Republican and Democrat leaders have friendly chat as Newington residents vote on Election Day

Published on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 17:42
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

NEWINGTON – Standing side by side making small talk in front of John Paterson Elementary School Tuesday evening were two republicans and one democrat.

Republican Town Committee members Peter Arburr and Bill Bechter were happy to chat with Democrat Town Council incumbent Jim Marocchini. It didn’t matter that Arburr stood behind a giant cut-out of Mayor Roy Zartarian and Marocchini held a sign promoting his own party’s slate of candidates.

“He’s kept us going all afternoon,” Arburr said of Marocchini, who was quick with a joke despite admitting he’d been out in the cold, ‘making the rounds’ since 6 a.m. this morning.

“We’re just chatting,” Arburr added. “We’ve got to kill time anyway.”

As people walked past on their way to vote inside the school, they waved and smiled at the group.

Not far away was a similar scene in front of John Wallace Middle School. Both locations were collecting donations of non-perishables for the Newington Food Bank.

Board of Education hopeful Jeremy Whetzel, a republican, was posted right beside former State Rep. Sandy Nafis, holding a sign promoting her fellow democrats. There are several newcomers on the slate, including Nicholas Arace, a 26-year-old vying for a seat on the Town Council.

“It’s so nice to see new energy; I hope they win,” Nafis said of the younger candidates running this year.

She and Whetzel shared a friendly greeting, just as a voter walked up to say hello.

“Whatever happens, it’s great we have the opportunity to vote in a free democracy,” Whetzel pointed out. “Plus with the food bank collection, everybody wins regardless.”

The polls will remain open until 8 p.m.

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 17:42. Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2017 17:45.