Terry Rooney led in the first selectman race with only absentee ballots from two districts left to count. His opponent, Jerry Stevens, texted to congratulate him, but Rooney paced inside the dining room of Vazzy’s Osteria, 415 Main St., refusing to celebrate until every vote was counted.
Moments later, Republican Town Committee Chairman Ryan Condon and Elizabeth Edgerton, who worked together at a nearby table to tally the votes, gave him the good news. Unofficial results showed Terry Rooney won by a vote of 2,909 to 2,723 to become Monroe’s next town leader.
Rooney raised his arms in triumph and the room erupted into loud cheers. It was a great night for Republicans, who swept to victory in every contested race, including treasurer, tax collector and Town Council, where the party will retain its 6-3 advantage.
“It is my distinct honor to introduce First Selectman-Elect Terry Rooney,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said, before handing Rooney the microphone amid more cheers.
“This is very humbling for me,” Rooney said. “You know, I come from very simple means: cop, contractor. I’m not a highly educated guy. But it shows that a regular knockaround guy can still be elected and can still do this job, so thank you. Thank you Monroe.”
Rooney said he did not write a victory speech ahead of time.
“I knew this was going to be a very tough race,” he said. “I ran against a very popular, nice guy. I didn’t know which direction it would go, so I had nothing prepared.”
He went on to thank all of his supporters and fellow Republican candidates on the ticket.
State Rep. Tony Scott, R-112th, was among those who attended the party at Vazzy’s and the crowd also included many of Rooney’s family members and friends.
Rooney called his son, Conor Rooney, who drove three hours from his school in Massachusetts to surprise his father on Election Night, up to the front of the room, as well as his wife, Nadine.
“Through all of the negativity in this campaign, my wife was like, ‘who cares. Don’t listen to that,’ so she has been a rock,” Rooney said. “I love you. Thank you.”
Social media posts and letters criticized Rooney’s attendance record while serving on Town Council and several of its committees, copies of some of his past social media posts were rerun and scrutinized, and Rooney was criticized for declining to answer a debate question on whether he would attend the annual Pride Flag raising, held outside Monroe Town Hall.
Of the Republicans’ sweep of all of the races, Condon said, “this election showed that negative campaigning in town never works. Residents can see through any smear campaign that can be thrown at them. Monroe respects candidates that stay classy.”
“Congratulations to all the newly elected candidates on both sides of the aisle — Republican and Democrat,” Condon added.
During a telephone interview, Stevens remained upbeat, despite losing the close race.
“My team was a stellar team,” he said. “I’m so proud of them and what we’ve accomplished.”
During a gathering at Monroe Social, 494 Main St., earlier that night, Stevens thanked all of the supporters who volunteered on his campaign, knocking on doors, putting up signs and writing postcards.
“I want to thank all of the voters who came out,” Stevens said.
The spirited first selectman race between Stevens and Rooney resulted in 5,678, or close to 44 percent of Monroe’s 12,955 active registered voters coming to the polls, which is nearly 11 percent higher than the voter turnout in the 2021 municipal election, when current first selectman Ken Kellogg ran unopposed.
The six Republicans who were the highest vote getters on Town Council were: Sean O’Rourke (3,248), Enid Lipeles (3,223), Kevin Reid (3,178), Dona-Lyn Wales (3,129), Vincent A. Duva (3,065) and Jonathan Formichella (3,026). All are incumbents with the exception of Duva, who ran for the seat vacated by Rooney when he chose to run for first selectman.
The three Democrats who won seats were incumbent Jason Maur (2,818) and new members Cathy Kohut (2,468) and Janice Persico (2,435).
Democrats who did not win Council seats were incumbent Jessica Katuska (2,426), Kathie Loehr (2,418) and Susan Bannay (2,376).
Town Treasurer Frank Dutches (R) retained his position, fending off a challenge from Nick Kapoor (D) 3,125 to 2,398.
Tax Collector Deborah Heim (R) beat challenger Nina Gagnon 3,316 to 2,189.
Town Clerk Vida Stone (R) ran unopposed and garnered 4,202 votes.
Top vote getters in other uncontested races were:
Board of Finance: Republicans Nicholas Sentementes (3,657), Katherine Stauffer (3,597) and Rebecca O’Donnell (3,517). Democrat Steve Kirsch garnered 2,785 votes.
Samantha Spino, a Democrat filling a board vacancy, had 3,172 votes.
Board of Education: Republicans Greg Beno (3,464) and David H. Ferris Jr. (3,424). Beno previously served on the Board of Finance, while Ferris is the incumbent Board of Education chairman.
Democrats include incumbents Chrissy Fensore Martinez (2,726) and Alan Vaglivelo (2,616).
Planning and Zoning Commission: Incumbents include Republicans Ryan Condon (3,581) and Bruno Maini (3,390), as well as Democrat Leon Ambrosey (2,905).
Planning and Zoning Alternates: Incumbents are Republicans Nicole Lupo (3,577) and Dominic Smeraglino III (3,443), and Democrat Domenic Paniccia (2,712).
Constables: Vic Yanosy (R) 2,974 and Pat Tomchik (D) 2,433.
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