BRANFORD — Republican First Selectman James “Jamie” Cosgrove breezed back into office Tuesday.
Yes, that was expected, as Cosgove was running unopposed in his bid for a fourth two-year term.
Incumbent Republican Selectman Joseph E. Higgins Jr. and Democratic selectman candidate Ray Dunbar also were guaranteed to win their seats.
Republican Town Clerk Lisa Arpin was running unopposed, as was Democratic incumbent Tax Collector Roberta Gill-Brooks, who also was cross-endorsed by the Republican Party.
While there was some competition for the Board of Education and Representative Town Meeting races, along with the town treasurer race, where Kurt M. Schwanfelder is the Democratic candidate and Michael Nardella the Republican candidate, numbers for those races were not available by deadline Tuesday.
As Republicans and Democrats gathered in separate spaces to receive the voting returns from town races, small talk revealed concerns about the impact national politics is making on their town.
“There’s nasty rhetoric and more bullying in middle school,” one mother with children in Branford schools said as she watched the election numbers start to roll in on a big screen at the Democratic poll-watching party at the Italian-American Club.
Another elaborated, “My friends don’t want to talk politics. Some don’t even read a newspaper. They just want to live in their little bubble and have everything be fine and positive. But these days you can’t do that.”
With this talk around the tables at both locations as the polls closed, there weren’t many smiles. But at the Democratic party location, as the aluminum trays of pasta, chicken pieces, and salad—all put together by Ray Dunbar’s wife—were set out, the crowd lined up, filled plates and settled back to eat and wait for the final returns that would determine the make-up of the Representative Town Meeting.
The RTM featured opposition in some of the seven districts. The make-up before Tuesday’s election was 18 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
For the Board of Education full six-year terms, Republicans Michael Krause and Dawn Perrotti and Democrat Ellen Michaels all were assured of seats. The Democratic Party didn’t run a second candidate for the three available seats.
Register Reporter Mark Zaretsky contributed to this story.