Although much of the focus during this mayoral campaign was on three hopefuls – Mayor Fred B. Allyn Jr., Republican John Rodolico and Democrat Tony Saccone – there has been a fourth candiate, Rob Lawrence.
Lawrence is the Green party member who entered the race as a petitioning candidate – the steam-fitter, husband and father of three who ran such a distant fourth that he was all but forgotten by voters.
What was his campaign all about?
According to Lawrence, who lives on Village Drive, it was about nothing less than becoming Ledyard’s next mayor. And even on Tuesday he still was insisting he was in it to win. “I think I’m going to do great,” he said.
He finished with only 56 votes.
Still, Lawrence said the race gave him an opportunity to raise a couple of pet issues, which he happily reiterated in the final hours before the polls closed.
“I’ve been able to express my opinion on how we should deal with our electrical situation here, because I think we should become a public utility and start generating some of our own electricity,” he said.
“We need sewers up here if we’re going to have economic development,” he said repeating a campaign theme that failed to get much traction, but certainly made for a more interesting candidates’ debate.
“It’s been a learning experience for me,” he said. And in a very real way, he added, it helped restore his faith in both the political process and in his town.
“Every time I ever sniffed around politics it always smelled like rotten fish,” he said. “And this (campaign) didn’t. I think the civility and respectfulness went up a notch, and I liked that.”
But was he really expecting to win?
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I’m passionate about it.”
And his grin grew just a bit wider.
“I even made three signs. Didn’t you see them?" he asked.
After all, you can’t win if you don’t play.
“No matter what, it’s been great," he said. "I’ve had friends call and congratulate me for running, and wish me good luck. It’s just been a wonderful experience.”