Former West Haven mayor launches new political party to run for city’s first seat


WEST HAVEN – Former Mayor Ed O’Brien drops a letter next to his name – D for Democrat.

O’Brien, who was mayor from 2013 to 2017 before losing to current mayor Nancy Rossi in the 2017 Democratic primary and losing again to Rossi in 2019, announced earlier this year that he would apply again the Democratic nomination for the next elections. Now he said he would run as an independent instead. A campaign advisor said O’Brien will appear on the ballot under the Action & Accountability party.

“After months of talking to the townspeople and, more importantly, listening, it has become clear that the people of West Haven are tired of the political climate and prefer to vote for government officials on their abilities and their skills. accomplishments rather than their political affiliation, ”O’Brien said in a statement.

Campaign adviser Rick Fontana said O’Brien’s intention was to run with the Action & Accountability Party, for which he filed documents as a minor party. A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Denise Merrill confirmed that the office had received the “Request to reserve party designation for (the)” Party of Action and Accountability. The spokeswoman said the office, however, does not receive the necessary petitions for municipal candidates.

Fontana said the move was partly strategic and partly to send a message of unity to the townspeople.

“We learned in the three-way primaries at West Haven, it’s clearly a tough road,” Fontana said, something that would give a starter an advantage.

According to O’Brien, he will begin the process of collecting signatures to appear on the ballot next week.

According to instructions that Merrill’s office provides to candidates, “In order for a candidate to qualify for the ballot, a nomination petition must be signed by a number of qualified voters … equal to the lesser of (1) at least one percent of the votes cast for the same office in the last previous election for that office, or (2) seven thousand five hundred.

In West Haven, that would mean a minimum of 85 signatures, Fontana said.

“I think we need to change the way we do things in West Haven,” O’Brian said. “Maybe you step out of politics and lead people who want to get things done and prepare West Haven for the next 100 years and the next generation. Now everyone has a say, not just Democrats or Republicans. “

Fontana said winning a coalition of voters from several parties on election day “would make West Haven a better place.”

Rossi said everyone in town has the right to show up.

“When the time comes to determine whether he will take part in a debate, I will be ready for it,” she said.

Democratic mayoral candidate John Lewis said: “I wish him well, but now I’m focusing on the challenge facing my team, which is the primary on September 14.”

Lewis was O’Brien’s executive assistant during O’Brien’s tenure and the city clerk candidate on then-mayoral candidate Debbie Collins’ list in the last election.

The election will take place on November 2.

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