FAIRFIELD – Local residents will have to wait until a Tuesday recount to learn who won the town’s race for first selectman. Bill Gerber, a Democrat, is leading Republican incumbent Brenda Kupchick by 42 votes.
Unofficial results from the Nov. 7 election put Gerber in the lead with 50.12 percent of the votes – 8,966 in total – compared to Kupchick’s 49.88 percent – 8,924 in total.
On Wednesday, Gerber put out a statement declaring victory.
But under state law, any general election where the difference between the vote counts is 0.5 percent or less automatically triggers a recount. For the first selectman candidates, the difference was about 0.47 percent.
The Fairfield Registrar of Voters has announced that the recount will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities at 10 a.m..
On a Thursday phone call with CT Examiner, Gerber – a member of the Representative Town Meeting – said he is confident that the recount will, again, name him the next first selectman.
“Unless something strange happened, it’s not really likely to change,” he told CT Examiner. “We’re treating it like we won, and we said so publicly.”
Gerber said the recount will be a “sigh of relief” for him, as it can clear up any remaining “uncertainties.”
But in a Thursday statement to CT Examiner, Kupchick – who beat Democratic First Selectman Michael Tetreau with almost 58 percent of the votes in 2019 – said she will continue to refrain from commenting on the outcome of the election until the recount is complete.
She said she dealt with a similar situation in her 2010 run for the Connecticut House of Representatives, where she was ahead on election night by a small margin. She said every vote counts – especially in close elections.
“I believe in the sanctity and integrity of each and every vote,” Kupchick said. “I appreciate all our residents who made their way to the polls this week to fulfill their civic duty and look forward to an open and transparent recount so everyone can feel confident [in] the process.”
The original count in Fairfield was delayed until Wednesday afternoon.
Registrar Matthew Waggner attributed the delay to a high volume of same-day registration by college students and a “printing problem” with some absentee ballots, that left election officials hand-counting votes until the early hours of the morning.
Asked why the recount has been scheduled for next week rather than Thursday or Friday, Waggner told CT Examiner that the reasons were purely logistical. He said the election officials had to secure the space, recruit workers and move all of the election equipment for Tuesday.
The registrars also needed to provide notice of the recount to town political parties, candidates, and the state – which he is still working on.
“I haven’t called a single worker for Tuesday yet and we’re just now notifying the candidates of the event,” Waggner said.
According to an reporting in the Fairfield Patch, there will also be a recount of the RTM District 2 and constable races.