Rossi rolls to vic­tory

Mayor-elect says city will be ‘taken care of’

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Zaret­sky

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.

Cather­ine Aval­one / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Paula No­tarino con­grat­u­lates Demo­crat Nancy Rossi, left, on her win in the may­oral race in West Haven Tues­day at her cam­paign head­quar­ters.

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