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Woodbury Municipal Election Matters More Than You Think

WOODBURY – It’s been a relatively-quiet Woodbury municipal election season, and there are a few possible reasons for that.

One reason is the number of uncontested positions. As you can see on the sample ballot, all but three positions are uncontested.

Another reason, according to First Selectman Bill Butterly, could be that Woodbury voters are not angry about how the town is being run. Butterly, who is running for a third term, told Just Woodbury that voters were not happy with how the town was being run in 2013. That made it a very loud political season.

But Butterly’s opponent for First Selectman, Kathleen M. Dowd, told Just Woodbury in August that she does not think voters are happy with his performance. In an August interview, Dowd said she doesn’t “feel that we’re thriving as a town business wise, home value wise, and awareness of the town are not strong enough in my mind.”

However, the Democratic Town Committee came out in support of Butterly last week.

“Given the current uncertainty of State funding, this is not the year to take chances on unproven management,” DTC chair Lesa Peters said in an email. “Woodbury has budgeted soundly, to remain fiscally solvent despite anticipated funding cuts from the state.”

Here’s  a look at the contested races of the Woodbury municipal election.

First Selectman Race

Dowd is running on the Republican ticket, and Butterly is running as an unaffiliated or “petitioning” candidate. It is important to note that there is no Democrat running for First Selectman.

In the past, the loser of the First Selectman race was guaranteed a spot as a Selectman if the loser had more votes for First Selectman than the second-leading vote-getter for Selectman got in the Selectman race.

That’s no longer the case, thanks to changes made to the Town Charter in 2015. Now, the winner becomes First Selectman, and the loser is out.

Selectman Race

Incumbents Michael J. Gransky and Barbara Perkinson, who are both Republicans, are hoping to keep their seats. They are facing a challenge from Democrat George W. Hale, a former selectman who is back on the ballot.

But Gransky and Perkinson are also facing a challenge from their own party. Per the Town Charter, all three members of the Board of Selectmen can be from the same party. So if Dowd wins the election, whoever gets fewer votes between Gransky and Perkinson is out, and Hale is in, even if Hale has fewer votes than Gransky and Perkinson.

But if Butterly wins, and Gransky and Perkinson have more votes than Hale, Gransky and Perkinson will retain their selectman seats.

Political Strategy

Despite the DTC’s support of Butterly, the Democrats are keeping a unified party front.

The Democrats are encouraging voters to vote Row A, as well as for Butterly, who is on Row C. By encouraging voters to vote only for Hale and neither Gransky or Perkinson, the Democrats hope Hale will have the most votes of the three candidates. That way, the Democrats will have a seat at the table regardless of who wins the First Selectmen race.

Gransky and Perkinson are running as a team, despite what would happen if Dowd wins the First Selectman race. Though Dowd is running on the Republican ticket, she has her own campaign team and has been raising funds separately from the Republican Town Committee.

The Other Contested Race

Republican incumbent Kenneth (David) Schultz is running against challenger Richard C. Snider (D) for a spot on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Snider is currently an alternate member of the Board of Assessment Appeals, and his current term runs until 2019. Should he lose, he will remain an alternate.

Schultz is also a member of the Planning Commission, and that term ends in 2019. Should he win his re-election bid for the Board of Assessments Appeal, he will serve on that board until 2021.

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