November 3, 2009

Lopsided win for Ward in three-way race

With a lopsided win in a three-way race Tuesday, Mayor Art Ward easily captured a second term at the helm of the city.
In an election notable for its civility and one of the lowest turnouts in city history, Ward grabbed 58 percent of the vote and led his Democratic Party to maintain control of the City Council.
Ward, a city councilor for 14 years before snagging the mayor’s office in 2007, faced a host of fiscal woes during his first term but managed to freeze property taxes this year and avoid layoffs, a trick that may prove impossible the next time around.
“It won’t be any easier the next two years,” Ward told supporters who gathered at Nuchies Tuesday to learn the results.
He vowed to continue the hard, fair decisions that have kept the city moving forward despite tough times.
Ward defeated two newcomers who aimed to snatch away his job: Republican Mary Alford and independent Gary Lawton.
Alford, a bookkeeper, said she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
She also said she is proud that all three mayoral candidates ran such a clean campaign.
“There wasn’t any of that horribly embarrassing stuff,” Alford said.
Ward said, “It was so civil that sometimes we wondered if we were in a campaign.”
Lawton, a welder, said he “did what I could.”
Even though people complain about a two-party system, he said, they have a tough time casting a ballot for an independent candidate.
“It’s a hard idea for people to wrap their minds around,” said Lawton. “I went into this with no illusions. I knew it was a long shot at best.”
Ward said that with more fiscal woes ahead, “we need to join arms,” put aside partisanship and “work together” to make the city better.
Unofficial results show that Ward got 5,071 votes while Alford racked up 3,325. Lawton got 369.
Election officials said that only 25 percent of the city’s 34,142 voters turned out Tuesday, far short of the 36.3 percent who voted two years ago. It may be the lowest municipal race turnout ever, some said.
Looking at the paltry 911 votes cast at Greene-Hills School -- several hundred less than normal -- election official Leo Bonola said he’d never seen so few.
City Councilor Cliff Block said he’s worried that turnout was so minimal.
“I just don’t think it matters who the mayor is,” said Cathy Wilson, a Bristol resident who was buying frozen pizza at Stop & Shop. “Maybe if I knew something about them, I would have voted.”
Allen Troth, who voted at Edgewood School, said casting a ballot is important “because I’m union and Art Ward is pro-union.”
“He works for the city. That’s why it’s important,” said his wife, Nakiya Troth.
“It’s my duty to vote,” said Marylou Lakovitch, who retired from the city clerk’s office a decade ago. She said she picks the person, not the party, so she backed Ward because “he’s done a good job.”
Lakovitch also backed Republican city Councilor Mike Rimcoski’s bid for reelection since “he’s for the people.”
Alford jumped into the race in August at the urging of GOP leaders who had to replace the party’s nominee, attorney John Gill, after he was forced to pull out because of unexpected medical issues.
For most of the past two years, though, Republicans had figured their 2007 standard-bearer, businessman Ken Johnson, would take another crack at defeating Ward.
Johnson came close to victory two years ago and clearly intended to run again. But he announced in the spring that he couldn’t take up the challenge this year, leaving Republican officials to scramble after another candidate for months.
Ward had an advantage this time around that he didn’t in 2007: his party united behind him.
Two years ago, Democrats shunted Ward to the sidelines and nominated city Councilor Ellen Zoppo to run for mayor.
But Ward, a veterans' services officer for the state, grabbed the mayoral line from her in a bitter primary that divided Democrats badly and provided the GOP with a boost that nearly propelled Johnson into office.
The Democrats possess a big 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. Independents make up 42 percent of the total.

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

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ward only won with 58% of the vote, and 75% of the total voters didn't even care enough to come out? Wow, not exactly a mandate - the voters are unhappy. Wonder what will happen with the state officials next year.

Anonymous said...

Have a drink Artie...you won. No time for beer pong. PLEASE get to work and help us fix this town before it turns into another new britain!

Anonymous said...

Stranger than fiction.

Anonymous said...

The turn out is disgusting!!! So the people who come out are only the people who have some direct fincial benefit from the city and the taxpayer stays home. Shame on all of us for letting it get to this point and we deserve what we get!!

reality check said...

Suck it up.

Anonymous said...

shame on everyone who did not vote i was proud to vote for mary alford even though ward won. he needs to start really working for this city now. ken and or kevin please run for major in 2 years. art needs a long rest it is a hard job not getting much of anything done.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans should have run Stortz: he WOULD have won!

Anonymous said...

With all the moaning about Ward, I woould have thought that the Republicans would have done better.

Maybe they will learn from this.

Anonymous said...

11:37 PM, Spin it any way you like. Ward won. The Republicans may not be happy, but the voters are!

