Absentee ballots made the difference in Wilton’s 2021 Municipal Elections, as in some races the votes cast ahead of Election Day changed the outcome from what in-person vote results first showed.
That was most true in the race for three full-term seats on the Board of Finance. With four candidates running, voters at the polls had the three Republican candidates finishing ahead of Democrat incumbent Sandy Arkell. But once the absentee ballots were counted, Arkell nosed ahead of Republican Mangtao “Monty” Du by a mere 12 votes. Insiders say there will likely be a recount in that race, but as of Tuesday evening, Arkell stands to keep her seat.
Perhaps the biggest news in that same Board of Finance race is that newcomer Matt Raimondi (R) was the top vote getter, although he had just three more votes than fellow Republican (and incumbent) Stewart Koenigsberg.
Rounding out the Board of Finance in the race for a 2-year term, Republican Rich Santosky won the seat over Democrat Frank Bria. With two current Democratic members, that board will now be evenly split between parties. [Editor’s note: current member Chris Stroup is actually unaffiliated, but he is considered a Democrat because he ran on the Democratic ballot in 2019. As a result he is counted with the Democrats on the BOF for minority representation rules as well as for the purpose of caucusing.]
Over at the Board of Education race, the Democrats swept the hotly contested battle for the three open seats, with Deb Low (incumbent BOE chair), Pam Ely and Nicola Davies winning over the RTC candidates Jess Christ and Jared Martin by a 300 point margin.
Tom Dubin, chair of the Democratic Town Committee, put the result in context wen he explained that it’s the first time in “decades and decades” that the DTC has won a majority on one of the three major boards in an election.
Davies also provided GMW with a reaction to her win: “I am really proud of the campaign we ran and that the voters made it clear what values they look for in their representatives. I’m looking forward to getting down to the hard work of being a member of the board of education and working on behalf of our students, parents and teachers.”
In the race for the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen, Republican Kim Healy was the clear top vote-getter. She’ll be joined on the BOS by Democrat Bas Nabulsi.
Here’s how all the races shaped up at the end of the evening (with winners in bold font):
The DTC’s Dubin provided a statement following the announcement of the results:
“This year’s Democratic candidates were the strongest group ever to run for office in Wilton. Their history of volunteerism is what Wilton is all about, and their personal and professional accomplishments are what our town needs to excel. Wilton would be stronger if every one of them had won, but we are very pleased with the overall results.
“On the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance, the elections of Bas Nabulsi and Sandy Arkell maintain the same Democratic representation as we achieved following the 2019 municipal elections. Keith Denning and Frank Bria were superb candidates who worked tirelessly during the campaign. I wish that we were able to introduce them to even more voters. We know that Keith and Frank will find other and new ways to make Wilton the best community we can be.
“We are particularly pleased with the Board of Education results. After decades and decades, this is the first time that Wilton Democrats have won an outright election majority on a major board in town. Debbie Low, Pam Ely, and Nicola Davies will work to ensure that every one of our students receives the highest quality education and that all are prepared to live and thrive in the 21st century.
“The DTC campaign committee rose to new heights this year. We owe special gratitude to campaign chairs Vicki Rossi and Melissa Spohn for their creativity, diligence, and sleep deprivation. We would also like to thank Town Clerk Lori Kabak, and Registrars Karen Birck and Annalisa Stravato. Through them, Wilton continues to model transparent and accurate voting procedures, even when challenged by a last minute fire alarm at a polling location.
“We congratulate all the candidates who will now lead Wilton regardless of party, and we wish them every success.”
GOOD Morning Wilton has reached out to the RTC for comment and will update the story accordingly.