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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

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.


Total 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Abs.
MAYOR









*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
TREASURER









*Daniel P. Jowdy (R) 6719 1321 632 1225 653 632 754 995 507
Mike McGetrick(D) 5781 835 744 1013 662 744 721 779 283
CITY CLERK









*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
TOWN CLERK









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

Total 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Abs.
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













Councilmen
First Ward
*Louise P. McMahon (R) 1081
*Vincent P. Nolan, Jr. (R) 1207
Jack G. Gillotte (D) 918
Lawrence J. Jansons (D) 739
Second Ward
*James H. Johnson (R) N/A
*Charles J. Trombetta (R) N/A
Henrique Antonio (D) N/A
Zachary S. Rapp (D) N/A
Third Ward
*Joe Cavo (R) 1153
*Michael J. Calandrino (R) 1108
James M. Kelly (D) 1072
Donald R. Hensley (D) 876
Fourth Ward
Mary M. Cronin (R) 429
William Cortese, Jr. (R) 471
*Thomas J. Saadi (D) 909
*John J. Esposito (D) 761
Fifth Ward
Scott L. Demuth (R) 505
Linda J. Ossenfort (R) 563
*Frederick Visconti, Jr. (D) 881
*Duane E. Perkins (D) 761
Sixth Ward
Christopher A. Sanzeni(R) 617
Joel Urice (R) 637
*Paul T. Rotello (D) 770
*Benjamin Chianese (D) 727
Seventh Ward
*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
Zoning Commission
*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
Constables
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
Question 1
*Yes 3645
No 1726
Question 2
*Yes N/A
No N/A
Question 3
*Yes N/A
No N/A
Question 4
*Yes 4444
No 1346


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

On Taborsak:
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.

On Basso:
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.
Taborsak:


Godfrey:



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.

"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.
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.