GOP caucus: Iacono, Bellitto denied nod for re-election
Incumbents on the Boards of Education and Finance were knocked off the November ballot by Republicans casting ballots in Tuesday's caucus.
Pamela Iacono, who has served on the school board for the last five years and was, for about two years, the board's chairwoman, was unable to secure the nomination for one of the two seats the party will contest this fall. She will, however, be running for a seat on the Representative Town Meeting.
RTM member David Becker, who two years ago ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nod for first selectman, bounced finance board Vice Chairman Robert Bellitto Jr. in his bid for re-election. Bellitto, had bested Becker two years ago in the contest to be the GOP first selectman candidate, but went on to lose to Democrat Michael Tetreau.
Newcomers Eileen Liu-McCormack and John Llewellyn, who along with his wife Dawn has been involved in the months-long controversy over "pilot" use of a textbook in Algebra 1 classes, will be the Republican candidates for the Board of Education. Liu-McCormack received 353 votes from caucus voters, while Llewellyn received 346. Iacono tallied 265 votes, and the fourth candidate, Dorene Herron, got 247 votes.
Llewellyn said he decided to enter the race because he wants to "improve the school district and make it a little more fiscally responsible."
"I wish them well," Iacono said. "I look forward to serving RTM District 9."
RTC Chairman James Millington said 589 registered Republicans out of 10,735 eligible, or 5.48 percent, cast ballots during the caucus, about the same as were cast in 2011 when there was a first selectman race. The polls were open to all local Republicans from 4 to 8 p.m. at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
There were also four candidates for two Board of Finance spots for which the GOP will field candidates in the fall.
Becker, a former RTM majority leader, received 320 votes, and will run with incumbent Mary LeClerc, who received 335 votes. Bellitto, whose motion to cut $350,000 in town funding for the Pequot Library, as well as support for all non-profits, in the 2013-14 budget generated an uproar in town, particularly in Becker's Southport district, got 289 votes. Newcomer Brendan Miles received 136 votes.
"I'm excited and I am happy to bring my perspective from four years on the RTM onto to a new board," Becker said. Bellitto was not at Ludlowe when the polls closed.
The GOP had a third contested race in RTM District 1, with six candidates seeking the nomination for five available seats. Securing the nomination were incumbents Eric Sundman, 87 votes; Michael Herley, 110; Gaylord Meyer, 74, and Joseph "Jay" Lipp, 77, was well as John Donovan, who received 94 votes. Losing out was Frank Greco with 57 votes.
Republican officials had initially fielded candidates for an eight-district, 40-member RTM, but an injunction issued Friday by Superior Court Judge Mary E. Sommer prevents the town from implementing the new local voting district plan adopted in May. The judge ruled the that vote on the new redistricting plan -- backed on a party-line vote by the RTM's GOP majority -- was illegal. That means the previous 50-member, 10-district map of local voting districts will again be used in November.
Since then, the GOP was able to find 45 RTM candidates for the November the ballot, while the Democrats have fielded 46 RTM candidates. It is not unusual for either political party to fall short of finding a full complement of 50 candidates from all 10 districts.