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Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove (R), who won an uncontested fourth term on Nov. 5, watches election results with members of the Republican Town Committee following the close of polls. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
During the Democratic Town Committee gathering to watch returns on election night, BCTV host Stephanie Farber (front) brings together the many Democratic women candidates who were on the ballot, together with supporter State Sen. Christine Cohen D-District 12 (third from left), standing with re-elected Democratic Tax Collector Roberta Gill-Brooks (second from right) and supporter State Rep. Robin Comey D-District 102 (far right). Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Candidates and supporters from both parties were out at the polls to greet voters at mid-day on Nov. 5 in Branford. Shown here at District 5 polls (front to back): RTM candidate Carolyn Sires (R, District 5), unopposed Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove (R), State Representative Robin Comey (D, District 102), Democratic party supporters Malaine Trecoske, Chris Traugh, Gina MacDonald, RTM candidate Don Conklin (R, District 5), RTM candidate Kathi Traugh (D, District 5), Democratic party supporter Eunice Kaymen. (Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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In the Nov. 5 municipal elections, Branford Republicans retained the party's majority for elected leadership, but Democrats made it a close race in several districts and made some gains.
GOP First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove ran unchallenged to earn his fourth consecutive term on Nov. 5, while newcomer and uncontested Democratic selectman Ray Dunbar earned the Second Selectman's seat, followed in voting returns by incumbent GOP selectman Joe Higgins, who will begin his fourth consecutive term as Third Selectman. Unofficial results posted with the state Nov. 5 show Cosgrove received 4,490 votes; Dunbar received 3,268 votes and Higgins, 3,194.
Snug margins in several district races to seat the town's 30 members of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) yielded a net loss of one seat for the GOP, which retains the numeric majority in the new term with 17 members. The Democrats gained one seat to create an RTM minority of 13 members. In the last term, the GOP held 18 seats and the Democrats, 12.
In addition to Democrats earning one more seat on the RTM, Democratic challenger Kurt Schawnfelder won the Town Treasurer's seat in a race against incumbent Michael Nardella. Election night results for the Town Treasurer's race gave 3,337 votes to Schwanfelder vs. 3,140 votes for Nardella.
Democrat Meredith Gaffney won the race for an open four-year term on the Board of Education (BOE) and RTM District 7 flipped to have Democratic majority. Incumbent Democratic Board of Assessment Appeals member Joseph Fazzino was re-elected to a four-year term with 3,498 votes vs. GOP candidate Jason Driscoll, who received 2,860 votes.
As Branford's First Selectman, Cosgrove serves as the top executive for the Town and heads the three-person Board of Selectmen. Joining Cosgrove at Town Hall in elective posts for the 2019-21 term will be Town Clerk Lisa Arpin (R), who ran uncontested for re-election; Tax Collector Roberta Gill-Brooks (D), who ran uncontested for re-election and was cross-endorsed by the GOP, and Kurt Schwanfelder (D) Town Treasurer.
In the BOE contest, which filled six-year terms and a four-year term for the Board of Education (BOE); returning to serve a six-year term on the BOE are the three candidates on the ballot, Republican Dawn Perrotti (3,905 votes), Democrat Ellen Michaels (3,452 votes) and GOP candidate Michael Krause (3,300). Democrat Meredith Gaffney won the race to fill the open four-year term on the BOE, earning 3,309 votes over GOP candidate Lisa Caruso, who received 3,087 votes.
Working Together for Branford
Cosgrove told Zip06/The Sound he's looking forward to continuing to lead Branford by working with all of the elected leadership in the 2019-21 term.
"Six years ago, I said it's no longer about 'R's, D's and U's,' it's about Branford," said Cosgrove. "We're going to continue to govern that way. There are many faces that are going to be returning, and some new faces, on both sides of the aisle. I've always had an open door policy and respected both sides, and we're going to continue to do that for the next two years."
Cosgrove also congratulated his Republican team for their campaign efforts and for their work, as elected officials, on behalf of the Town.
"Six years ago, we ran as a team, and we've governed as a team. And although there may be some changes that are happening, we're going to continue to run as a team," said Cosgrove. "We've had tremendous success in the last six years that we can be proud of. It's easy to point to a lot of what we've accomplished, but I think what we can be most proud of is that we brought civility back to town government. And the way you do that is not only presenting the ideas and solutions, but we gave consideration to other thoughts and ideas and we made rational decisions based on those considerations."
Branford's newly-elected Democratic Second Selectman, Ray Dunbar, told his team on Election Night that they should be proud of the gains made and the effort they put into this year's campaign.
"Everybody here worked very, very hard to get where we are," said Dunbar, adding the next step will be to "... build on what we did."
Democratic Town Committee (DTC) leader Tom Brockett, who won re-election to the RTM's District 7, thanked the DTC team and candidates, saying that included a large group of "... incredible women that ran for office this year." Brockett told them the results of the Nov. 5 municipal election ".... is going to be the new wave for the Democratic party."
Republican Town Committee chairman Ray Ingraham, who won re-election to his 5th District RTM seat, said the Nov. 5 GOP majority win in Branford was tempered by some gains earned by Democrats but "...is not going to change how we govern."
While some "philosophies" may differ by district, Ingraham said he expects Branford's RTM to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion when comes to important town governance decisions; pointing to the unanimous RTM vote this past spring to pass the Town budget as an example.
Ingraham said many candidates from both sides worked hard this campaign season, including some who are new to town and others who will now be new faces on the RTM.
"There are people who want to work hard and get their voices out, and that's shown in the vote," said Ingraham.
Reporter's note: This story was updated to correct a previous report regarding results for six-year-term members of the Board of Education (BOE); in which Zip06/The Sound reported incorrectly that, due to the ballot notation to select "any two" of three six-year-term candidates, third-place finisher Republican Michael Krause did not win re-election. There were three uncontested seats for the six-year term; and the top three vote-getters on the ballot are elected.
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