Democrats Roundly Defeat GOP In Manchester Local Election, Women Make History

Democrats trounced Republican opponents Tuesday, picking up extra seats on the board of directors and school board.

“The people of Manchester spoke this evening,” Mayor Jay Moran told jubilant fellow Democrats at party headquarters.

Democrats have held a 5-4 majority on the board of directors and now have a 6-3 advantage. Moran was the top vote-getter, and he was joined by newcomers Pamela Floyd-Cranford and Yolanda Castillo, along with incumbent Deputy Mayor Margaret Hackett and incumbent members Steve Gates and Sarah Jones.

The three Republican members who won election are incumbents Cheri Eckbreth, Tim Devanney and Matt Galligan. Two GOP newcomers to the directors race — Clare Miller-Burti and Danita Collins Sulick — and incumbent Jennifer Nye lost.

Because a total of eight women from both parties were on the ballot, women are in the majority (5-4) on the board for the first time in town history. Democratic Town Committee Chairman Mike Pohl attributed his party’s sweeping victory to heavy turnout by minorities and women.

“The women in this town spoke and they spoke loudly,” Pohl said. “They are empowered. Tonight empowered them.”

“Obviously, it was the liberal Democratic voters who came out,” Eckbreth, the board’s minority leader, said. “It was some kind of anti-Trump tide and we got caught up in it.”

Democrats also now have a 6-3 majority on the board of education. For the board’s 2017-20 term, Democrats Darryl Thames and Jason Scappaticci won, along with GOP newcomer Peter Meggers. Republican incumbent Ranon Caldwell lost.

For the 2018-21 term, Democratic incumbent Melanie Stefanovicz and newcomer Tracy Maio won, joined by GOP newcomer Scott Hughes. Republican Mark Gundersen lost. Maio also beat Hughes for a one-year term that ends in November 2018. Because of the school board’s staggered terms, incumbent Chairman Christopher Pattacini, a Democrat, and Republican incumbents Peter Conyers and Deborah Hagenow were not on the fall ballot.

Voters also approved issuing $13 million in bonds for road, sidewalk and other infrastructure repairs.

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