Westport Voters Split Tickets: GOP’s Marpe/Tooker On Top, Dems Down-Ballot

Running against 3 opponents, Jim Marpe was chosen by almost exactly half of all Westport voters last night.

The Republican incumbent 1st selectman — and new running mate Jen Tooker — earned 4,187 of the total 8,380 cast (49.96%).

That was 452 more than the 44.57% received by Democrats Melissa Kane and Rob Simmelkjaer.

Trailing far behind were petitioning candidates John Suggs (430 votes, 5.13%) and T.J. Elgin (28 votes, 0.33%).

The results were far different for other races.

Democrats Brian Stern and Lee Caney were re-elected to the Board of Finance. Republican Andrea Moore fills the 3rd seat. Her running mate Vik Muktavaram fell short, and is expected to remain on the Board of Education.

The 4 Board of Ed candidates up for re-election — Democrats Elaine Whitney and Candi Savin, and Republicans Karen Kleine and Jeannie Smith — were all re-elected without opposition. They finished in the order above.

While the Board of Finance and Board of Ed remain in Democratic hands, the Planning & Zoning Commission switches control, from the GOP to the Dems. Democrats Greg Rutstein, Michael Cammeyer and Danielle Dobin won, beating Republican Jon Olefson and Coalition for Westport candidate Jennifer Johnson.

For all Westport election results — including RTM — click here. At the top of the page select “November 2017 Municipal Election,” then choose Westport from the map or drop-down menu below.

40 responses to “Westport Voters Split Tickets: GOP’s Marpe/Tooker On Top, Dems Down-Ballot

  1. Janette Kinnally

    Congrats to all the winners!!! It was a hard fought campaign on all sides and now it is time to come together and do the best job for Westporters -not for yourselves and your party affiliations, but your town!!! Do a great job!!! Because we will be watching and of course we will have our opinions (which is a great example of democracy)!!! 😊

  2. Matthew Mandell

    First of all I want to thank all the District One residents who came out in the sun and then the rain help re-elect me to my 7th term as your RTM representative.

    As to P&Z – Technically the Dems already held the majority in P&Z, so there was not a switch. The chair was a republican elected by that body itself with 3 republicans and one democrat casting that vote. With this new makeup it is assumed that there will now be a dem chair. So there is a switch in chair party, but not a switch in majority.

    As to the First selectman race, and I am not doing anything here, but playing with numbers and highly doubt things would have broken so cleanly, but if you take the Suggs and Elign votes and add them to Kane, it becomes a 6 vote difference. Numbers are interesting.

    Time to now do what Westport does best, all work together for a better community.

    • What exactly is your point then.We all can move numbers around.

      • Matthew Mandell

        Just an observation. Nothing more. Just noticed how the numbers worked. It came to 6 votes. No politics, no nothing……..

        • Really, Matt? Just an observation? No politics? Nothing about your candidate? Hmmm. You see, Matt, following one of my Board of Education presentations several years ago you told me it reminded you about a phrase your father used.. “lies, damn lies and statistics”. While I’m sure THAT was true the phase actually came from Benjamin Disraeli – but I digress. Back to the point…so, Matt, I assume your response that the Selectman’s race “came to 6 votes” was, lets say, a statistic?

        • And if all of the votes for Suggs and Elign had gone to Marpe/Tooker, their margin would have almost doubled. No politics, no nothing……..

    • Catherine Walsh

      P&Z vote for Chair was initially 4-3 in 2015. When Chip resigned his chairmanship in May 2016, I was voted in as Chair, and then again in Dec 2016—unanimously twice by a Dem. majority commission.

  3. But who won Kayak Commissioner?!

  4. Michael Calise

    Are you saying John Suggs and T J Elgin saved Westport?

    • Matthew Mandell

      I like that Mike.

      Again, I was just playing with numbers, not making any political statement at all. If it came off that way, I am sorry, not my intention. Since I like numbers, I just thought it was an interesting thing.

  5. As Matthew pointed out, the P&Z was already 4 – 3 Dems over Republicans, for the last year. Nothing changed in that regard, and the question of who chairs the P&Z doesn’t impact the votes should they ever split along party lines, which is quite rare in the post-Corwin era.

  6. Not sure how “Republican Andrea Moore fills the third seat” when she earned the second most votes? Freudian slip Dan? Results, which were close, are 1) Stern (D) 2) Moore (R) 3) Caney (D) 4) Muktavaram (R). This vote more about the individuals than party affiliations. Why Marpe was re-elected again. Party partisanship has no place in town politics. One reason why those who played that card did not get elected.

    • 2 seats are filled by Democrats who were re-elected. 1 — the 3rd seat — is now filled by a Republican newcomer. I tried to write as simply as possible. I did not give vote totals for any race other than selectmen. No Freudian slip, Mark. Please don’t read more into this than you should.

