Slate Opposing Critical Race Theory Sweeps Guilford Primary in Heavy Turnout


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GUILFORD — Candidates running in opposition to Critical Race Theory once again swept the Republican slate in a primary on Tuesday night. As of 7:30 p.m. — thirty minutes before polls closed — 47 percent of 3,511 registered Republicans had come out to vote.

Republican Registrar of Voters Gloria Nemczuk called the turnout “incredible.”

Four years ago, she said, the turnout for the primary for first selectman was 29 percent.

Danielle Scarpellino, Tim Chamberlain, Nick Cusano, Bill Maisano and Aly Passarelli – who formed a campaign called “5 Reasons Why”. – received between 1,275 and 1,265 votes each. 

Their opponents running as  “Republicans for Education,” received between 432 and 468 votes each. 

They included Bill Mulligan, who has managed the budget for the Guilford High School building committee for seven years, and Jim O’Keefe, a former member of the Board of Finance, as well as three incumbents on the Board of Education — Ted Sands, Amy Sullivan and Joseph Golino. 

Nick Cusano, said he felt “great” after hearing the results of the election. He said they had won by a larger margin in this primary than they had in the caucus in July. 

“[I] feel a big sense of validation today,” he said. “There should be no question that we are the five candidates.”

Tim Chamberlain, another of the candidates, said they were grateful to the voters and the people who volunteered to help them.

 “We are grateful to our voters that came out,” he said. “We are thrilled by the level of support we have in town.”

Candidate Aly Passarelli said this had been a great learning experience for her, and that she was excited to see what comes next. She said she wanted Guilford education to be “the best it possibly can.” 

“I think this was a great win. The numbers show what the people want,” she said. “I think we’re on the right track for our kids. That’s why I’m here.” 

The winning slate of candidates were originally endorsed by the organization Truth in Education, a local group focused on opposition to Critical Race Theory.

After they swept out incumbent Republican Board members during the Republican Caucus in July, their contenders gathered a petition of over 200 signatures calling for a primary.

“After hearing outrage from many in the community about the single-issue activist group chosen in the GOP Caucus, it was agreed that a primary was both necessary and in the best interest of Guilford to challenge the Caucus result,” Republicans for Education said in a press release on their website.

The 5 Reasons Why Candidates won in each district. District 4 had the biggest gap, with 5 Reasons Why candidates receiving around 350 votes each, and the Republicans for Education receiving between 59 and 68 votes each. The smallest gap was in District 1, with the winning slate receiving between 184 and 188 votes each and the losing slate receiving between 96 and 103 votes each.

Emilia Otte

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.