July 2, 2022

Republicans Nominate Former Essex Selectman Vince Pacileo for 36th House Seat

AREAWIDE— Republicans Wednesday nominated former Essex Selectman Vince Pacileo for state representative after a brief convention contest with another Essex Republican, Gerry MacMillian.

Pacileo, who served as the minority Republican on the Essex Board of Selectmen from 2003 to 2009, was endorsed over MacMillian on a 7-4 delegate vote in the convention held at Essex Town Hall. The district includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

Pacileo was nominated by Margot Gamerdinger of Deep River, who cited his experience in town government and in running a legislative campaign. Pacileo was the unsuccessful Republican challenger to Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily in the 12-town 33rd District in 2008, losing to the long-time incumbent on a vote of 30,320-17,624.

MacMillian, wife of Bruce MacMillian, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Essex first selectman last year, was nominated by Martha Dean, the Avon resident who was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for attorney general in 2006 and 2010. Allowing Dean, who was not a delegate or resident of the district, to make a nominating speech required a rules change that was approved by the 11 delegates. Dean said MacMillian “understands freedom,” and is ready to challenge a “one party legislature” controlled by Democrats.

In the roll call, MacMillian was supported by three of the four delegates from Essex, and one delegate from Haddam. Pacileo had the delegates from Chester, Deep River, two of three from Haddam, and Essex delegate Jim Hill, a former chairman of the Essex Republican Town Committee.

Pacileo, in remarks to the convention, said his campaign themes would be reform and renewal. “It is about time we returned to citizen representation and away from the career politicians that dominate Hartford,” he said.

A former human resources manager at Pfizer in Groton, Pacileo has worked for the past 18 months as the director of administrative services in Stonington, handling human resources, labor relations and grants administration among other duties. Pacileo said his boss, Stonington Democratic First Selectman Edward Haberek, has given him the go-ahead to run for the legislative seat.

MacMillian said after the vote she supports Pacileo, and would not contest the nomination in a primary. “I am ready to be a foot soldier for Vin’s campaign,” she said.

The 36th District seat is currently held by Democrat Phil Miller, a former first selectman of Essex who led the board while Pacileo served as the minority party selectman. Miller won the seat in a February 2011 special election, defeating Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, the former television anchorwoman and unsuccessful 2010 congressional candidate. The seat had been held for a decade by Democrat James Spallone, who resigned after winning re-election in 2010 to take the job of deputy secretary of the state.

Miller had been expected to seek a full term as state representative in the Nov. 6 election, but has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 33rd State Senate District seat that was opened up earlier this week when ten-term incumbent Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook announced she would not seek re-election this year. Democrats are scheduled to nominate a candidate for state senate in a convention Monday at Essex Town Hall. The Democrats nominating session for the 36th House District is Tuesday May 22 at the Whistlestop restaurant in Deep River.