  7. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    It’s just my opinion but I think that the Board of Education candidates should not be affiliated with either party given that their role is to oversee the best interests of Westport school children, not to advance any one political ideology. I recall during the time I attended.Staples that the BOE candidates articulated their views along party lines as opposed to the merits of certain issues that should be decided on merit not political affiliation. In the community that I currently live, BOE candidates are affiliated with neither party. This places responsibility squarely on the voters to become acquainted with a candidate’s policy as opposed to their political affiliation.

  8. Technically both Jack and Matthew’s comments above are incorrect regarding the party affiliation of the P&Z (or the newly elected commissionaires for that matter).

    For the last two years (and continuing again post-election for the next two years) the “count” has been three Republicans (Walsh, Stephens, and Gratrix), three democrats (Dobin, Cammeyer, and Hodge) and one Independent… aka Unaffiliated (Lebowitz).

    The election essentially replaced Hodge with Rutstein.

    The new “count” only signifies that the P&Z will continue to vote in favor of…. (wait for it)… the citizens of Westport.

    • Paul – Technically and actually, the November 3, 2015 Ballot listed Paul Lebowitz as the sole P&Z candidate running on the Democratic Party line. That’s how you were elected, as a Democrat, and that’s how you have been counted (for purposes of the 4 commissioners per party maximum), although I certainly respect your desire to be known as an independent.

      • Dick Lowenstein

        If you want to get technical, no more than four P&Z Commissioners may be members of the same political party. (www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=150). Being a member of a party and being designated and elected by a party are not the same. In theory, if one of the three Republicans resigned from this (and the next) P&Z, a fourth registered Democrat could be appointed to fill the vacancy.

        • Dick – yes, that is the plain language found at § C10-1 of our Town Charter. (“No more than 4 members shall be members of the same political party.”) However, if the Democrats wanted to play the game you suggest (run a candidate for the P&Z, but later point to his status as a registered independent so they can load more than 4 Democrat ticket candidates on the P&Z) I would predict a challenge, not to mention some measure of much deserved shame.

          • Dick Lowenstein

            I’m simply looking for accurate, factual statements. The Republicans could play the same game, as you call it, and face the same challenge and shame. My point is that it’s personal registration that counts, not the party endorsement, as you stated.

  9. Chip Stephens SHS '73

    Dan you deserve great thanks from all in Westport for your coverage and work during the election. We are a town with out a true hometown newspaper and depend upon your nonpartisan blog for education and impartial direction. You did 06880 a great service and I applaud your service as I do all that ran successfully or not. None of the aforementioned (except first selectperson) make the big bucks for time and passionate work for Westport. Thank you sincerely.

  10. David J. Loffredo

    I wish we didn’t have political party affiliations in any of these local races and instead focused on the issues, the candidates, and their differences.

    It’s the stupid red/blue stuff that divides people, and candidates without political party support barely stand a chance – and I think we miss out on some great people.

    Congrats to everyone who ran for putting yourself out there, we’re fortunate to have so many dedicated people who care about our community.

  11. Chip Stephens SHS '73

    One minor correction, the First Selectman’s salary is an way underpaid embarrassment for the size budget and size organization he (she) runs. I hope in his second term Jim seeks to correct this, not so much for himself, but to attract and maintain great talent with future First Selectpersons.

  12. Bobbie Herman

    For those of you who suggested Westport have non-partisan local elections, I might point out that Fairfield’S RTM elections are partisan. I think Westport’s method is much better.

  13. Dan did you forgot the Zoning Board of Appeals race? Democrats Bernard Deverin and Victoria Gouletas won. The ZBA has now been held a Democratic majority for twenty years.

    • Nope, I didn’t forget it. I just was keeping things brief. That’s why I included the link “for all election results.” Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to all who stepped up to run.

  14. Don L. Bergmann

    Two comments: 1. Chip Stephens is right to highlight the low salary of the First Selectman. Many have sought to address that and the effort should be renewed.
    2. I would like to see the Board of Education become contested. Party affiliation is of course irrelevant, but differing views on education, including funding, are of particular importance as costs keep rising and funding has limits, while technology and change imposes new needs. .
    Don Bergmann

  15. The reason we have “political parties” on Board of Education is I believe the state mandates it. No other comments here! Best to all and thank you to all for running…we all love this town and will do our best as others have in the past…Dan, as always thanks for this wonderful blog.

  16. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Nothing was said over whether or not Mr. Marpe also won the Electoral College vote.

  17. Did anyone mention that more people voted against Mr. Marpe than voted for him? Just askin’?

    • William Strittmatter

      And even more voted against Ms. Kane than voted against Mr. Marpe. Don’t even want to do the math on Mr. Suggs or Mr. Elgin. And 65% of registered voters voted against all of them by withholding their votes. Apparently most Westporter prefer no select person. If that is the way you want to interpret things.

    • Then how did he win?