Will immigration be a factor in Danbury's mayoral election?
(here's a crosspost from HatCityBLOG)
The Danbury News-Times goes out with a bang with their last series of articles on immigration focusing on health care and politics. I encourage everyone to head over to the site and give the reports a read.
I read today's immigration article on Mayor Boughton and noticed something that caught my attention. The article stated that his stance on immigration assisted Boughton's re-election win in the last election.
As someone who watched the 2005 election with interest, I'll offer my two cents and say that the mayor's win in 2005 was more due to a Democratic candidate who simply didn't campaign full-time and a Democratic Party which was bitterly divided at the time.
If you recall, more people thought Democratic Town Clerk nominee Lori Kaback was running for mayor than the actual Democratic candidate Dean Esposito simply because she campaigned harder. The Democratic nominee for mayor ran a terrible campaign and never got his message out to the public. The ineffective campaign of Esposito was mentioned on this site several times in 2005 and I went so far as to conduct several polls asking people on the street if they knew they knew who was the Democratic nominee for mayor was.
Now if you take a close look at the final numbers from 2005's election you'll notice that Kaback (a person who was RUNNING FOR TOWN CLERK) came close to beating Boughton in terms of total votes. She even beat Boughton in the second, fourth, and fifth ward (all areas where Boughton beat Esposito).
Now, I'll beat the house many people don't know the difference between Town Clerk and City Clerk yet, Kaback was able to collect the second highest number of votes and crushed her Republican challenger.
Here's the numbers from 2005. Boughton and Kaback's names are in bold.
|*Mark D. Boughton (R)||7615||1397||759||1383||722||760||902||1142||550|
|Dean E. Esposito (D)||5714||854||724||989||710||724||687||757||269|
|*Daniel P. Jowdy (R)||6719||1321||632||1225||653||632||754||995||507|
|*Jean Y. Natale (R)||6124||1183||598||1061||576||624||692||899||491|
|Eileen S. Coladarci (D)||5921||869||716||1092||700||716||724||800||304|
|Joseph L. Scozzafava(R)||5414||1007||499||1021||509||499||612||815||452|
|*Lori A. Kaback (D)||7025||1110||873||1205||796||873||858||973||337|
|Robert G. Oravetz (I)||143||23||20||16||21||20||15||17||11|
|COUNCILMEN AT LARGE|
|*Robert T. Riley (R)||5395||1009||524||1008||499||521||620||840||374|
|*Ted A. Cutsumpas (R)||5707||1051||572||1075||522||572||633||866||416|
|*Pauline Repko Basso (R)||6053||1131||600||1146||550||600||674||883||469|
|*Gregg W. Seabury (R)||6136||1129||629||1105||590||629||674||930||450|
|Shailesh Nagarsheth (R)||4975||1018||484||873||460||484||568||763||325|
|*Mary G. Saracino (R)||5438||1023||524||1037||501||524||606||802||421|
|*Colleen A. Stanley (R)||5487||1032||550||1014||500||550||638||804||399|
|Alfred E. Cipriani (D)||N/A||834||676||972||667||676||675||755||319|
|Renata DaSilva Amaral(D)||4975||732||618||853||618||618||630||662||244|
|Sherri Neptune (D)||4960||711||616||851||597||616||630||684||255|
|Ingred A. Espinosa (D)||4884||687||575||845||733||575||632||639||198|
