Election 2019: Stevenson wins fifth term, uncontested board races welcome new faces

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UPDATED — Five was the lucky number Tuesday night for First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, who has just been reelected to a fifth term in Darien’s 2019 election.

“I’m deeply grateful to the voters in Darien for putting their trust and faith in me to serve a fifth term as their first selectman,” Stevenson said upon hearing the news. “We’re so fortunate to have an incredible group of volunteers stepping forward who’ve won their elections this evening and I know that as a team we will do great things together.”

“We certainly have some important matters to work out in regards to projects like Pear Tree beach and other things happening in town, and I feel very confident that if we all work together with a positive spirit we’ll end up with a great outcome for the town of Darien,” she said.

“Finally, I’d like to say I want to extend my great thanks to my teammates Susan Marks, Pam Sparkman and Marc Thorne who are leaving the board. Their contributions have been extraordinary and I welcome my new teammates, Christa McNamara, Sarah Neumann and David Martin, and I look forward to all the good things that we’re gong to do together,” she said.

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First Selectmen

Jayme Stevenson (R)

Christian Noe (P*)

*Petitioning Candidate

Stevenson ran against Chris Noe, a petitioning candidate.

Noe said he would like to congratulate Stevenson.

“Had she lost and I won, I had a wonderful plan to get her to Hartford because I know that’s where she wants to go,” he said.

He added that he would like to thank the people that voted for him.

In a prior interview, Stevenson said some challenges she plans on tackling include the pending developments in Noroton Heights and downtown Darien’s Corbin Drive project.

In addition, she said she’ll be addressing pending legislation and “changes we’re seeing to possible government structure.”

“Efforts to regionalize services and districts and make school districts financially independent from the town — these are all weighty issues. They require a thorough analysis of both intended and unintended impacts, and how we can keep Darien the premier community that its taken generations to become, in spite of pressures from the state of Connecticut,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson first earned a seat on the Board of Selectmen in 2009 along with fellow Republicans David Campbell as first selectman and Jerry Nielsen as selectman. She first ran successfully for first selectman in 2011. In 2017, Stevenson was challenged by Democratic fellow Selectman Rob Richards. Stevenson beat Richards by a margin of 2470 votes to 944 — her opponent was the lowest vote getter in the election and as a result, lost his seat on the board to fellow Democrats Pamela Sparkman, a newcomer, and incumbent Marc Thorne.

She served as chairman of the local Council of Governments and became chairman in April of the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency.

Stevenson has five children and one grandchild.

She said part of her continued goal is to work with her Board of Selectmen colleagues and fellow elected officials in a “very non-partisan way.”

“Given all of the partisan politics on the state and national level, I think people appreciate it. That’s what tax payers want of local officials — to drop the partisanship and get the job done for them,” she said.

Noe, a registered Democrat who has run for six consecutive times for First Selectman, ran with no affiliated party. He has previously run as an “ultra-conservative.”

Last month, Noe was issued a formal citation by Darien’s Blight Committee with his Old King’s Highway Property.

In a prior story, Noe described the denial of his ability to replace a porch, which he said resulted in his girlfriend at the time injuring her ankle. In anger, he said he tore the porch down himself and was issued a stop work order. After several years of being unable to get permits, according to Noe, he said he gave up. Later, he said a fire caused more damage — some of which he was unable to fix.

Other than First Selectman, no top Darien board offices faced contested elections.

Turnout, other results

Voter turnout maintained a steady neck and neck with the 2017 election. As of 8 p.m., 3,809 Darien registered voters, or 27.4%, compared with 3,460 or 26.3% in 2017.

For the first time in decades, Darien elected a new Town Clerk, Caryn L. Diller, after Donna Rajczewski opted not to run. Other newcomers included Republican Taylor Carter and Democrat Dan Bumgardner for Board of Finance.

Former Planning & Zoning Chairman John Sini, a Republican, was elected as a new member of the Board of Ed, and that board’s chairman, Democrat Tara Ochman, retained her seat in that uncontested race.

Out of the three uncontested candidates who were elected to Planning & Zoning Commission, Republican Cara Gately and Democrat George Reilly have already been serving having replaced resigning members John Sini and and Kevin Cunningham, respectively. Republican Larry Warble is a newcomer.

Visit DarienTimes.com for a searchable database of all election results.

Additional reporting by Susan Shultz.