Lauretti rolls over Eldridge, wins 16th term as Shelton mayor

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Mayor Mark Lauretti earned his 16th consecutive term Tuesday night, but two aldermen seats remain up in the air with approximately 315 absentee ballots still needing to be verified and counted, according to unofficial totals Tuesday.

Lauretti easily outdistanced Democratic challenger David Eldridge nearly 57 percent to 43 percent. Lauretti finished the night with 6,955 votes, compared to Eldridge’s 5,340.

“There are still a percentage of people who understand the value Shelton has, to be able to live here in an affordable place with a good quality of life,” Lauretti said when asked why voters keep turning out to support him. “Now I just keep going, just like the past 30 years. I’m back in the office tomorrow. I’ve got work to do.”

Lauretti said he was surprised that at least two aldermen seats remain in question.

“It’s hard for me to understand where people’s heads are at given the financial conditions of the city and the progress we continue to make. The people that come here because they see something very valid here,” Lauretti said about the closeness of the races in wards 2 and 3. “I know elections are very personal and it is about who your friends are and not about what’s going on.”

Overall, 1,455 absentee ballots were counted, according to numbers announced at GOP headquarters Tuesday. There are 315 outstanding absentee ballots in hand that must be verified and counted, according to Republican Registrar of Voters Pete Pavone, adding that the office can receive absentee ballots until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. These ballots will be counted Thursday.

Republicans also held control of the Board of Aldermen. In Ward 1, incumbent Anthony Simonetti earned 1,879 votes, followed by fellow Republican Porter McKinnon with 1,662 votes. Democrats David Gioiello and Wayne Bragg had 1,035 and 870 votes, respectively. Incumbent David Gidwani finished with 827 votes.

In Ward 2, Envision Shelton candidate Michele Bialek - who last week faced claims of having unpaid taxes to the city - appears to be the top vote getter with 1,339 votes. Incumbent Eric McPherson (1,225) sits second with a 47-vote edge over fellow incumbent Republican Joanna Carloni, with 1,178. Democrat Kevin Kosty sits at 1,169, pending the final absentee ballot count.

In Ward 3, incumbent Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr., topped the field with 1,605 votes. Fellow incumbent Cris Balamaci, with 1,464 votes, holds a 50-vote edge for the second seat. Envision Shelton candidate Matt McGee, at 1,411, sits in third at this point pending the final absentee ballot count. Democrat Michael Duncan earned 866 votes, followed by Envision Shelton candidate Chris Jones, 787 votes

In the Ward 4, incumbent Bernie Simons, with 1,647 votes, and newcomer Lorenzo Durante, with 1,626, outpaced Envision Shelton challengers Board of Education member Amanda Kilmartin, who collected 1,274 votes, and Board of Apportionment and Taxation member Michelle Laubin, with 1,289.

The Board of Education also remained under Republican control, with incumbents Kathy Yolish, Carl Rizzo, Amy Romano and Jim Orazietti rolling to reelection. The four were joined in victory by newcomer Joseph Pagliaro Jr. On the Democratic side, incumbents Kate Kutash, Diana Meyer,and Patti Moonan were reelected, with Lorraine Rossner filling out the board.

Overall, for the second consecutive municipal election, eight of the top nine vote getters for the nine-member Board of Education were Republicans. Kutash was the only Democrat to break into the top nine. By charter, the minority party must have four members.

On Planning & Zoning, Republicans maintained control, with incumbent Ruth Parkins and former P&Z alternate Peter Laskos voted in. Democrat Jimmy Tickey also won reelection.

In unopposed races, Raymond O’Leary was reelected as city treasurer; Democrats Joseph Knapik, Denese Deeds and Jarrett Frazier and Republicans John Francino-Quinn, John Boyko and John Belden were elected to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation; Democrat Jean Cayer and Republican Stephen Bellis were elected to the Library Board; and Republican Daniele Onofrio and Democrat John Uysal were elected as alternates to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com