|*Lynn H. Taborsak (D)||6254||938||737||1179||711||737||726||862||364|
|Adolfo Pena (D)||4909||757||600||849||598||600||609||663||233|
|Patricia Matta-Wrobel (D)||4766||692||589||811||585||589||598||640||262|
|Richard J. Leinert (I)||215||23||23||33||27||23||28||33||25|
|Gary J. Driscoll (I)||457||63||38||87||50||38||51||71||59|
|John L. Dietter (I)||231||24||20||35||27||20||27||52||26|
|Margaret A. Dyer (I)||556||78||53||97||67||53||63||80||65|
|Kevin G. Nolan (I)||519||72||50||85||68||50||48||76||70|
|Marcia M. Ennis (I)||279||28||31||48||24||31||35||48||34|
|*Louise P. McMahon (R)||1081|
|*Vincent P. Nolan, Jr. (R)||1207|
|Jack G. Gillotte (D)||918|
|Lawrence J. Jansons (D)||739|
|*James H. Johnson (R)||N/A|
|*Charles J. Trombetta (R)||N/A|
|Henrique Antonio (D)||N/A|
|Zachary S. Rapp (D)||N/A|
|*Joe Cavo (R)||1153|
|*Michael J. Calandrino (R)||1108|
|James M. Kelly (D)||1072|
|Donald R. Hensley (D)||876|
|Mary M. Cronin (R)||429|
|William Cortese, Jr. (R)||471|
|*Thomas J. Saadi (D)||909|
|*John J. Esposito (D)||761|
|Scott L. Demuth (R)||505|
|Linda J. Ossenfort (R)||563|
|*Frederick Visconti, Jr. (D)||881|
|*Duane E. Perkins (D)||761|
|Christopher A. Sanzeni(R)||617|
|Joel Urice (R)||637|
|*Paul T. Rotello (D)||770|
|*Benjamin Chianese (D)||727|
|*Mary Teicholz (R)||N/A|
|*N. Jane Diggs (R)||N/A|
|Ellen K. VanDyke Bell (D)||N/A|
|Christine L. Halfar (D)||N/A|
|Board of Education|
|Sandra Garcia (R)||4991|
|*Joel P. Garofalo (R)||5510|
|Walter Perkowski (R)||4787|
|*Eileen W. Alberts (R)||5652|
|Scott A. Clayton (R)||5071|
|*Kathleen M. Molinaro (D)||6077|
|*Joan W. Hodge (D)||5465|
|*Robert J. Taborsak (D)||6270|
|Catherine V. DiBuono (I)||421|
|Dustin A. Ziegler (I)||403|
|Beverly A. Nickerson (I)||442|
|Rudi Grolich (I)||379|
|Dawn Christine Nolan (I)||700|
|*Donald E. Kennedy (R)||5234|
|*Ted Farah (R)||4975|
|Gary A. Dufel (R)||4552|
|*Helen Hoffstaetter (R)||5018|
|Christine E. Cuhsnick (R)||4872|
|Patrick G. Johnston (R)||4725|
|*Jack H. Knapp, Jr. (R)||5184|
|*Robert C. Melillo (R)||5310|
|Kurt M. Kleis (R)||4601|
|Juan A. Sanchez (D)||4307|
|*Theodore Haddad, Jr. (D)||5543|
|*Anthony G. DiCaprio (D)||5367|
|Richard Roos, Jr. (D)||4808|
|*Theresa A. Buzaid (D)||5687|
|*Richard P. Jowdy (D)||5785|
|Petros K. Filippakos (I)||335|
|K.T. Shartouni (I)||295|
|Michael C. Romano (I)||575|
|Calvin R. Dow (I)||373|
|Donald W. Grandieri (I)||468|
|Michael F. VanTassel (I)||408|
|Lenore H. Scott (I)||484|
|George Lubus (I)||497|
|Winton C. Nickerson (I)||437|
|Zoning Comm. Alternates|
|Robert P. Urban (R)||4767|
|*Victoria A. Hickey (R)||5153|
|*Joseph Notaro, Jr. (R)||5321|
|Steven P. Miller (D)||4482|
|*Jean M. Anderson (D)||4858|
|Wilton A. Nickerson (I)||357|
|Ivy B. Handsman (I)||510|
|Gary Grandieri (I)||483|
|Michael Safranek (R)||4699|
|*Dianne C. Zielinski (R)||5057|
|Robert E. Zarbock (R)||4358|
|Francis J. Kieras (D)||4710|
|*Paul D. Estefan (D)||5109|
|*Michael J. Esposito (D)||5699|
|Richard J. Gillich (I)||333|
|Paul W. Woods (I)||486|
I think based on the fact that Esposito didn't offer a credible challenge, the jury is still out on whether or not immigration played a role in the mayor's win in 2005 simply because the Democratic nominee was basically a no-show.
