MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) – A big upset in Middletown after a 27-year-old newcomer to the city won Tuesday’s primary.
Ben Florsheim beat out three other Democrats, which was a surprise to some, but not all.
When incumbent Mayor Dan Drew decided not to seek re-election, that left the field wide open and what Florsheim has done is a pretty big deal.
“I still feel like I am catching my breath a little bit from last night,” Florsheim said.
Florsheim pulled off the victory in the Democratic primary during a four-way race against those with a lot more political experience. He says people were a bit surprised when he knocked on doors.
“They would say, ‘how old are you,’ and I would say, ‘I am 27 and that’s young,’” Florsheim said.
Florsheim grew up in Utah, but Wesleyan University brought him to Middletown. He’s been working for Senator Chris Murphy and learning about politics.
“It says a person at any age can do great things, that people shouldn’t just someone based on their age,” said Amanda Kenyon, a Middletown voter.
Florsheim wants to focus on improving education. Some say his win is a knock on the establishment, while others say the Democratic party is divided.
Either way, Florsheim has to convince voters he’s a better choice than his Republican challenger.
“I don’t think I have to convince people to vote for me. Either you like what you see, or you don’t,” said Seb Guiliano, Republican candidate for mayor.
Seb Guiliano is a familiar face. He was mayor for six years with his focus on the city’s budget.
Democrats are the majority in the city, which also has a strong Italian heritage.
“If I am not endearing to the Italian community, I am in serious trouble,” Guiliano said.
Florsheim and Guiliano have two months to work the crowd and to get people to vote for them.
The election is November 5th.