Two incumbents were unseated Tuesday in two of New Haven’s six contested aldermanic elections.
Unaffiliated incumbent Claudette Robinson-Thorpe lost her seat representing Beaver Hills to Democratic challenger Jill Marks, 482 to 303 votes. In Quinnipiac Meadows, incumbent Richard Spears was unseated by Gerard Antunes on a 226–58 vote.
But the majority of New Haven’s incumbents retained their seats. In the remaining four contested wards, Fair Haven Alder Santiago Berrios-Bones, Morris Cove Alder Salvatore DeCola, Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson and Fair Haven Heights Alder Barbara Constantinople were re-elected. Though Republican Ron Codianni’s name featured on the ballot in Fair Haven Heights — which borders East Haven — he dropped out of the race in early October, leaving Constantinople effectively unopposed, Republican Town Committee Chairman Richter Elser said.
Both Spears and Robinson-Thorpe lost their aldermanic races Tuesday to the same candidates who beat them in September’s Democratic primary. Though Spears and Robinson-Thorpe told the News in October that they expected the higher turnout in the general election to work in their favor, they both lost by significant margins yesterday — Robinson-Thorpe by an even greater margin than what she lost by in the primary, and Spears by the largest margin in the city.
With Lisa Milone in the race on the Republican ticket, Morris Cove was the only Elm City district besides Ward 1 with a Republican challenger. Despite losing the election — which was held at Nathan Hale School in the Morris Cove neighborhood —Milone said she is glad she ran because her candidacy gave Morris Cove residents more voting options. She added that this does not always happen in cities dominated by registered Democrats.
“One-party rule doesn’t seem to work,” Milone said.
DeCola, who received 583 of the 888 votes, also beat out independent candidate Robert Proto, who won 120 votes, to secure his third term. Milone came in last place with 77 votes.
“It feels wonderful,” DeCola said. “The people spoke. This was democracy at its best.”
DeCola, who was surrounded by a handful of supporters as polls closed, said his team of roughly 20 volunteers worked hard to phone bank, knock on doors and connect with community members each day leading up to the election. DeCola added that as grand knight of the Knights of Columbus — an international Catholic fraternity with a chapter in New Haven — and the organizer of the annual St. Bernadette’s Church carnival in Morris Cove, he was active in the Morris Cove community long before his 2011 election to the Board.
Many DeCola supporters, including Morris Cove resident John Rak, said DeCola was quick to answer questions and concerns community members posed to him during his first two terms as alder.
Proto, who lost to DeCola in the Democratic primary before running as an independent in Ward 18’s general election, said he does not think any candidate should run unopposed. Like Milone, he said voters should be provided with a choice.
Proto said he was pleased with the 121 votes he received in the primary and his 120 general election votes, because he moved to New Haven from West Haven in May and did not enter the aldermanic race until late August. Proto said this was his first experience running for office and he is continuing to learn strategies for campaigning.
Nearly 40 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in Morris Cove.