Rossi rolls to victory
Mayor-elect says city will be ‘taken care of’
WEST HAVEN — Democrat Nancy Rossi ended Mayor Ed O’Brien’s dreams of a third term in convincing fashion Tuesday night, defeating O’Brien — who ran as a write-in candidate after Rossi beat him in a Sept. 12 primary — and Republican City Councilman David Riccio.
Official numbers posted on the Secretary of the State’s website showed Rossi taking 45.28 percent of the vote to O’Brien’s 30.64 percent and Riccio’s 24.5 percent. Rossi won with 4,825 votes to 3,265 for O’Brien, 2,563 for Riccio and 4 votes for write-
in candidate Stephanie Rose Figuenick.
Rossi appeared shortly before 8:30 p.m. to claim victory in front of cheering supporters in her headquarters in the Savin Rock Parkade, with her 7-yearold grandson, Arthur Rossi, clinging to her side.
“The first thing is to pull out that budget, the general ledger ... and go through the numbers to make sure that everything is in balance,” she said afterward. “I do have my doubts. I need to find out what’s really going on now ... We have gotten very little information.”
Rossi will be sworn in on Dec. 3.
Rossi won despite Democratic Town Chairman Jim Morrissey backing O’Brien. She pointed out that O’Brien had pledged unity after she defeated him in the primary. “He came ... and said we would work together. We were all Westies.”
O’Brien announced his write-in candidacy five days later.
Rossi’s campaign chairman and city Treasurerelect Mike Last said, “We’re obviously thrilled and this gives West Haven a new outlook and now that we’re elected we have a job to do and we’re going to do it on Day One.”
Soon after addressing his own supporters, O’Brien came to Rossi’s Captain Thomas Boulevard headquarters to congratulate her.
“We’re going to set up a team so that West Haven gets taken care of the way it deserves to be taken care of,” Rossi told him. “We’re going to try very hard to get along and everything else . ... The other council people that didn’t support me, that’s fine.
“The election’s over, we work together,” Rossi said. “We do what West Haven wants.”
Minutes earlier, O’Brien told supporters in his headquarters next to Z’s Corner Cafe on Campbell Avenue that “we worked very hard. We just weren’t successful.”
“We knew it was going to be a tough haul. We were not successful,” he said. “Nancy will be the next mayor of the city of West Haven. I will go down there and congratulate her and wish her the best. We’re all in this together. We’re all West Haven residents.”
Riccio also spoke to Rossi and said later, “I congratulated Nancy on the hard work that she’s done and she also complimented me on the way we handled our campaign.” He said Rossi told him they would meet in the next few days, “both parties putting our heads together.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had the opportunities to work together before so this is a step in the right direction in calming the political diversity in the community,” Riccio said.
The city’s government will be a mix, with all members of Row A, the endorsed Democratic line, winning City Council seats, according to both the Rossi and O’Brien camps.
That means that victorious Rossi allies Bridgette Hoskie, D-1, Mitchell Gallignano, D-4, Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5, Peter Massaro, D-6, Portia Bias, D-7, will serve alongside victorious O’Brien allies Nick Ruickoldt, D-2, Aaron Charney, D-3, Tracy Morrissey, D-8, Sean Ronan, D-9, Louise Martone, D-10, Dave Forsyth, D-at-large and Ron Quagliani, D-atlarge and Republican Richard DePalma, R-at-large.
In other citywide races, City Clerk Deborah Collins, City Treasurer-elect Last and Tax Collectorelect Dorothy Chambrelli all won.
Winning Board of Education candidates included Democratic incumbents James Morrissey and Rosemary Russo and Republican incumbent Rosa Richardson.
Winning Board of Assessment Appeals candidates included Democrats Richard Standish and Joseph Palmucci and Republican Ralph Biondi.
The rare three-way election resulted from O’Brien’s effort to fight for his political life after losing the Democratic primary to Rossi. In the general election, as in the primary, the state of West Haven’s finances appeared to be the primary issue.
West Haven is carrying a general fund deficit of more than $16 million.
The temperature rose by a number of degrees in this election after the Sept. 12 Democratic primary, in which former City Council Finance Committee chairwoman Rossi shocked everyone — including O’Brien and herself — by defeating O’Brien by a 2,383-to-2,247 total.
O’Brien and his allies appeared to campaign with greater urgency since losing the primary.
In West Haven, Democrats have long held an edge in numbers. Currently, 15,938 of the city’s 28,465 registered voters are Democrats. West Haven has 3,192 Republicans, 230 minor party voters and 9,105 unaffiliated voters, according to figures from the Secretary of the State’s Office.
Paula Notarino congratulates Democrat Nancy Rossi, left, on her win in the mayoral race in West Haven Tuesday at her campaign headquarters.