Anonymous said...

Watch out your taxes are going up now that Ward was won.

Anonymous said...

Stortz should have said he wanted to run!!

Anonymous said...

A corporation with a $165,000,000 budget that's run like a social club....I don't get it. Where are the qualified candidates? Oh, that's right, making an honest living.

over 50% said...

Suck it up.

Anonymous said...

Voters who don't vote have nobody to blame but themselves. They can continue to whine but what did they do to make it better?

Anonymous said...

Great... Another term of lies and deception from a Ward administraton.... Just amazed how desperate he was to get concessions from the workers of the city in a voting year because the city was in so much financial trouble... Now that voting is over, let the extravagant and unnecessary city projects begin while the center mall "Depot Square" property sits collecting weeds, public safety suffers in both facilities and equipment, and the city ignores the labor dispute involving the Emergency Medical Personnel at Bristol Hospital EMS (which, I might add, the city gets a huge deal on; little to nothing paid by taxpayers for high quality, local, and personable emergency medical care)... Maybe we'll see Mr. Ward in his many public relations visits at the Sportsman Cafe...

Anonymous said...

Whether you like unions or not they are organized and vote so yes they have a major impact in the election. Those that did not vote and are now complaining you had your chance and blew it.

yawn said...

11:28, suck it up.

Anonymous said...

8:26

Did Alford say she wanted to run BEFORE SHE WAS ASKED???

Embarrassed for you said...

11:28 AM, Sorry to hear that you're having such a hard time accepting the fact that the best man won. All of your insults and lies have fallen on deaf ears, and it's obvious that the majority of Bristol's citizens don't share your sentiments. I highly suggest that you take the sage advice of the blogger who posted ahead of you at 12:36 PM and "SUCK IT UP."

Anonymous said...

For an unknown to run and get as many votes as she did says something about Ward. It's too bad the R's couldn't get their act together and run someone who had a chance. Ward could have easily been beaten. I hope he got the message. Then again this will be his last term so he'll probably give away the bank to his pals.
This is also a message to the R's. Perhaps you should take a look at your management style as that's why you can't win. You should have easily been able to win the mayors seat and taken a majority on the council. Keep on doing what you're doing and get the same results.

Concerned Conservative said...

The person I voted for Mayor won.

Anonymous said...

I reiterate what has been said before, many times. The Republicans blew it when they didn't get Stortz to run.

Too many small minds in the Republican leadrship.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Concerned Conservative said...
The person I voted for Mayor won.
November 4, 2009 6:25 PM


This year? Just gotta ask. Admission is the first step to recovery.

Anonymous said...

11/4, where are the lies and deception? spell them out, if you will. what extravagant and unnecessary projects are you talking about? spell them out, please. speaking of lies and deception, you have no facts to back anything you say up. depot sqauare is right now in the hands of the BDDC which is about to pick one of two developers for the project. i do not want to see anyone rush into developing that property. let's finally do things right for a change. it's people like you that make things turn out lousy because you want it yesterday instead of taking your time to do it right. go back to sitting on your couch and pretending to know what you're talking about when you're clueless!!!

Anonymous said...

Did I miss it?

Didd Alford announce that she was runing in 2011?

Anonymous said...

embarrassed for you: you are clearly a ward lacky! you love using the words "suck it up." is that all you have to say to defend any of the comments that are made against ward? just to educate you on something, there are 65,000 people in this city. 33,000 are eligible to vote. only about 21 percent of THOSE people voted. that's hardly what i would call the majority of the city. it's apathy that kept the voters away and ward running certainly didn't make that apathy go away.

Embarrassed for you said...

11:40, Ever think that maybe the voter turn out was low because many voters assumed that Ward would win by a landslide and they were happy with that? It's obvious that the anti-Ward crowd were out in full force...and they still lost.

BTW, if supporting the Mayor makes someone a "lackey," we appear to have a town full of lackies!

Anonymous said...

1:19: I don't consider 5,000 votes out of 33,000 eligible voters to be a "town full of voters." In fact, Ms. Alford managed to get over 3,000 votes. you just love to embellish, huh? the numbers are pathetic and you, my friend, are a lackey!

Anonymous said...

Awww, poor 8:26 AM. You obviously missed my drift. The voter turnout was low because most assumed Ward would win, so they didn't bother to vote (not good, but understandable). Ergo, they were "lackies." On the other hand, the anti-Ward crew was out to kick ass and take names...but still couldn't pull it off.

Whether YOU consider the numbers to be pathetic or not is really of no consequence. The best man won. Your candidate didn't...and you, my friend, are a loser!

Anonymous said...

8:12

She has to announce before she can back out.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the announcement to run was automatic for Republican losers.