Democrat Roberto Alves announces rematch run against Danbury Mayor Esposito

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DANBURY — Democrat Roberto Alves wants a rematch against GOP Mayor Dean Esposito.

“We gave this administration a year to change and make progress, but instead we got a series of mishaps, unfulfilled promises, and no transparency,” Alves said in statement on Tuesday when he announced his second campaign for mayor. “We deserve leadership that is accountable, transparent, and truly committed to making a positive impact on our lives.”

Alves, who came up 290 votes short to Esposito out of 14,000 ballots cast the 2021 mayoral election, said he would bring the city up to its potential as mayor.

“It’s time Danbury becomes a shining example of what a community that has been left behind for so long can do when we focus on creating opportunities for every resident and young person in our city,” Alves said.

A top Republican refuted Alves’ criticism of the Esposito administration and said the city was in good hands under GOP leadership.

“We’ve had a gameplan for the last 20 years and our gameplan works — it’s called the Danbury difference and it’s about keeping Danbury affordable and keeping Danbury accessible for everyone who lives here and works here and who is educated here,” said Michael Safranek, chair of the city’s Republican Party. “We are 100 percent committed to this mayor who has done an amazing job with what he’s been handed including the career academy which will be a shining example not just for Danbury but for the whole state.”

Safranek, who is referring to City Hall’s $164 million plan to retrofit a hilltop office park on the west side into a career academy for 1,400 upper school students, said Esposito’s reelection campaign has been working since the summer and has raised $85,000 from 150 donors.

Esposito on Tuesday said he would not respond to Alves’ criticism of his administration.

“We are going to stay focused on the job at hand and stay focused on these projects that we’ve been developing since the beginning,” said Esposito, who has yet to officially announce whether he's running. 

Alves, a former City Council member and chairman of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, represented the Democrats' best chance to take City Hall since Democrat Gene Eriquez’s six terms as mayor from 1989 through 2001.

When popular 10-term GOP mayor Mark Boughton left office at the end of 2020 to become the state’s tax czar, Alves mounted one of the Democrats’ strongest campaigns to take office in 2021. But Esposito’s campaign was also strong and ultimately victorious.

“Roberto can talk all he wants but the bottom line is he was a councilman for two years and the chairman of the Democratic Party for less than a year and that is not a lot of experience to turn the keys over to someone,” Safranek said. “Mayor Esposito is a proven entity as chief of staff for Mayor Boughton, where he learned all of these promising ideas of low crime, low taxes and prosperity.”

Alves disagreed.

“We deserve better,” Alves said in his statement.

Reach Rob Ryser at of 203-731-3342

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect margin of victory for Esposito. Alves came up 290 votes short to Esposito, according to the secretary of the state's website.