat. Holden nominated Battistelli. This forced a paper ballot, with John Belden, Jr., Jay Francino-Quinn and John Boyko easily earning the nod.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com