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Drew Running Unopposed; GOP's Nov. Slate Includes Ex-Mayor Giuliano

Middletown's GOP town committee passed over six-term councilman Joseph Bibisi and three-term member and minority leader Phil Pessina at its nominating convention.

Former Mayor Sebastian Giuliano / Darrell Lucas
Former Mayor Sebastian Giuliano / Darrell Lucas

Dan Drew won't face a Republican candidate this November after no one stepped forward to challenge the Democratic mayor as the party's nominating committee met Tuesday in council chambers.

As new faces join incumbents on the Middletown GOP's November slate, two longtime council members were left unendorsed by their party at the convention.

Three-term Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano was selected to run for common council, along with three-term Board of Education member Ryan Kennedy. Sandra Russo-Driska, who as recently as late July said she was waiting some time before running for public office, accepted the GOP's nod for the common council slate, as did Deputy Director of Emergency Service Angel Fernandez, P&Z member Nicholas Fazzino and former Councilman David Bauer.

Giuliano said he's thrilled to be on the ticket. "I'm honored to be nominated and looking forward to campaigning with the Middletown Republican team."

Kennedy said he's reluctant to leave the board of education but believes his experience will be an asset. "One of my regular frustrations with the current council is the lack of knowledge about education. I hope to be able to share my knowledge about education with my colleagues when I am a councilman," Kennedy said.

Former Deputy Mayor Joseph Bibisi, who's been an councilman since 2001, and minority leader Phil Pessina, who has served since 2007 on the council, failed to win their party's endorsement.

Incumbent councilwomen Linda Salafia, the top vote-getter from her party, and Deborah Kleckowski easily garnered nominations. They, along with Russo-Driska, received the most votes for candidacy.

Bauer was also nominated for Planning and Zoning alongside Robert Simpson and Jeremy Clark. 

Linda Sienkiewicz and incumbent Sheila Daniels for board of education, along with political newcomer Brian Kaskel for board of education. He currently sits on the Bielefield Elementary School governance council.

Clark was named as P&Z alternate, with David Greaves and Jon Pulino for Board of Assessment Appeals. Kennedy is also nominated for treasurer.

Giuliano said he's looking forward to rejoining Middletown politics.

"There are many issues to be addressed in the coming term, most of which fall under the umbrella of the proper exercise of the duties and responsibilities given to the Common Council by the City Charter. The Democrat-controlled council of the past two decades has neglected and abandoned its proper role, and that is something the Republican team is committed to remedy."

Over the coming weeks, he said the GOP slate will present "specific, concrete and clear proposals that it pledges to enact if elected to office. I look forward to debating those proposals with our Democrat counterparts."

Planning and Zoning commissioners whose terms expire this November are Republicans Nicholas Fazzino, Les Adams and alternate Ken McClellan, and Democrat Daniel Russo.

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Jefferson July 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM
So wait, the GOP drops their two most popular vote-getters, Bibisi and Pessina, after all they have done for Middletown Republicans? At the same time they don't have anybody who has the guts to challenge Drew? And they roll the dice with the more-than-slightly-unemployable Seb Giuliano and the more-than-slightly-unstable Angel Fernandez?
jjr799 July 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM
How disappointing. I'm a Democrat but I had planned on voting for a Republican for Mayor this November because Mayor Drew has failed to clean up waste and nepotism in City Hall. The Middletown GOP should have stepped up to the plate and found a candidate for mayor...any candidate is better than no candidate! Also, why does the article only mention 7 GOP candidates for Common Council? Aren't the two parties allowed to nominate eight? Is GOP enthusiasm in Middletown so low that they couldn't even find another candidate for council? And why are only two candidates mentioned for Board of Ed when 4 seats are up for re-election this year? Also, who did they nominate for treasurer? And how dumb of the GOP to ditch the two candidates who usually get the most votes! The GOP just conceded the election to the Democratic machine.
Darrell Lucas July 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Maybe if you both attended the meeting instead of being anonymous jerks you would have your way... :-)
William Wilson July 16, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Nick Fazzino is running for Common Council as well as the other seven names. Linda Szynkewicz and Bill Wilson are running for BOE along with the other two candidates. Robert Simpson, and Jeremy Clark are running for Planning and Zoning as well. David Greaves and Jonathan Pulino for Board of Assessment Appeals
jjr799 July 17, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Thank you Mr. Wilson. Darrell, as I stated I'm a registered Democrat so I don't see how I could have stood on the GOP's nominating committee. If I was a registered Republican than of course I'd show up.
Darrell Lucas July 17, 2013 at 06:27 PM
jjr779 "clean up waste and nepotism in City Hall" is a subjective opinion. Could you be more clear? Nepotism is natural process of the human condition. Eh but I think jjr779 is full of stuff anyhow. Good luck.

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