Rebimbas wins Republican spot in Naugatuck probate judge race

State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck, celebrates with her husband, Ever Linares, right, after she won the Republican primary for the 21st Probate District on Tuesday night in Naugatuck. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck, defeated incumbent Probate Judge Peter E. Mariano on Tuesday, August 9 in a relatively tight GOP primary for the 21st District. The district encompasses Naugatuck, Prospect, Beacon Falls and Middlebury.

Unofficial numbers showed Rebimbas won 1,579-1,153, according to Rebimbas’ campaign headquarters, while Mariano’s unofficial numbers gave Rebimbas the victory 1,555-1,148.

Democratic delegates from all four towns voted 12-5 to endorse Mariano as the Democratic candidate for probate judge, so Rebimbas will face off against Mariano a second time in the Nov. 8 election.

Probate courts oversee decedents’ estates and trusts, and handle a wide range of issues affecting children, the elderly, and people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.

Rebimbas, who isn’t running for re-election to the legislature, has been a practicing attorney for 19 years. She said she was thankful for residents who came out to vote Tuesday.

“I made the choice to run because I believe I am in the best interest of the 21st District and clearly, the people thought the same,” she said.

Mariano said he was disappointed with the results but optimistic for November.

”I got a couple calls and people said, ‘Well you didn’t win it the easy way, knocking her out now,” Mariano said. “I got 42% of the Republican vote. I would anticipate there’s no way my opponent is going to get 42% of the Democratic vote, so I would certainly feel that I am a favorite to win in November.”

Rebimbas has represented the 70th House District since winning a special election in 2009 to fill a vacancy created after then-state Rep. Kevin M. DelGobbo resigned to accept an appointment as state utility regulator. She said she is running because she believes people need a positive change for the probate district.

Rebimbas said her campaign will continue to run on the facts.

“Making sure that people know exactly what I stand for and what I’m going to do for them through the probate court, and I think this is a positive change and one that’s absolutely necessary,” she said.

Rebimbas said she is thankful for Mariano’s 20 years of service as probate judge.

“I think at this moment in time, the best interest of the people is to certainly have him reconsider and not move forward, and focus on … himself,” Rebimbas said.

Mariano, of Naugatuck, is nearing the end of his fifth four-year term and has run unopposed for 16 years. He was sentenced May 9 to one year in prison and served four days in jail for three drunken-driving charges and driving with a suspended license after he pleaded guilty to two counts of operating under the influence as a first offender and second-degree reckless endangerment on charges from last year.

Mariano previously said he had a problem with alcohol and has since conquered it, and is moving forward after attending High Watch Recovery Center in Kent and using the services of Project Courage Substance Abuse Recovery Center.