September 29, 2022

Former West Haven mayor launches new political party to run for city’s first seat

WEST HAVEN — Former Mayor Ed O’Brien drops a letter next to his name — D for Democrat.

O’Brien, who served as mayor from 2013 to 2017 before losing to current mayor Nancy Rossi in the 2017 Democratic primary and losing again to Rossi in 2019, announced earlier this year that he would seek again the Democratic nomination for the next election. Now he has said he will run as an independent instead. An adviser to his campaign said O’Brien will appear on the ballot under the Action & Responsibility party.

“After months of talking to townspeople and, more importantly, listening, it has become crystal clear that the people of West Haven are fed up with the political climate and prefer to vote for the government officials based on their abilities and accomplishments rather than political affiliation,” O’Brien said in a statement.

Campaign adviser Rick Fontana said O’Brien’s intention was to run with the Action & Accountability party, for which he filed documents as a minor party. A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Denise Merrill confirmed that the office had received the “party designation reservation request for (the) ‘Party of Action and Accountability'”. The spokeswoman said the office does not, however, receive the necessary petitions from municipal candidates.

Fontana said the decision was partly strategic and partly to send a message of unity to townspeople.

“We learned in the three-way primaries in West Haven, it’s clearly a tough road,” Fontana said, something that would give an incumbent an edge.

According to O’Brien, he will begin the process of collecting signatures to appear on the ballot next week.

According to the instructions Merrill’s office provides to candidates, “In order for a candidate to qualify for the ballot, a nomination petition must be signed by a number of qualified voters…equal to the lesser of (1) at least one percent of the votes cast for the same office in the last preceding election for that office, or (2) seven thousand five hundred.

In West Haven, that would mean a minimum of 85 signings, Fontana said.

“I think we need to change the way we do things in West Haven,” O’Brian said. “Maybe take the politics out of it and run people who want to get things done and set up West Haven for the next 100 years and the next generation. Now everyone has a say, not just Democrats or Republicans. »

Fontana said winning votes from a coalition of multi-party voters on Election Day would “lead to a better West Haven.”

Rossi said everyone in the city has the right to run.

“When the time comes to determine if he will participate in a debate, I will be ready for that,” she said.

Democratic mayoral candidate John Lewis said: “I wish him well, but my focus now is on the challenge ahead of my team, which is the September 14 primary.”

Lewis was O’Brien’s executive assistant during O’Brien’s tenure and the candidate for city clerk on mayoral candidate Debbie Collins’ list in the last election.

The election will take place on November 2.

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