The West Haven mayoral race will head to a recount after incumbent Mayor Nancy Rossi, a Democrat, declared victory with a margin of just 24 votes Tuesday night.
She was challenged by Republican challenger Barry Lee Cohen.
Rossi noted that she won by a tight margin of 24 votes and said she expected a recount.
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"24 is going to be my lucky number if it stands for the rest of my life. I'm very very excited to be representing the city of West Haven again," Rossi told supporters Tuesday night.
However, the CT Republican Party contradicted that in a tweet, saying they had Cohen up by 20 or so votes.
Addressing supporters Tuesday night, Cohen said he's "not defeated" and that there was a disparity between the ballots cast and ballots counted.
“There is no doubt that this administration win or lose is going to have to be more transparent, is going to have to show more integrity and honesty. This was not a victory, this is a concern that the public expressed tonight," Cohen said.
Cohen and his campaign team said they were so concerned with the integrity of the vote that they went to City Hall tonight to check the security of the ballots, which were sealed in a vault at the end of the night.
The race is under extra scrutiny after allegations came out of fraudulent activity involving federal Covid-19 money which led to the arrest of a former city worker and State Representative Michael DiMassa. Many residents are calling for accountability and looking to the office of the mayor to make that happen.
Rossi admitted that the recent FBI investigation into the alleged theft of more than $600,000 cast a cloud of doubt over her campaign.
“I think it confused voters, where some of them didn’t come out or where other ones may have voted differently had they had the right information," Rossi said.
There are more than four times the number of Democrats registered to vote than there are Republicans in the city. Rossi won her last re-election bid with 60% of the vote.
Republicans did unseat three incumbent Democrats on the city council.
There will be an automatic recount of the mayor’s race within five days.