NEW BRITAIN - Erin Stewart secured her third term Tuesday night, beating Democratic challenger Merrill Gay by just over 1,000 votes.
“Can’t stop, won’t stop!” Stewart exclaimed before giving her victory speech at the Back Nine Tavern at Stanley Golf Course. “This is a night that calls for a lot of celebration.”
5,049 residents voted for Stewart, compared to 3,931 for Gay and 35 for petitioning candidate Al Mayo.
“We stand here tonight united, we stand here tonight victorious, we stand here tonight ready to continue to fight; ready to continue that fight for another two years,” Stewart said while thanking her staff and team.
Stewart will have her hands full with a Common Council that won’t look the way it did last week. The Democratic slate grabbed a 9-6 majority Tuesday on a council that had been 12-3 in favor of the Republican slate.
“We will continue all the work we have done in a bipartisan manner. That’s what that takes,” Stewart said, acknowledging the need for bipartisanship.
Stewart, the city’s 40th mayor, became the youngest female mayor in the country when she defeated Democratic incumbent Tim O’Brien in 2013. The Republican was re-elected in 2015, beating Democrat John McNamara and Mayo.
“We’ll continue to lead the way for the city of New Britain. We’re going to continue to do exactly what we’ve said we were doing from day one in 2013 when I stood on this stage,” Stewart said. “We won and we said we were going to make change, and we made change. And the city of New Britain recognizes it.”
Gay arrived at the Pulaski Club after it was confirmed that he had lost the mayoral race.
“Tonight didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, but we took back the council,” Gay said.
In 2015, a little more than 8,500 people voted in the mayoral election, so this year’s turnout was about 500 votes greater.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at email@example.com.