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East haven mayor-elect Joseph Carfora, Jr. )
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Democrat Joe Carfora beat Republican “Big” Steve Tracey and third-party Independent candidate Bonifacio G. “Oni” Sioson, Jr. on Nov. 5 with 3,865 votes, earning the highest-ranking municipal seat in East Haven.
Voter turnout was 38 percent, with 6,871 of the town’s 17,818 registered voters participating.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Carfora the morning of Nov. 6. “It was a long campaign with a lot of ups and downs. We had a plan and we stuck to the guidelines; it resonated with people. I’m very happy. It’s surreal.”
The position was vacated by nine-term Republican incumbent Joseph Maturo Jr., who decided not to seek a 10th term in office.
Carfora says one of his highest priorities as mayor will be to “bring back quality of life. That’s been a theme throughout the campaign.”
Carfora points to a list of constituent concerns with parking near the town’s beaches, potholes, and general infrastructure as areas in need of improvement.
He wants to make it so “a person can drive through town and feel proud that it is their hometown,” he said.
“There are a lot of issues on blight,” Carfora added. “It’s a domino affect. Property values have been plummeting, that is all part of quality of life.”
Results showed the fight was down to the two town councilmen on the ballot with former wrestler and businessman “Big” Steve Tracey losing to Carfora by 696 votes at 3,169. Sioson earned just 3.99 percent of the vote for mayor with 292 votes.
“We ran a good race,” said Tracey. “I hope that he does a good job. I hope he takes care of the people in the town. My team worked very hard. All we could do is try.”
Issues during the campaign had been numerous including what the town should do about an affordable housing development plan on Sperry Lane off Route 80, taxes, educational reform and parking at the town beach.
Carfora’s campaign came under fire when it became widely known that he and his petroleum freight companies owe substantial back taxes to the IRS and Town of North Haven.
In spite of what he described in an Oct. 15 Courier article as “my ups and my downs,” in relation to these liabilities, he also said, “I know where the fat could be trimmed where we won’t have to raise taxes for the town. Being a small businessman, I know how to get things done.”
Carfora said that one of the first things that he will do in office is to meet with town officials to get a grasp on the town’s finances.
“I want to see where the money is going,” he said on Nov. 6, “what is settled and what is out outstanding.”
His campaign promises included opposing the development of Sperry lane, revamping the town’s ethics ordinance, and implementing a town-wide computer system for logging citizen concerns and renovating the Senior Center.
Carfora’s campaign also sought improved transportation for Seniors, the establishment of a historic district in the Center, the creation of a grant writer position that would potentially enable the town to save taxpayer dollars, and enforcement of the town’s anti-blight ordinance, among other enhancements.
Tracey plans to ensure Carfora makes good on his promises, saying, “I love East Haven. I love my town. I am going to keep a close eye on everything.”
Another run for Tracey isn’t out of the question.
“I’m definitely not done. I’m definitely not through,” he said. “This is only a step for me.”
Sioson had a different take, saying, “I think it is my last rodeo, if I may use that metaphor.”
He also “would like to congratulate Mr. Joseph Carfora, and thank all of those people who shared in my dreams and supported this endeavor.”
Additional election results are as follows:
For town clerk, incumbent Republican Stacy Gravino with 3,455 votes beat out Democrat Tina Hedley with 3,427 votes.
The six seats on the Board of Finance went to incumbent Democrats Richard Esposito, Jr., with 3,464 votes, Noreen Clough with 3,251 votes, and Richard DePalma with 3,638 votes; incoming Republicans Ralph Vitale with 3,274 votes and Beth Purcell with 2,966 votes are joined by Democrat Alfred Purzycki with 2,954 votes.
For the Board of Education, incumbent Republicans Lisa Geraci-Anastasio with 2,943 votes and Thomas Hennessey with 3,046 were re-elected while Democrats MaryAnn Pellegrino with 3,352 votes, Erika Santino Santiago with 3,232 votes, Michelle DeLucia with 3,274 votes and Patricia (Tia) DePalma with 3,175 won seats. The remaining three went to Democrats Jack Stacey with 3,492 votes, Liz Esposito with 3,186 and Republican Jennifer DiLungo with 2,911.
For Town Council District I, elected officials were Democrats Beth Capotorto with 716 votes, Kimberly Glassman with 714 votes, and Ashley Cahill Lesco with 662 votes.
For Town Council District 2, elected officials were Democrat Joseph Deko with 883 votes, Republican Salvatore Maltese with 792 votes, and Democrat Joe Santino with 775 votes.
For Town Council District 3, elected officials were Democrats Louis Pacelli with 864 votes, Marianne Cesare with 729 votes, and Josh Balter with 709 votes.
For Town Council District 4, elected officials were Republicans Samantha Parlato with 706 votes, Linda Hennessey with 703 votes, and Robert Ranfone with 650 votes.
For Town Council District 5, elected officials were Democrats Henry Butler with 787 votes, Jennifer Ruggiero with 669, and Raymond Pompano with 674.
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