January 25, 2022

Democrat Duane Gates Wins Region 4 School Board Seat in Only Contested Local Race

DEEP RIVER— Incumbent Democrat Duane Gates won a second term on the Region 4 Board of Education Tuesday in the only contested race on the town election ballot. Gates defeated Republican Lauri Wichtowski on a 480-365 vote.

Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith received 746 votes as he ran unopposed for a record 12th term in the town’s top job. Smith, who also ran unopposed in 2009, faced his last election challenge in 2007, defeating John Kennedy running on the Deep River Independent Party line. Town Republicans have not run a candidate for first selectman since 2005.

There was no contest for the other two seats on the board of selectmen, but the make-up of the board will change when the new terms begin on Nov. 22. Democrat Arthur Thompson, the former tax collector who replaced long-time Selectman Richard Daniels as Smith’s running-mate in 2009, did not seek a new term.

Angus McDonald Jr. won the Democratic nomination for selectman at the July nominating caucus, defeating former Selectman Russell Marth, who had served a single term on the board after running with Kennedy in 2007. Marth later became a member of the Deep River Democratic Town Committee. McDonald received 488 votes Tuesday. Republican Selectman David Oliveria was elected to a second term with 359 votes.

Two incumbents elected to town jobs in 2009, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, won second terms after running unopposed. Republican Town Clerk Amy Winchell, who won the then open position by a two-vote margin in 2009, received 689 votes. Democratic Tax Collector Lisa Bibbiani was elected to a second term with 725 votes.

Democrats did not nominate candidates for board of finance because the party already holds four seats on the board. Incumbent Republican John Bauer, the board’s chairman, was re-elected with 639 votes. New Republican candidate William Ballsieper was elected with 611 votes.