Mayoral race in West Haven expected to be heated - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mayoral race in West Haven expected to be heated

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On Tuesday, voters in West Haven will decide between three candidates including the current mayor who is running as a write in after losing the primary in September.

In Connecticut, a write-in candidate winning an election has only happened once before and that was in Waterbury in 2005. Just like in the West Haven’s case, it was a current mayor running as a write-in after losing the primary.

West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien said while it won't be easy, but he said he's feeling good. Meanwhile endorsed Democrat and Republican candidates are as equally excited about their chances on Election Day.

Inside his headquarters on Monday, O’Brien was checking his phone and the voter lists.

"I think it’s going to be close,” O’Brien said.

For the two-term mayor, O’Brien said the past eight weeks have been all about educating his supporters, specifically, how if they want to vote for him. They'll have to fill in a bubble and write in his name.

"We've been out with videos, and knocking on doors, just touching voters, as we always do,” O’Brien said. “We always work very hard, but this campaign is about education."

While O’Brien touts economic development under his watch, including The Haven, which is an upscale outlet mall, along with plans to renovate West Haven High School. Nancy Rossi, who won the Democratic primary by 136 votes, said for her, the biggest issue is the city's finances.

 "We've been out there every day, night, evening, weekends, we're trying to get our message out,” Rossi said. "We're on the brink of insolvency, S&P has downgraded us, Moody's has downgraded us because of our deficit, which has doubled over the last 4 years."

But, it’s not just Rossi and O'Brien.

"You have two from one party, and you have myself,” Dave Riccio, who is the Republican candidate for mayor, said. I've always been a unique candidate, I've gotten votes from Democrats, Republicans, and the unaffiliated here in town."

In a heated and sometimes contentious race between the two Democrats including allegations from Rossi's camp that O’Brien’s campaign forged absentee ballot applications, something they said is a complete lie. Riccio said he is hoping a split Democratic party will open the door for him.

"I’m so proud of the campaign we've run, we were honest, we kept up front,” Riccio said. “We didn't get involved in the political scraping going along and I think the people of the city of West Haven realized that."

The three mayoral candidates agreed that it is important for everyone to vote. In a three-person race, all three said every vote counts.

Polls open Tuesday at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. 

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