Democrats grab seats: Rohrig holds onto City Clerk post

Milford Democrats grabbed some seats from Republicans in Tuesday’s election and came close to unseating a popular Republican city clerk.

Incumbent City Clerk Joanne Rohrig narrowly defeated her challenger, Kim Rose, garnering 5,179 votes to Rose’s 4,930 votes, for a margin of 249 votes.

Republican Alderman Ray Vitali said it was backlash over President Donald Trump and the lack of a Republican mayoral candidate in Milford that led to low GOP turnout at the polls Tuesday, which he said led to the close race for city clerk and the loss of several seats on boards and commissions.

“The Republicans didn’t come out,” Vitali said.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith disagreed. He said the Democrats simply ran a better slate. “It’s about hard work and quality candidates,” Smith said.

Mayor Ben Blake, a Democrat, ran unopposed for his fourth term, and therefore returns for another two years.

“We’re going to build on the record of excellence over the next two years,” Blake said, “continue to build our public infrastructure, our roads, our recreation facilities. We’ve done a lot, repaved tennis courts and basketball courts over the last couple of years, but we have a lot of infrastructure projects to do. We have a lot of projects that include our shoreline and making sure our coast is more resilient than before.”

He said the Democrats picked up a seat on the Board of Aldermen, going from an 8-7 split to a 9-6 split, and several seats on the Board of Education, going from a 5-5 split to a 9-1 split with Democrats in the majority.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Matt Gaynor spoke to Republicans at headquarters after the votes came in.

“The numbers were not quite what we wanted,” he said. “I don’t know what else we could have done with the cards we were dealt. We have to pick ourselves up and keep going.”