Rossi wins primary

Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi campaigns outside of Oak Terrace in Naugatuck Wednesday during a Republican mayoral primary. Rossi defeated Seth Bronko and Alex Olbrys in the primary. –LUKE MARSHALL
Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi campaigns outside of Oak Terrace in Naugatuck Wednesday during a Republican mayoral primary. Rossi defeated Seth Bronko and Alex Olbrys in the primary. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi came out on top of a three-way primary Wednesday for the right to lead the Republican ticket into the November election as the party’s mayoral candidate.

Rossi, 49, garnered 51.7 percent of the vote en route to defeating the Republican Town Committee’s endorsed candidate Seth Bronko and first-term burgess Alex Olbrys.

“Naugatuck is ready for real community, and that is what this campaign represents,” said Rossi as she delivered an emotional victory speech to family members and supporters. “I look forward in the coming weeks to reaching out to all of the Republican candidates and continuing our momentum to Nov. 3 (Election Day).”

Rossi got 489 votes, while Bronko and Olbrys received 243 and 214 votes, respectively, according to the unofficial tally. A little more than 28 percent of registered Republicans turned out to vote.

Rossi will face Democrat N. Warren “Pete” Hess, a Naugatuck attorney, in the race for the mayor’s seat in November. Democrat Mayor Robert Mezzo is not seeking reelection.

Bronko, 26, received the Republican Town Committee’s endorsement to run for mayor in July. Olbrys, 23, and Rossi submitted petitions to force the primary.

Following the caucus in July, Rossi vowed to campaign as hard as ever in the primary. She maintained that promise.

Rossi said she knocked on 1,565 doors in 25 days and her and her team made more than 700 phone calls in the past week.

“Everybody knows what a Rossi campaign entails,” she said. “It’s nonstop, high energy, positive.”

She said she plans to put the same dogged effort into the general election against Hess.

“Tomorrow, it’s the senior fair and representing the (Naugatuck) TRIAD, and all right folks get the sneakers back on because Thursday, we’re going to hit the ground running,” she told supporters Wednesday night.

Republican Town Committee Chair Kim Kiernan said the committee will throw its full support behind Rossi as Republicans seek to reclaim the mayor’s seat for the first time in six years.

“All along we said that we would fall in line and unite behind the person who wins the primary,” Kiernan said.

Bronko, who was running for a major political seat for the first time, congratulated Rossi and Olbrys on a great race. He said his team worked hard since he announced his intentions to run in April to get their message to the voters.

“I’m proud of everything my team accomplished and I’m happy to see how much hard work and effort went into it,” Bronko said.

When asked whether voters would see his name on a ballot at some point in the future, Bronko responded, “I’ll be back.”

Olbrys said his campaign, at its core, was about bringing issues to the forefront, and he’s proud of what his team accomplished.

“I’m proud of what we did; we raised issues to light,” he said. “We had a lot of people believing in us. I’m proud of it. I hope the other candidates who won, Mrs. Rossi and Mr. Hess, keep talking about the issues we brought to light. At the end of the day, it was really all about bringing issues up and making Naugatuck a better place.”

Although he won’t be holding an elected office this year, Olbrys has not ruled out a return to the political arena.

“We’ll see where the road takes me,” Olbrys said. “I think Naugatuck is moving in the right direction and we’ll see in two years what happens.”

Rossi and Hess said they hope Olbrys and Bronko will remain in politics.

For the time being, Hess and Rossi will remain focused on their own campaigns.

“I’m looking forward to a series of spirited debates with Mrs. Rossi,” Hess said.

Luke Marshall and Paul Singley of the Republican-American contributed to this article.