October 29, 2009

Election offers voters a choice

After a campaign remarkable only for its civility, voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to stick with a mayor who has guided the city through hard times.

If he is reelected to a second two-year term, Democratic Mayor Art Ward would be the first mayor to return to office since 2001, when Frank Nicastro won the last of his five mayoral races.

Voters will also decide the fate of four incumbent city councilors, two Democrats and two Republicans, and perhaps whether to hand control of the council to the GOP for the first time since 1991.

Also on the ballot are races for the treasurer’s post, the Board of Assessment Appeals and constables, as well as an economic development referendum considered routine.

The Democrats start with a built-in advantage in terms of registration, claiming the allegiance of 41 percent of the city’s 34,142 registered voters. The Republicans have just 16 percent.

But after a blip last year where the Democrats outnumbered unaffiliated voters, those registering as independents again outnumber either party, with 42 percent of the total.

The GOP is counting on capturing not just independent voters but also many Democrats.

In the three-way mayoral contest, Republican Mary Alford and independent Gary Lawton are likely to split some of the anti-Ward vote, making it even more likely that Ward will return to his $98,000-a-year job at the helm of City Hall.

In the council contests, though, the Republicans have a shot at grabbing a majority if they can keep their two incumbents – Ken Cockayne and Mike Rimcoski – and snatch a couple of open seats in the 3rd District.

Despite a Democratic lock on the district for three decades, GOP contender David Mills is widely considered to have a reasonable chance of winning one of the 3rd District’s two seats. He had raised more money than any other council hopeful at the last reporting deadline.

Mills may even be strong enough to pull the other Republican candidate in the district in with him, political insiders said, giving Derek Czenczelewski a better shot that he would otherwise have.

The Democrats, though, are counting on their 3rd District candidates, Kate Matthews and Terry Parker, to succeed in recapturing the district for the party.

Two Democratic council incumbents, Kevin McCauley and Cliff Block, are aiming to keep their seats as well.

In the 1st District, Block and Rimcoski have to fend off challenges from two newcomers, Democrat Kevin Fuller and Republican Eldianne Bishop.

In the 2nd District, Cockayne and McCauley are in the sights of Democrat Allen Marko and Republican Richard Scarola.

In the race for the part-time treasurer’s slot, first-term incumbent Democrat Bill Veits is hoping to fend off Republican newcomer Rose Parenti.

Republicans have held the allegiance of 15 to 20 percent of the voters for many years. Their numbers have slipped only a little during the past five years.

Democrats, on the other hand, once had a commanding hold on the electorate.
In 1984, for example, 49 percent of city voters called themselves Democrats and only 32 percent were unaffiliated.
By 2004, just 39.5 percent of the city's electorate registered as Democrats, but during the past five years, the Democrats have made gains.

The polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling Places in Bristol:

Council District One
77A– Edgewood School – 345 Mix Street
77B – Northeast School - 530 Stevens Street
77C – Mountain View School – 71 Vera Road

Council District Two
78A – Chippens Hill Middle School – 551 Peacedale St.
78B – Clara T. O’Connell School – 120 Park Street
79A – South Side School – Tuttle Road

Council District Three
79B – American Legion – 22 Hooker Court
79C – Greene Hills School – 718 Pine Street
77D & 22 - Stafford School – 212 Louisiana Avenue

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could have had a Republican mayor AND at least 3 Council members if the party mucky mucks weren't so self centered.

Won the battle, lost the war.

Anonymous said...

The people of this town need a change, We have the chance to make it happen. So on Nov 3 please use are heads and vote for Mary. This towns future depends on it.

Anonymous said...

Once again, sometimes change just sucks. The very LAST thing this town needs is for an inexperienced newbie to try and take the reins.

Anonymous said...

Based on most of her comments, she really doesn't have a clue, and her handlers are no more knowledgeable than she is.

Would be a disaster

Anonymous said...

It's funny how the Republic signs happened to all fall over around town but the Dems' all stayed.

Typical union scumbag tactics!

Anonymous said...

Mary admits they ASKED her, and Barnes stated that he DIDN't/WOULDN'T ask Stortz.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

Anonymous said...

Oh stop your typical whining and run on something! All you republicans do is bitch !

Anonymous said...

There are enought anti-Ward votes out there that both Alford and Lawton could each pull more votes than Ward.

Anonymous said...

Bill:
Don't expect a phone call in 2011 either.

You had two failed administrations..how many more do you want?

Anonymous said...

4:20

You were asked more than once before and so far have failed to respond: why do YOU think that stortz had two failed administrations?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:20

Get Real!
The man has won close to a dozen elections, more than any other Republican in the past 40 years!

What good are those that can't get elected, other than to try and run the Town Committee?

Apparently he stood up to you and you can't handle it.

Anonymous said...

9:26

Well said!

Anonymous said...

4:20

Now is yor chance to shine or sputter.

Put up or shut up!

reality said...

4:12 - hope that there is not a lot of pixie dust in your eyes when you awaken on November 4, 2009

Anonymous said...

Seems like silence seems to be golden.

Anonymous said...

10-30 7:31

Don't worry, she would get a lot of direction from Mocabee, Barnes, Krawicki.

On the other hand, maybe we should worry.

practice said...

7:01 - so shut up.

Anonymous said...

still no response from 4:20, unless that was you 5:30pm

Anonymous said...

Anyone is better then Ward. Look at the mess we are in now, and Ward has been in office for 2 years, time to get him out.

Anonymous said...

9:44 AM, Once again, you're trying to blame the recession on Ward. He's done a great job in spite of it. VOTE WARD!

Anonymous said...

9:44

And what would Alford do?

She doesn't even know the size of the budget, not even close.

She HAS NOT shown what she would do, and since itis clear that she is the puppet of the unholy three, who knows what would happen?

Anonymous said...

Two failed administrations Bill:
Got you butt kicked by Nicastro in 1993, and Ken Johnson in 07.

Along with a vote of no confidence from the Council in 07. The 1st Mayor in history to get one.

Two failed administrations Bill...

Good Bye and Good Riddance!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz lost in 93 because he stood up to the unions and laid people off. I don't consider that a failed administartion, but I might want to think that the Repuublican Organization didn't do their job.

Simple fact is that Stortz did not run in 07, his choice. How can you say that Johnson kicked his butt when there was no election?

Lastly, the NO CONFIDENCE vote was by democrats, led by Zoppo, who thought that Stortz was going to be their opponent in November. Obviously political, nothing else.

But in both terms, Stortz did not fail the people that elected him, people that he swore to serve. He did the right thing, properly and honorably, and would have won this year if had been the Republican candidate.

By your logic, each of the Republican Town Chairs have been failures other than in 91 and 05 when Stortz WON.