After losing her bid for first selectman of Darien, Tara Ochman, the Democratic nominee, has chosen to forgo her spots on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education.
“I ran for First Selectman with a great team of candidates running for the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Education, and I just thought that stepping aside would be the best way to honor the people most enthusiastic about those positions,” Ochman said.
While she does not yet know what is next, Ochman said she is not done giving back to Darien, and plans to take some time to reflect and think about where she can best add value to the town.
“I think we ran a great campaign, and Darien made a different choice about who they wanted to lead,” Ochman said. “I just wish everyone elected luck, and look forward to joining the conversation about moving Darien forward again after some time.”
Ochman had served five years on the Board of Education and retained her seat there, while also earning a spot on the Board of Selectmen as a result of Tuesday’s election.
“I have no idea why she made the decision,” said Kip Koons, a Republican selectman in Darien who chose not to run for another term. “I just think it’s a marvel that she’d put all the energy and raise all the funds to become a selectman and then decide not to serve.”
According to unofficial vote totals, First Selectwoman-Elect Monica McNally, the Republican nominee, won with 61 percent of the vote to Ochman’s 39 percent.
Ochman announced the decision in a post on her Facebook and Instagram pages on Friday morning, writing that she would not step away from the boards if she did not believe that there were “incredibly talented and capable candidates ready to fill these spots.”
According to David Bayne, chair of the Darien Democratic Town Committee, the open spot on the Board of Education will be filled by Stacy Tie, and the Board of Selectman spot will go to Mike Burke.
“Tara ran a great campaign, and we were disappointed she came up short,” Bayne said. “Stepping away is a personal decision on her part and we wish her well.”
Republicans swept the races for open seats on the Board of Education and Board of Selectmen. The two open Board of Education seats were filled by Republicans David Brown and Tara Wurm, who defeated Democrats Julie Best and Stacy Tie, and the newly-elected Republican selectmen are Marcy Minnick and Jon Zagrodzky.