Voter turnout for the 2019 municipal election is down slightly from two years ago, as candidates greet residents with political signs at Monroe’s four polling places on this cloudy Tuesday.
First Selectman Ken Kellogg is running unopposed, but there is a two-way-race for town treasurer and all nine Town Council seats are being contested.
Kellogg and his wife Mary stood in front of their voting district at Masuk High School late in the morning.
The first selectman, who is a Republican, felt good about the prospects for his party’s candidates. The GOP holds a majority on all of the town’s boards and commissions, including a 6-3 majority on the Town Council.
“A lot of people coming up to me have shared how they think the people they elected are doing a good job for them,” Kellogg said. “There is a lot of support for the team.”
Daniel Hunsberger, a Democrat serving on the Board of Police Commissioners, held a blue sign for his party’s candidates.
“We are as optimistic as we can possibly be,” he said. “What is happening in Washington is helping us and we will know at 8 o’clock. Change starts at home.”
As of 2 p.m., 2,100 voters participated in the election, for a 16.07 percent turnout. Deputy Democratic Town Registrar Gary E. Zenobia said that is 1.5 percent behind the pace of the 2017 election.
Race for treasurer
Town Treasurer Patrick O’Hara, the incumbent Republican, is trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat, Christa DeLeo.
“We’re getting good feedback,” O’Hara said, while standing in front of Masuk to greet voters. “It seems like a lot of people are coming out to vote, which is great.”
DeLeo was outside Monroe Elementary School in the afternoon. “I just feel really positive about today,” she said, “so many people are coming out and supporting us — and hopefully it will help us in the election.”
Town Councilman Terry Rooney, a Republican, stood with the Kelloggs at Masuk.
“I think the voters of the town of Monroe understand the job the administration has done,” he said. “They see the dedication on a daily basis from the incumbents. It’s a relatively conservative town with traditional values, that focuses on conventional families.”
Nick Kapoor, a Board of Education candidate, is also campaign chairman for the Democratic Party.
“The Monroe Democrats put forward a diverse and qualified slate of candidates
for Town Council and treasurer,” Kapoor said. “We have incumbents and newcomers. They all care about Monroe and they all want to see Monroe succeed.”
Spencer Wesley, a Democrat running for Town Council, is the election’s youngest candidate at age 27. He greeted voters at Monroe Elementary School.
“I know it’s an off election year, but I’m hoping everything goes in the Democrats’ favor,” Wesley said. “We did all we could. We canvassed everywhere. People seemed willing to at least listen to us, even if
they were Republican. Hopefully it will translate into some votes.”
“It’s been a very fun experience,” Wesley said of running for office for the first time. “I had a great time with all the other candidates and I’d definitely do it again.”
Town Council Chairman Frank Lieto, a Republican, was also at Monroe Elementary School.
“I have a great feeling,” he said. “The town has been very appreciative of all the Republicans we have on the council and its sister boards and commissions. I think we’re very hopeful they’ll support our efforts, as they have over the past number of years. We have a very strong team.”
Town Councilwoman Dee Dee Martin and fellow Democrat, Susan Koneff, who is running for a council seat, greeted voters together outside Stepney Elementary
“I’m always optimistic,” Martin said. “People have been very friendly.”
“I would love to see a bigger turnout,” said Koneff, a former registrar of voters. “But I think it’s going well. People are happy and supportive. I notice people are bringing their children, because it plants a seed for them to register and vote when they’re eligible.”