NAUGATUCK — First-time candidate Smokey Regan dropped out of the race for burgess Thursday, a day after the Republican-American reported she owned the borough more than $5,900 in car taxes.
Town Clerk Michelle Dowling confirmed that Regan, a Republican, submitted a letter Thursday canceling her candidacy.
Regan told Naugatuck Patch “mudslinging” has marred her candidacy, so much so that she doesn’t believe she will be able to affectively get out her message.
“I’ve decided to get my house in order, spend the next two years watching them like a hawk and then run in the next election,” she told Patch.
Regan, 51, of 57 Mistywood Lane, told the Republican-American on Tuesday that she should be elected because her situation is indicative of runaway spending in the borough. Her decision to drop out came as a surprise to Dorothy Hoff, chairwoman of the Republican Town Committee.
“She seemed so passionate, but there was a lot of criticism,” Hoff said.
Hoff said several borough Republicans expressed their concern about Regan’s tax situation before last week’s candidate endorsement meeting, where a handful voted not to endorse Regan. Hoff heard more negative reactions after the article ran, but said Regan decided on her own to drop out.
The town committee’s vacancy committee will now reach out to a person who might be interested in running in Regan’s stead, Hoff said.
“I would like to start campaigning, so I would like this all settled,” Hoff said.
According to the tax collector’s office, in response to an inquiry from the Republican-American, no other candidate for any municipal office owes real estate or motor vehicle taxes to the borough.
Regan’s bill was the culmination of unpaid taxes from 2004 to 2009 for seven different cars. Regan said some of those cars were driven by her sons, and others were sold or junked.
Tax records showed Regan wrote a bad check for more than $1,300 in 2006 to re-register at least one of the cars. Regan said Tuesday she did not know when she wrote the check that she had insufficient funds, and she did not remember noticing the check bounced.
Regan also denied the tax collector’s office’s claim that two different collection agencies had contacted her about her taxes. She said she no longer has a car, and borrows cars from her husband or sons to get around.
She lost her job as a district administrative manager for CORT Furniture Rental when the company downsized and works now as a massage therapist, but said the economic downturn has hurt business.