NAUGATUCK — Democratic Mayor Robert Mezzo defeated Republican challenger James O’Sullivan at the polls Tuesday to earn his third consecutive term in office.
“It’s a real pleasure and honor of my life to be mayor of this great community,” said Mezzo, 42, surrounded by supporters and his family at the Democratic headquarters on Church Street.
According to unofficial numbers, Mezzo topped O’Sullivan 3,086-1,711 at the polls.
“I have no regrets. I walk away with my head held high,” said Sullivan, a 59-year-old attorney with an office on Church Street. “The people have made their decision and that’s the decision they’ll have to live with.”
Mezzo, who is also an attorney by trade, earned his first term in office in 2009 after winning a primary over Democrat Kevin Knowles and defeating incumbent Republican Mayor Mike Bronko, who was reelected as a burgess Tuesday, in the general election. Mezzo ran unopposed in 2011.
Mezzo previously said deciding to run for a third term was a difficult choice to make particularly with regards to family obligations. Mezzo and his wife, Naugatuck High School Associate Principal Eileen Mezzo, had their third child, Jack, in December 2011.
However, he said in a previous interview, he decided to run again because he wants to see a few major projects through or started, including the Naugatuck High School renovation project, a long-term plan for the configuration and the revitalization of downtown.
As applause rained down on him Tuesday night, Mezzo thanked all his supporters for their time and energy and gave a special thanks to his family and wife.
“She is an absolute saint,” Mezzo said about his wife. “I don’t know how we do it, but we do, and I love you.”
The makeup of the burgesses on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses remains the same as Republicans held their 5-4 majority, according to the unofficial results. Each of the seven incumbents on the board running for office was reelected. Political newcomer Alex Olbrys, a 21-year-old Republican, and Democrat Rocky Vitale, who was serving on the Board of Education, round out the board.
There will be a recount of the burgess votes because the difference between the votes received by Olbrys, who finished ninth, and Republican Ed Fennell, who finished 10th, was 22 votes, according to unofficial figures, and triggered the recount.
As of Wednesday morning the date for the recount was not scheduled.
Republican Tamath Rossi once again received the most votes among burgess candidates to earn the deputy mayor position for the sixth time in as many terms.
“I’m blown away tonight,” Rossi said. “I don’t have the words to describe it.”
Rossi said she doesn’t know why the voters continually put her in the deputy mayor position and she’s grateful for the community’s support. She added she will continue to work hard to earn their trust.
“As far as I’m concerned everything I’ve ever done, I’ve done for the people of the community,” Rossi said.
Republican Robert Neth received the second most votes with 2,507 to win the second deputy mayor seat.
Democrat Eleanor Destefano-Ruggles, a political newcomer, was the only candidate running for Board of Education to not be elected as there was one vacant spot on the ballot. Republicans maintained their 5-4 majority on the school board. Mezzo also is a voting member of the board.
Incumbents Dowling, a Republican, Tax Collector Jim Goggin, a Democrat, and Treasurer Judy Anderson were all reelected.
See election results here.