Tooker’s Margin: 69 Votes. Next Question: Who Is 3rd Selectman?

Results of yesterday’s election — filed with the Secretary of the State — show just how tight the selectman’s race was.

Jennifer Tooker and running mate Andrea Moore edged Jonathan Steinberg and Candice Savin 4,237 votes to 4,168. The winning Republican ticket had 50.03% of the vote, to the Democrats’ 49.21.

Libertarians TJ Elgin and Louis D’Onofrio garnered just 64 votes (0.76%).

Jen Tooker

But Elgin may become Westport’s 3rd selectman.

Steinberg — currently in his 6th term as a state representative — has declined the 3rd selectman’s position. By statute — and long Westport tradition — it goes to the candidate for 1st selectman who places second in the voting.

Steinberg chairs the legislature’s Public Health Committee, and serves on the Transportation, and Energy and Technology, Committees too.

He told Westport Journal this afternoon that he does not want to be a “third wheel” on the 3-person selectmen board.

Elgin believes that the 3rd selectman position should not go to Savin — Steinberg’s running mate — but rather to him.

The town charter says: “The defeated candidate for First Selectman having the highest number of votes shall be elected a Selectman.” Elgin contends that because Savin was not a candidate for first selectman, he should be next in line for the post.

Assistant town attorney Eileen Lavigne Flug says, however, that there is only one second place candidate for first selectman: Steinberg. If he declines the post, Flug said, Tooker and Moore must appoint a Democrat to replace him.


Meanwhile, Democrats led in all other races. The results:

Board of Education (contested)

Party-endorsed Democrats Kevin Christie (5,097 votes) and Christina Torres (5,177) and Republicans Robert Harrington (3,850) and Dorie Hordon (3,913) will form a newcomers’ majority on the 7-person board. Write-in candidate Alma Sarelli received 130 votes, and was not elected.

Planning and Zoning Commission (contested)

Democratic incumbents (and Save Westport Now-endorsed Danielle Dobin (5.396), Michael Cammeyer (5,095) and Neil Cohn (4,923) return to office. Republican Jack Whittle (3,368) failed in his bid to recapture his old seat. Coalition for Westport candidate Ron Corwin (786) also lost.

Board of Finance (uncontested)

Democratic incumbents Brian Stern (5,207 votes) and Lee Caney (4,950) will be joined by Republican Michael Keller (4,100).

Board of Assessment Appeals (contested)

Democrats Lynette Pineda (4,547) and Heseyl Gayle (4,446) were elected. Republican Town Committee chair Joseph Sledge (3,470) lost.

Zoning Board of Appeals (uncontested)

Josh Newman and Amy Wistreich were elected.

Representative Town Meeting

Three districts had contested races.

In District 1, Liz Milwe (436), Matthew Mandell (360), Chris Tait (337) and Kristin Mott Purcell (277) won. Abby Tolan (253) and Rick Jaffe (228) lost.

In District 3, Jimmy Izzo (403), Mark Friedman, Don O’Day (35) and Arline Gertzoff (328) won. Ross Burkhardt (252) lost.

In District 9, Kristin Schneeman (427), Nancy Kail (401), Sal Liccione (347) an Lori Church 9343) won. Clark Thiemann (315) and Marla Cowden (300) lost.

Winners in the uncontested districts:

2: Joy Keenan, Harris Falk, Louis Mall, Christine Meiers Schatz.

4: Andrew Colabella, James Bairaktaris, Noah Hammond, Jeffrey Wieser.

5: Peter Gold, Dick Lowenstein, Karen Kramer, Claudia Shaum

6: Candace Banks, Beth Braunstein, Jessica Bram, Cathy Talmadge

7: Brandi Briggs, Jack Klinge, Ellen Lautenberg, Lauren Karpf.

8: Wendy Goldwyn Batteau, Lisa Newman, Stephen Shackelford, Rachel Steel Cohn.


The Democratic Town Committee issued this statement earlier today: “The Westport Democratic Town Committee congratulates Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore on their election as Westport’s next first and second selectmen. Their success is Westport’s success. We look forward to working together to keep Westport the vibrant and welcoming place that we all cherish.”

