After an election campaign that lasted nearly 10 months and cost approximately $1 million, Hartford voters went to the polls last week and voted to keep things pretty much the way they are.
Mayor Eddie Perez was re-elected by a solid majority. City Treasurer Kathleen Palm was unopposed and won her fourth straight term with 7,455 votes.
The six City Council members who ran for re-election (Democrats Ken Kennedy, Jim Boucher, rJo Winch, Calixto Torres and Pedro Segarra and Republican Veronica Airey-Wilson) won their seats back.
Of the three new faces on Council, endorsed Democrat Matt Ritter not only won in his first race for political office, he also secured the largest number of votes among all 23 Council candidates.
The big surprise, of course, was the strong showing of the Working Families Party (WFP). Two WFP candidates, Luis Cotto and Dr. Larry Deutsch were elected to City Council. The third WFP candidate, Urania Petit, finished tenth with 1,836 votes. All three WFP candidates garnered more votes than any Republican candidates, with the exception of Airey-Wilson.
Of the many independent candidates, Paul Mozzicato came closest to winning a seat on City Council. He was only 336 votes behind Deutsch. Mozzicato did very well in most South End districts. In the 14th, for instance, he got 324 votes, beating out incumbents Winch and Segarra and trailing Boucher by only one vote. But, despite a well-run and well-financed campaign, Mozzicato couldn’t extend his strength city-wide.
City Treasurer Kathleen Palm said she believes the WFP’s success was due to two main factors. “I know they worked very hard and were well-organized and, second, a large part of their platform was very appealing to the many liberal Democrats in Hartford,” said Palm.
Palm said the fact that she was not opposed in this year’s election “is a testament to the good job we’ve done here in the City Treasurer’s office...I think Berna¬dine Silvers summed it up best in the 2003 election when she said, “If it’s not broke, why fix it?’”
Under the regulations of the Democratic Town Committee, an endorsed candidate cannot accept a cross endorsement from another party. Because of this, Palm had to turn down the Republican endorsement in the 2003 election. This time around, she said an official from the Republican Town Committee told her informally that the Hartford GOP had decided not to nominate any candidate against her because she has demonstrated the same fiscally conservative principals and practices that their own party supports.
Palm also said, “I think voters feel comfortable knowing they have an independently elected treasurer who can say no to the powers that be when I have to, and I have done so.”