By unanimous voice vote, New Haven’s Democratic Party Tuesday night elected Vincent Mauro again as its leader—for the first time.
At a convention at the parish house next to Betsy Ross Arts School on Kimberly Avenue, the party’s town committee voted to make Vincent Mauro Jr. its new chairman, responsible for choosing and then helping elect candidates to local and state offices.
A Vincent Mauro has held the job before—Vincent Mauro Sr., the new chairman’s late father. Vincent Mauro Sr., a skillful old-school back-room negotiator, served as city Democratic town chair from 1980 until his death in a roadside crash on Dec. 15, 1987. (Click here for a story about father and son, and the son’s ambitions as town chair.)
The family came out to watch Mauro Jr.’s election, including his mother Gigi, sister Melissa, and wife Nicole.
Mauro Jr. replaces Jackie James, who stepped down as town chair after taking a position with the Harp Administration. He will be in charge of the state’s largest Democratic Party, one that holds largely uncontested power in New Haven: All 30 members of the Board of Alders and all state legislators from the city are Democrats. No Republican has held the mayor’s office since 1953. As of Tuesday, the city had 50,132 registered Democratic voters, 2,555 registered Republicans, 18,762 registered unaffiliated voters, and 362 voters registered with minority parties.
Among Mauro’s first priorities will be to try to round up another sizable plurality in New Haven for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in his expected reelection campaign this year. New Haven delivered Malloy his largest vote total with a crucial 22,285 votes —and largest plurality, 18,606 votes. That was three times his statewide margin of victory.
“With history serving as background,” Mauro declared in his acceptance speech, “we are here to move this party forward.”
He set three goals: “openness,” “transparency,” and “to make this a better city for all of us.”
Then he added a fourth: “I promise to make our speeches short and our meetings concise.”
The convention also elected James as party vice-chair, Carmen Reyes as second vice-chair, Rose DeMatteo as secretary, Gwen Mills as treasurer, Major Ruth as assistant treasurer, and Sharon Jones as assistant secretary.
Then, after some minor housekeeping details, Mauro kept his fourth promise. The meeting, which began at 6 p.m., adjourned by 6:45.