Women post historic victories in mayoral races - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CAMPAIGN 2017

Women post historic victories in mayoral races

Posted: Updated:
Voters in West Haven elected Nancy Rossi as their mayor. (WFSB) Voters in West Haven elected Nancy Rossi as their mayor. (WFSB)
(WFSB) -

Election night was a strong night for Democrats and women.

Twenty-two Connecticut towns have flipped from Republican to Democrat and for the first time, women have been elected the mayors in two municipalities.

It was an off year with no big races such as president and governor.  Statewide voter turnout was about 31 percent, according to the secretary of the state's office. Even though voter turnout was low, Tuesday night shook up the political landscape. 

"When you have low turnout, fewer people can make a big difference and that is what you saw," Secretary of the State Denise Merill said. 

Check the complete results here.

Gov. Dannel Malloy reacted to some of the national headlines that came out of places like Virginia, where Democrats swept some of the major races.

"I think the Democrats have a message that we can be proud of and Republicans quite frankly don't have a message," Malloy said.

However, Democrats across Connecticut scored strong victories in Tuesday's election and took control of suburban Republican strongholds in towns like Farmington, Glastonbury and Trumbull.

In Bristol, Ellen Zoppo-Sassu became the first woman to be elected as mayor of the city.

"I think that the voters have spoken and I also think that I've spoken before about being accountable for one's actions and when you are censured twice I think that you need to be understanding of the fact that the voters are going to want to know why," Zoppo-Sassu said.

Channel 3 was there as she celebrated her victory over Republican incumbent Ken Cockayne, who was mayor for four years.

Cockayne said he was shocked by the results and said his opponent ran "one of the nastiest campaigns" he'd ever seen.

Cockayne was recently censured by the City Council for a second time over allegations that he shared sexually compromising photos of a city council member, who is also his cousin.

In West Haven, a heated race for the mayor's seat turned into a victory for Nancy Rossi.

"It's very exciting, I'm absolutely thrilled," Rossi told Channel 3. "I can't say enough, can't thank my team, all of my volunteers, my family, but most of all the tax payers of West Haven. They're giving me a chance."

Rossi edged incumbent Mayor Ed O'Brien in the Democratic primary back in September.

O'Brien continued his campaign as a write-in candidate.

The showdown was between Rossi, O'Brien and Republican city councilor David Riccio.

Rossi is the first woman to be elected as mayor of West Haven.

Republican New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, the youngest female mayor in the country, defeated Democrat Merrill Gay to win her third straight term. This, despite claims by Gay that she was more interested in running for governor next year.

Despite Stewart's victory, Democrats took nine seats on the City Council. The GOP has six.

In Waterbury, former mayor Joseph Santopietro lost his race for alderman. Voters strongly rejected Santopietro who was convicted of crimes while in and out of office. Democrat Christian D'Orso, who is a newcomer to politics, won the race for alderman.

"There was an opening in the district. I decided there was no better time than the present," D'Orso said. "I thought it was my time to set up and represent the district."

East Hampton voters opted to support an $18.9 million plan to build a new Town Hall and police headquarters.

In Litchfield, voters had to deal with a lack of ballots. Officials there said they simply ran out. Poll workers had to make photocopies of the ballots and had to hand-count the results.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.