Campbell, Republicans rule Election Day

Republican David Campbell won the three-way race for Darien's first selectman with 69 percent of the votes Tuesday night.

Democratic candidate Callie Sullivan, who received 28 percent of the votes, will return to the Board of Selectmen for her second two-year term, along with her running mate David Bayne, who was re-elected for his second term.

Republicans Jerry Nielsen and Jayme Stevenson will be joining the BOS for their first terms. Out of the five members of the new BOS, Stevenson received the most votes with 4,162 ballots cast in her favor; Nielsen received the second-most with 4,052.

Petitioning candidate for first selectman Chris Noe received 1 percent of the vote; he will continue to serve on Darien's RTM until his term ends in 2010.

More than 43 percent of registered voters turned out for the municipal election; all told, 5,536 voters made their votes known. District IV had the largest turnout, with 1,022 voters -- 49.3 percent -- turning out to vote at Hindley Elementary School.

District IV is Campbell's home district. It's where he clicked his name early in the day and his 19-year-old daughter, Shannon, stood on the curb campaigning for him in the afternoon.

"I know a lot of people in the district, and they were obviously interested, so it worked well for us," David Campbell said. "It was by far the best turnout percentage-wise. I've lived there most of my life, so everybody knows who I am."

Campbell garnered 709 votes in that district, whereas Sullivan claimed 293 and Noe earned 12.

The election of three Republicans marks a shift in power as the BOS sees a Republican majority for the first time since Evonne Klein was elected first selectwoman in November 2003.

"We last had a majority elected on the Board of Selectmen in 2001, so this has been a long journey," said Republican Town Committee Chairman Harry Artinian, who lost his re-election to the RTM in District IV on Tuesday.

"There were a great many people who worked together to pull together and achieve the results of last night," Artinian said. "I'm very proud of the collaboration and the efforts of so many people in achieving not only the win but the margin of victory... I think the margin of the victory speaks to the quality of the candidates that the RTC put forward."

Dozens of Republicans gathered at Republican Headquarters on the Post Road after the numbers had been tallied for a victory party. Among the guests were Doug Campbell, David Campbell's father, who had made the trip from Florida to be with his son on Election Day, and Rep. Terrie Wood (R), who represents Darien and Norwalk.

"I think it was really about honesty and integrity and a sense of real character," Wood said. "And experience across a number of organizations -- not just political experience."

None of the Republican candidates have any previous political experience on their résumés, whereas Sullivan and Bayne have both served on the RTM and BOS and Noe is a current member of the RTM.

"I'm overwhelmed an incredibly humbled," Stevenson said after learning of her victory. "I'm so appreciative to everyone who has supported me, especially Jerry and David."

It had been a long day, Stevenson said. All six candidates for the first selectman and BOS spent most of Tuesday standing outside polling locations, greeting voters.

Noe created six handmade body doubles, which he said enabled him to be in all polling locations at once.

"I call them scarecrows. I'm trying to scare up votes," he said while standing in front of Town Hall at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

"I'm really excited and really happy," said Stevenson, who was standing feet from Noe, after coming from an earlier stint at Ox Ridge Elementary School. "I've loved the process, and today is the culmination."

Sullivan spent part of her afternoon standing outside Hindley, where her 14-year-old daughter, Lila, was selling Girl Scout cookies.

"I'm scared to death but I'm happy," Sullivan said as she greeted voters.

Campbell campaigned outside town hall as dusk settled in, before heading back to campaign headquarters. Moments later, Nielsen was at the Noroton Heights Train Station reminding commuters to vote, along with Board of Education candidate, Amy Bell.

"You spend three months talking and learning the issues. Now it's time to take action," Nielsen said earlier in the day while standing in front of Tokeneke Elementary School.

The long day took a toll on the candidates.

"I'm hoping I can have a day to put my feet up, clean my house, and then get to work," Stevenson said during the Republican victory party Tuesday night.

Her day of rest on Wednesday included the official swearing in for the three newly elected Republicans. The real work will begin on Monday, when the new board will conduct its first meeting and Campbell will begin his new full-time job.

Campbell, who is the president and CEO of Ring's End Inc., said he's ready to dive into his new role as the head of Darien's executive branch.

"I think the guys at Ring's End are ready for me to move on," he said. "It's time for a change, and it will be a great experience to work for the town."

Campbell said he looks forward to working with Sullivan and Bayne.

"We're no longer Republicans and Democrats, we're Darien selectmen," Bayne said. "We need to address the issues for this town and come to a consensus."

Sullivan did not return several calls for comment at press time.