West Haven registrar: Collins qualifies for Democratic primary
WEST HAVEN — City Clerk Debbie Collins has qualified for the Sept. 10 Democratic primary for mayor, Democratic Registrar of Voters Sherri Lepper confirmed Monday.
Lepper said Collins needed 743 certified signatures to qualify and that Collins had submitted more than 1,000 herself, in addition to petitions others had gathered.
The deadline for submitting petitions is 4 p.m. Wednesday. Former Mayor Ed O’Brien also is trying to get on the primary ballot against Mayor Nancy Rossi, who is the party-endorsed candidate. Rossi defeated O’Brien, who had served two terms as mayor, in 2017.
“I’m thrilled. I didn’t doubt it for a minute,” Collins said Monday about having gathered enough signatures to force a primary. “It had to be the hottest week of the summer so far, but basically we were done by Monday night [July 29].”
Collins and Lepper said that all the members of Collins’ slate have qualified except Mario Bracero, who is running for the 7th District City Council seat. Collins said he needs about five more signatures to qualify.
O’Brien said Monday, “We have more than enough to qualify. What we’re doing is checking them and validating before we submit them.” He said he had gathered about 3,200 signatures .
Rossi said “I am not surprised” that Collins had qualified for the primary. “We’ve all been there,” she said. “It’s very labor-intensive but it can be done.”
She said “I equally believe that Ed will get the signatures, as well.”
Collins has served as city clerk for 28 years. The rest of her slate includes John Lewis, city clerk; Evan Mink, tax collector; William Kelaher, treasurer; Karen Pacelli, Patrick Leigh and Susan Walker, Board of Education; Joe Palmucci and Janet Rodriguez, Board of Assessment Appeals; Bill Wilson and Aaron Charney, City Council at large; James Burwell, 1st District; James McElwaine, 2nd District; Colleen Witherspoon, 3rd District; Jimmy Williams, 4th District; Carrie Malangone, 6th District; Chrystal Fanelli, 8th District; Robert Bruneau, 9th District; Louise Martone, 10th District.
Collins’ slate does not include a 5th District candidate. Martone was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to correct how many terms Ed O’Brien served as mayor and to correct the spelling of Patrick Leigh’s name.