Now, lets jump to 2006 and the Democratic victories in the area with Chris Murphy, Bob Godfrey, and Joe Taborsak winning their races. In the congressional race, one of Republican Nancy Johnson's campaign topics, which she and the RNC used against Murphy, was illegal immigration. If you were one of the lucky person's to receive a RNC robocall (every other day), you'll recall that one of those annoying calls was an attack on Murphy's stance on immigration. Johnson was relentless on her immigration attacks on Murphy and the Congresswoman made a big deal earlier this year by meeting with groups on both sides of the immigration issue (which was noting more than a campaign photo-op).
Even with all of Johnson's campaigning on illegal immigration in the area, she still lost to Murphy on every voting machine in Danbury.
In the State Rep race, both Greg Seabury and Pauline Basso jumped on the illegal immigration bandwagon launching attack after attack against Democrats Godfrey and Taborsak. Even with all the attacks (and money poured into the race by State GOP chair George Gallo to Seabury's campaign), Taborsak and Godfrey won their races without a problem based primarily on running a positive issue-oriented campaign and knowing the concerns of the people in their district. Here's what the News-Times had to say when they endorsed the Democratic nominees
Democrat Lewis Wallace decided to retire this year after four terms serving this Danbury district that includes the Candlewood Lake area.
He will be a hard act to follow, and neither of the candidates seeking to succeed him measure up to Wallace's standard -- at least at the moment.
The Republican candidate is Gregg Seabury, a teacher at Danbury High School and a member of the Danbury Common Council. Until recently, Seabury lived in another part of Danbury and has previously run unsuccessfully for the legislature from the 110th Assembly District against state Rep. Bob Godfrey.
The Democratic candidate this year in the 109th is Joseph Taborsak. He grew up in the 109th District and is an attorney. His mother, Lynn, represented the 109th for many years.
Seabury makes a point of claiming he is more qualified for this legislative seat because he is older than Taborsak and has held elective office.
But Taborsak actually seems to know more about the district, given his long residency there. And Seabury has made several inaccurate claims about current laws pertaining to immigration and even what the Common Council is allowed to discuss, which shows a lack of preparation.
Joseph Taborsak is the better choice for the 109th District.
Democrat Bob Godfrey has served this district in central Danbury since 1989.
Republican Pauline Basso, a member of the Danbury Common Council, is running against him this year.
Basso is known for her constituent service on the council. But, in running for the legislature, she has made little effort to learn the legislative process.
She has made no case for replacing Godfrey.
Godfrey is a valuable asset for Danbury and the region in the legislature.
He is one of the leaders of the Democratic majority in the House, and uses that influence in a bipartisan manner to benefit his district, his city and western Connecticut.
He is a lawyer and a former employee of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, bringing those experiences to his work in Hartford.
Bob Godfrey has earned re-election.
Here's my interview of Godfrey and Taborsak on election night.
The Democrats won not because their stance on illegal immigration, but because of several factors centering around an effective Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign and a sense among a majority of the public that there was a need for change. Here's a video report from election night from Democratic headquarters.
Now you know the Democratic Party are looking at the results from the 2005 and 2006 elections and are drafting battleplans for a more effective mayoral campaign. In a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, there is reason for the mayor to be worried if the Democrats present a credible candidate who knows the concerns of the public. WSCU political science professor offers the warning sign for those who think illegal immigration will play a significant role in this year's election.
But it likely will be voters who do not represent either extreme that will determine Boughton's political future this year, said Chris Kukk, an associate professor of political science at Western Connecticut State University.The election winner will be the person who really understanding the concerns of the voters and makes a connection with the public. For a three-term mayor who has a record to defend, this could be a easy or hard task and Boughton will be in for a hard fought re-election if the Democrats can get their act together (as in 2006) and provide a candidate who will put in the hard work necessary to win the race.
"Boughton is riding the fence, and I don't know if (middle-of-the-road) voters sanction what he's done or what he's doing. But they know that something needs to be done, and they don't know what. They see some action being taken," Kukk said.