28 responses to “Tooker’s Margin: 69 Votes. Next Question: Who Is 3rd Selectman?

  1. Bobbie Herman

    With 64 votes, Elgin should be 3rd Selectman. Fuggedaboudit!

    • Kandi Rizzoto

      At least he ran a campaign. What have you done?

      • I have run and won campaigns in the past. I served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for two terms and the Board of Assessment Appeals for one term. That was while living in Westport. After moving to Fairfield, I served on the board of Assessment Appeals for one term.

  2. I guess the voters liked her answers when she answered questions a few weeks ago. Congratulations

    • John F. Suggs

      Is anyone else as disappointed as I am in learning about Mr. Steinberg’s dismissive comments around his sudden refusal to accept the office of Third Selectman? When he received the nomination from the Democratic Party months ago it was with the understanding that, win or lose, he was making a four year commitment to serve the town as a Member of the Board of Selectman. It was implicit in his accepting the nomination.

      Yet now we discover that he never really meant it? Rather, he actually meant was that he was prepared to serve the Town on the Board of Selectman for the next four years if he was 1st Selectman but not as 3rd Selectman.

      That was not what he led his party or the town as a whole to believe. To add insult to injury, Mr. Steinberg was quoted as calling the position “a small job” with the implied understanding that he was too big and important to commit to do the work of 3rd Selectman.

      Isn’t that something that you should have told both the Democratic Party and the Town as a whole before the election? That, in effect, you did not care what the voters decided. If the democratic process proceeded and elected you to the Office of Third Selectman, tough! You would take your ball and go home.

      Isn’t that attitude the very definition of poor sportsmanship? If that is truly how you feel then I can only respond, shame on you. I would not accept that behavior in a third grader much less the Third Selectman of the great town of Westport.

      • Mr. Suggs, you are not the only one that this resonated with. Sounds like a bit of a Sore-Loser to me as well.

      • On he contrary, John. Steinberg sees # 3 select position as a do nothing job with no influence on public policy; whereas, his current office allows, in fact demands, extensive, active public service rather than a position where two Republicans out vote him every time. Those smart enough to vote for Steinberg AND those who were willing to vote for two people who supported Trump, will benefit more by Steinberg staying where he is than by him giving up that position for the loser job of third wheel getting run over by two other wheels.

        • Paul Greenberg

          How do you know that they supported Trump? According to the voting records, you are a member of the Democratic Party. Do you support the antisemitic Talib and Omar? May I tar you in the same way?

          • You may tar me more thickly, Paul, ’cause I don’t even know who them folks is….my bad or, if your generous, naivete.

        • He should have expressed it openly, Jim; you are correct , and I feel certain he knew, should he lose, he would not lower his service to that of third selectman. That he did not, is surely his bad and he deserves opprobrium for that. Nonetheless, his service to the community in his current position, is far more effective than that of third place on a team of 3 that won’t support most of his positions.

        • Mr. Katz, you are perpetuating the misinformation that throughout the campaign was used to try to discredit and demonize Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore — two of the finest, most honorable women I have ever met. Did you ever bother to show up at one of their events, actually listen to what they had to say, or approach them and ask them a question about whether they are Trump supporters? I doubt it. Because they are Republicans, you feel entitled to spread lies about them. Disgraceful.

          • Ms. Hess,I could not attend any of their events ’cause I’m 245 miles away…however, neither disavowed a thing done by Trump (Jan 6th, comes to mind) and that is good enough evidence for me…sorry.

            • So in fact, you are just misinformed, and attempting to misinform other people. Jen Tooker‘s first statement on January 6 was on January 7. Look it up. Know your facts and stop spreading misinformation.

  3. Please. Please. Not the guy whose big traffic fix was electronic signs directing drivers to cool their heels at some local business in a strip-mall parking lot. Everyone politely listened to this at the debates. They voted accordingly. This isn’t soccer for second-graders. Elgin shouldn’t get a participation trophy.

