Three-way Republican primary set

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The will be a Republican primary for mayor Sept. 16 in Naugatuck between, from left, Seth Bronko, Alex Olbrys and Tamath Rossi.
There will be a Republican primary for mayor Sept. 16 in Naugatuck between, from left, Seth Bronko, Alex Olbrys and Tamath Rossi.

NAUGATUCK — Borough Republicans will have the chance to select their mayoral candidate.

On Monday, Republican Registrar of Voters Matthew Katra verified Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, 49, and Burgess Alex Olbrys, 23, had the requisite 161 signatures to force the primary. The primary will be Sept. 16.

For the past few months the race to be the Republican mayoral candidate in the November election has been a three-way contest between Rossi, Olbrys, and political newcomer Seth Bronko. The Republican Town Committee endorsed Bronko, a 26-year-old co-owner and executive business manager of Bronko Construction in Naugatuck, as its mayoral candidate at a caucus in July. Rossi and Olbrys both said they planned to force a primary following the caucus.

Rossi submitted petitions last week to force the primary for mayor. She said not receiving the endorsement at the caucus hasn’t dissuaded her from her goal.

“I’m running for mayor. I haven’t changed from the time I threw my hat in the ring,” Rossi said.

Olbrys submitted petitions on Monday, saying he wants to bring change and new ideas to the borough.

“I decided to petition for the primary because a lot of people believe in what I am doing and want to see change in Naugatuck. Young millennial mayors across the United States and here at home in Connecticut are making great changes for their communities. People are tired of politics as usual and I am offering them a change this fall,” Olbrys said.

Bronko said he wants to earn the voters’ trust in the primary and the general election.

“The ultimate goal for this election is to win the mayor’s seat. Primaries are designed to allow the voters to pick who they think is the best candidate for the party to win the general election and I’m willing to work to earn that trust as the endorsed Republican candidate. My hope is that we can truly unite as a party and work as a team to get whoever wins the primary elected in November,” Bronko said.

Rossi proposed a debate between the three candidates prior to the Republican Town Committee’s caucus. The idea was panned by Bronko, Olbrys and the committee as being premature. Now that a primary is set, Rossi is still interested in holding a debate amongst the Republican mayoral candidates.

“I think it is critical that we are bringing the conversation to the table so that the voters get an opportunity to see what each one of us stands for and what our platforms are, as well as our experience and our track records,” Rossi said.

Olbrys said he now welcomes the chance to debate.

“The best voter is an informed voter,” Olbrys said.

Bronko said he would be interested in a debate, as well.

“I’m ready and willing to debate anyone in this primary and the general election,” Bronko said.

The winner of the Republican primary will run against Democrat N. Warren “Pete” Hess, a 66-year-old Naugatuck attorney, for the mayor’s seat in November.