Republican candidate John Rodolico received his party’s endorsement for mayor of Ledyard Tuesday at a packed GOP caucus in Gales Ferry, but Republican Mayor Fred B. Allyn Jr. is still planning to be on the ballot come November.
More than 200 party members attended the caucus, held in the Ledyard Middle School auditorium in anticipation of a showdown between endorsed candidate Rodolico and Allyn, the incumbent who was snubbed by the RTC nominating committee earlier this summer.
The showdown never materialized. After Rodolico was nominated and caucus chairman Stan Juber asked for additional nominations from the floor, there was only silence.
When the caucus adjourned, Allyn passed around a prepared statement announcing his intention to run as a petitioning candidate.
“I believe very strongly that the residents of Ledyard deserve to have a choice of candidates,” his statement began. “Therefore… I am submitting the requisite Nominating Petition which, when certified, will secure my position on the November ballot.”
Allyn said he made the decision about 10 days earlier to run as a petitioning candidate. He said he has already collected the necessary signatures – 1 percent of the town’s registered voters – that would allow his name to appear on the ballot.
Asked if he plans to mount a full-scale campaign for re-election, the mayor said yes. “I plan to win,” he said.
Until the moment of Allyn’s surprise announcement, the night belonged to Rodolico.
“I am honored to be here this evening representing all five Republican members of the Ledyard Town Council in support of John Rodolico as your Republican candidate for mayor,” said Town Councilor Linda Davis, who nominated Rodolico.
“We are recommending a change in leadership because we know Ledyard deserves better,” she said.
Davis said Ledyard deserves a mayor with a good working relationship with the Town Council. “A mayor willing to take advantage of (the council’s) talents and regularly attend council meetings would go a long way in building relationships.
“Ledyard deserves a mayor who is well-organized, who represents the community professionally, and whose only agenda is what is best for the town of Ledyard,” she added.
The nomination was seconded by former mayor Susan Mendenhall and Council Chairman Terry Jones.
“Having served in the mayor’s office, I can tell you there is no time for ‘my way or the highway,’” Mendenhall said.
Jones said Rodolico, as former council chairman, was able to reach across the aisle on the town’s behalf. “He is a team player and an organizer who works harder than everyone else,” he said.
Rodolico said he was humbled by the nomination. He vowed to run on the principles of fiscal responsibility and communication with all of the town’s stakeholders.
“We won’t always agree, but I will always listen,” he said. “I believe the people will respond to that, and that I will be the next mayor of Ledyard.”
Asked about Allyn’s announcement, Rodolico said he was pleased voters will have a choice.
“I think the citizens of Ledyard deserve a choice, and now they will have a choice over the government they’ve had for the past three and a half years and the potential for change that was spoken about this evening.”
Heather Hunt, organizer of the Ledyard Tea Party Patriots, said she also was pleased with the way the day’s events had played out. “So far there are no other candidates, so it’s good to have a choice,” she said.
At the caucus Republicans also endorsed candidates for Town Council and Board of Education. They are:
For Town Council, Linda Davis, Sean Sullivan, John Marshall, Kevin Dombrowski, Steve Eichelberg and Mike France.
For Board of Education, Julia Cronin, Gordon Strickland, Mimi Peck-Llewellyn, Bob Beaver, Joan Disco and Tom Malone.