East Haven Mayor's Race

May 3, 2013

Earlier this week, we reported on the mayor’s race in New Haven, where there are many new voices vying for the top post. 

Today we report on another mayors’ race in East Haven, where supporters of a long-entrenched administration are facing off against residents calling for change.

Republican Joseph Maturo, Jr. has been Mayor of East Haven for 12 of the last 16 years. He’s the longest serving mayor in the town’s history. 

"I think a lot of people who like how things are and how they’ve been may support Mr. Maturo."

Julie Weisberg is local editor for the East Haven Patch.

"The Republicans are very proud. They just recently passed basically a flat budget, no tax increase which is important to a lot of residents. It's still a difficult financial time."

One day after Mayor Maturo announced his candidacy the New Haven Register published a scathing editorial declaring him unfit to lead the town. Maturo responded by calling the editorial ‘cowardly’ and ‘ignorant’. 

Weisberg says she’s hearing from many voters who are  looking for change.

"And I think a lot of that has to do with what the town’s been through over the last couple of years with the FBI investigation, police officers getting arrested, Maturo’s unfortunate – now infamous -  ‘taco’ comment, bringing a lot of negative publicity on the town."

Hours after four East Haven police officers were arrested and charged with civil rights abuses against Latinos in the town, a TV reporter asked Maturo what he was doing that day to support Latinos. He responded by saying he planned to eat tacos for dinner. 

Two Democrats have announced they’re running for mayor: High school teacher and longtime resident Jack Stacey, and Town Councilman and East Haven Police Sergeant Gary DePalma. 

There’s also a new East Haven Independent Party.

"And I've seen that really pick up from former Republicans as well as Democrats who are looking for new political leadership in East Haven."

With its changing demographics and growing population, Weisberg says this race will center on whether East Haven residents like where they are now, or  seem ready for a fresh start.