Dan Drew easily fended off a primary challenge Tuesday from longtime city treasurer Christine Bourne to become the official Democratic candidate for mayor on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The unofficial tally was 1,936 to 619.
"This is a victory for Middletown, moving it in the right direction, focusing on what counts," the 31-year-old Drew said before a jubilant crowd that included state Reps. Joseph Serra, D-Middletown, and Matt Lesser, D-Middlefield. Former Middletown Mayor Domenique Thornton was also present.
At Drew's side was his wife, Kate, and their three young children, Ella, 6; Jackson, 4; and Jacob, 2.
"I want to thank Chris Bourne, Laura Maturo and Tina Raffa for running a hard and spirited campaign," Drew said. "I respect them immensely and I want to thank them for the great campaign that they ran. It’s healthy for a democracy when people have choices and I certainly appreciate them being out here with us and debating the issues."
Bourne said she was dismayed that such a small percentage of registered Democrats turned out to vote in the primary.
Nevertheless, she said she will continue her mayoral bid, running as an independent on the November ballot.
"I’m disappointed that 25 percent of the people voted. I don’t think there was a resounding vote. I know I have a lot of independent votes."
So few Democrats cast their ballots Tuesday, Bourne says, because, "I don’t think they like the negative attitudes. I don’t thing they came out today. We just have to get out a positive message and let people know what we're out to do. Round one is over and we’re ready for round two. I look forward to November."
Asked if her candidacy will split the Democratic vote in the city, Bourne said, "I think I’ll take votes away from both sides. In a three-way race, it’s anybody’s game. Now the independent people are going to speak in this election."
Quentin Phipps, chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, defeated Tina Mazzotta Raffa, getting 1,752 to her 724 votes and will face off against Republican Jonathan Pulino for city treasurer come November.
He was positively beaming after learning he had won. "I'm very excited I have another opportunity to serve the city. I think the treasurer's position is one that we can truly evolve," Phipps said. "We're really going to make this city better."
"If it was by one [vote], I would have been happy," Phipps said about getting more than 1,000 votes over his opponent. "We still have two more months of campaigning ... this is just the first step. And once we win in November, the real hard work begins."
Phipps said he looks forward to the race against Pulino, whom he calls "a good friend of mine."
In the Council primary, Democratic incumbents Gerald Daley, Grady Faulkner Jr., Hope Kasper, Ronald Klattenberg, Robert Santangelo and Thomas Serra, join newcomers Mary Bartolotta and Todd Berch on the Nov. 8 ballot. Laura Maturo, with 763, did not receive enough votes to appear.
Drew will face off on Election Day against incumbent Republican Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano, who is running for a fourth term.
Bourne will be on the ticket as an independent candidate for mayor, which will set up a three-way race.
In July, Bourne the 16-year city treasurer was left off November's Democratic ticket by her lifelong party. Bourne announced in August she had collected the necessary petition signatures to force a primary and run as an independent.
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