Cautious optimism turned to outright elation at Democratic Town Committee headquarters on Bridgeport Avenue as vote tallies came in on Tuesday evening.
With absentee ballots yet to be counted, Ben Blake had a comfortable margin over Republican Bob Joy with Independent Rocco Frank bringing in less than two percent of voters.
According to unofficial numbers, Blake garnered 57 percent of the vote. Democrats picked up a majority in both the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Education. The race for City Clerk was deemed too close to call before the absentee votes are counted, but Republican incumbent Linda Stock had the lead.
When City Clerk candidate Suzanne Manning joined a trio of supporters, she was asked what she thought the results would be. Her response? A diplomatic, “You vote and hope for the best.”
Seny Riccardi, a graduate of Foran High School was a poll watcher at his alma mater from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. “We got a lot of positive feedback from people coming to vote,” he said. He added that the experience gave him a chance to meet his Republican counterparts. “Everyone was very courteous,” he said.
A candidate for the Board of Education was Susan Glennon, former president of the Meadowside School PTA and the combined high schools PTSA. “I’ve been going to school board meetings for years,” Glennon said. “I got active in PTA when my children started school,” she added. Her children currently range in age from 19 to 25.
Standing and sitting in front of the big screen before the results appeared were Tessa Marquis, Senator Gayle Slossberg, Judge Beverly Streit-Kefalas, and long-time behind-the-scenes supporter Claire Phelan who is recovering from an illness that had her sidelined for much of the year. Candidates Susan Shaw, Greta Stanford, James Maroney and Constable candidate Scott Barnett, all of whom ultimately won their contests, were shaking hands and thanking supporters and friends.
When Party Chairman Rich Smith got up on the podium and introduced “Mayor-elect Ben Blake” a storm of applause burst out. “The real work lies ahead,” Blake said in his victory speech. He credited his party supporters, singling out Suzanne Manning, and Rich Smith - saying of Smith "there is no better friend"- and his family: his wife, Sandy who “puts up with everything,” his parents, and the person Blake called his “biggest campaign asset,” son Carter. “It [running for office] is a humbling process,” Blake said. Referring to his Republican opponent, Bob Joy, Blake said he “ran an honorable race. He is an honorable man.”
Blake is scheduled to meet with outgoing Mayor James Richetelli on Wednesday morning to begin the transition. Asked for a final comment for the evening, Blake said, “Milford is the best place on earth.”
The Republicans gathered at the Stonebridge Restaurant in downtown Milford to await the results. Soon after, Joy conceded.
"I can’t think of anything that we would do differently. We kept the discourse civil and brought our case to the citizens of Milford," he told supporters. "This year they didn’t choose us so let’s keep our heads up high as party and as citizens of Milford and start again tomorrow."
He said that the party needs to "keep an eye on things" on city hall and prepare for the next election.
Milford Republican Town Committee Chairman Tom Jagodzinski said Joy was "the man who should have been the next mayor."
"I’ve never been prouder to be involved with a candidate than I was to be involved with Bob Joy," he said.
All Election Day coverage . Anthony Karge contributed to this report.