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Recount Reveals Tie in Fairfield RTM Race

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – One seat on Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting is still up for grabs. A recount of Fairfield’s ballots Monday found that the voting for final seat on the legislature from District 4 ended in a tie. Republican incumbent Art Hug and Democratic challenger Al Menillo now face a special meeting to determine the winner.

The registrars of voters’ count showed Menillo in the lead for the district’s fifth and final RTM spot by one vote, 528-527, as of Nov. 8. State law requires elections with vote margins less than 0.5 percent of the total to be recounted within a week. The registrars rechecked the ballots Monday, along with those from close races in Districts 6, 8 and 10.

The final tally included some ballots that were not counted in the initial run because of a machine error. After the recount, Menillo and Hug stood tied at 528 votes each for the last seat on the RTM. Vote totals changed slightly in the other three districts, but the eventual winners did not.

The other four members of District 4’s delegation will now decide who will join them in the RTM, per the rules set in the Town Charter. Republicans Joseph DeMartino, Joseph Palmer and Amy Mezoff and Democrat Heather Dean will hold a special meeting to make the decision. If they reach a 2-2 tie, then the entire RTM will vote on the last member at its meeting Nov. 28.

The outcome of the special meeting will determine whether the Republican Party’s lead on the RTM is four votes or six votes. With Hug returning to the body, the GOP would hold a 28-22 margin. Menillo’s election would close the gap to 27-23.

In either case, the Democrats will have more representation in the legislative branch. The Democrats had been the minority party by a 38-12 margin since 2009.

The town clerk will set a date, time and location for the special meeting later this week. Neither Menillo nor Hug could be reached for comment Monday.

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