Groton Independents Win Ballot Line, Local GOP Seeks Candidates, Democrats Embrace Incumbency

Credit: Robin Breeding


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GROTON — The Groton Independents slate will appear on the Nov. 7 municipal ballot after meeting state requirements as a nominating petition.

The new political committee announced in July that it would run a number of candidates, and on Sept. 8 seven were approved by the Office of the Secretary of the State to appear on the ballot, including five for Town Council and two for Representative Town Meeting.

The town council candidates represent a cross-section of political affiliations: Lauren Gauthier, unaffiliated; Genevieve Cerf, Democrat; Bill M. Furgueson, Independent; Bruce A. McDermott; and incumbent town councilor Scott Westervelt, Republican. 

The Groton Independents will appear under its own party designation on the Nov. 7 municipal ballot. (Courtesy of Groton Independents)

Gauthier and Cerf also filed nominating petitions and received state approval to run for Representative Town Meeting seats in districts 4 and 6 respectively. However, in an email to CT Examiner on Sept. 13, Gauthier said that Town Clerk Betsy Moukawshser retracted RTM certifications after discovering that the committee had not gathered the requisite number of signatures from the electors in each of the two districts. Gauthier acknowledged the mistake and said that if the error had been discovered before the deadline, the committee could have made the corrections in time. 

“Groton residents now have the opportunity to vote in the affirmative for positive change. We are endeavoring to give hope to the idea that people should be able to vote for something, instead of always having to vote to oppose. No more choosing between the lesser of evils,” the committee wrote in a release. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic Town Committee has endorsed incumbents Portia Bordelon, Rachael Franco, Juliette Parker, Bruce Jones and David McBride, as well as Dan Gaiewski, who is vice chair of the Democratic Town Committee and was appointed to the town council on Aug. 8 to replace member Melinda Cassiere after her resignation in July. Newcomers on the slate include Jill Rusk, Adam Puccino Sr., and Roscoe Merritt.

The Groton Republican Town Committee will run Diane Barber, Susan Deane-Shinbrot and Harry Watson for town council. 

Bruce McDermott who previously appeared on the Republican slate switched to the Groton Independents ticket.

Local Party Chair John Scott told CT Examiner that his party is continuing to seek candidates, and that Kathy Chase, Kristen Venditti, Mitchel Shinbrot and Robert Boris had resigned from the Republican slate.

“We’re hoping to have some new names. We’re actively seeking candidates right now,” he said. 

Scott said the party’s July press release accurately described each candidate as bringing “unique insights and ideas to the table, promising to prioritize transparency, fiscal responsibility, and initiatives that contribute to the overall prosperity of Groton.

Editor’s note: In an email on Sept. 13, Gauthier said that the two RTM nominations were retracted by Town Clerk Betsy Moukawshser due to a committee error in not collecting the correct number of signatures from the respective RTM districts. This story has been updated.

Editor’s note: Groton Independents candidate John S. Westervelt will be listed on the ballot as Scott Westervelt. Groton Independents candidate Bill M. Furgueson, who is on the ballot for town council, also petitioned for a ballot slot on the Board of Education but was not approved due to a clerical error.