  4. Anyone else see Designed Survivor?

  5. Auto correct can go to he’ll.

  6. Accept the third place position with grace, then resign due to Hartford commitments and allow a replacement to appointed in your place. Otherwise you come off as petulant and create a mess for others to clean up.

  7. Thank you Melissa Kane, Betty Lou Cummings, My late Uncle John Izzo, Vin Rotondo, Charlie Haberstroh, Helen Garten, and the many others I missed…I don’t know if Marty Hauhuth was ever 3rd Selectman, but a shout out to her as well who has NEVER stopped serving WESTPORT.
    Today more than ever the 3rd Selectman plays a key roll in our community and the job should “never” be looked down on as “gesture to runner up” in Board of Selectman race.
    All who have served is this position have been respected and all have worked to make the town a better place.
    Jonathan Steinberg does have an important role in Hartford. I believe he will be more valuable to our town with the number one “real campaign issue to the people of Westport -TRAFFIC.”
    Together our 3 Selectmen can work with Jonathan to finally get the post road traffic lights synched, and work together strategically to find ways the State can help us NOT hinder us.

  8. Charlie Haberstroh

    Thanks for the shout out, Jimmy. The 3rd Selectman position is essentially a volunteer position, but it is not a position that should be denigrated in any way. I ran my company while serving as 3rd Selectman for 3 years and did not have to resign from the company in order to do so. He could do both. He should also remember his humble beginnings in public service: that he won his initial seat on the RTM in 2001 as a write-in candidate, beating Ben Joseloff (Gordon’s son who was another write in candidate) by 2 votes. I think he would be better served by putting t his ego aside and serve as 3rd Selectman. He would be better able to understand the issues in Westport that he should be championing in Hartford.

    • Excellent point, Charlie. And thank you for your previous service as Westport’s 3rd Selectman, as a member of the Westport Board of Finance, and as the current Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission. You, my friend, are a true public servant!

  9. If there was ever a time in Westport for a shift away fro devise party politics and vitriol, this is it! This wonderful town just needs ” Public Servants” not the crazy entrenched politics that have nearly brought this nation to a breaking point!
    Let’s encourage these duly elected officials to put partisan party politics out on the back porch and just SERVE Westport and all this towns residents, departments, businesses and schools with understanding, foresight, consideration and compassion. I like many like hopefully more in our community want progress and solutions, not party politics! JMHO

  10. there are enough real functioning dynamic ties between NYC and WSPT now (beyond people just commuting to work and going home fr one to the other) that now ‘enough people’ are eager, trying to figure out how to now influence Tooker and Moore as to who their DNP pick will be, if that indeed is how the process is going to go. Def interesting.

    I hope those 2 ladies let that ‘courting process go on & on & on’, because ‘this’ doesn’t happen often and DNP are def eager to get a good influential one in there 😉

  11. Michael Calise

    Dems need to find a white male who always wears a shirt and tie after all it is a minority position.

  12. Bobbie Herman

    Those of you who lived in Westport in the 80’s will remember Bill Seiden, the First Selectman. He ran for re-election, with Jo Fuchs (Luscombe) as his running mate. They lost to Marty Hauhuth and Wally Meyer.

    Bill turned down the Third Selectman post, and Marty and Wally named Jo to the position.* And nobody said “Boo!”

    What has changed in Westport that there is such a fuss being made, and such animosity and vitriol being cast?

    * Jo later ran and served as State Rep for several terms, the same position Jonathan now holds.

    • Michael Calise

      I knew that scenario occurred with the Republican resigning but I couldn’t recall when. Seems to me I recall this also occurring involving John Izzo but not sure when or how.

  13. Charlie Haberstroh

    When Gavin Anderson resigned as third Selectman in 2010(?) due to health, Gordon Joseloff or the then head of the Democratic Town Committee reached out to the Republican Town Committee and asked them to provide a candidate for 3rd Selectman and he and his second, Shelley Kassen to approve. That candidate was me and I served as 3rd Selectman until Jim Marpe was elected as 1st Selectman in 2013.