Just a short time after the polls closed, incumbent First Selectman of Stonington, George Crouse, conceded to his Republican challenger, Rob Simmons. Simmons claimed the First Selectman position handily, polling 2,893 to Crouse's 2,093.
Simmons' running mate Mike Spellman and Democrat Kate Rotella will take the Selectmen spots, forcing Crouse out of the Board of Selectmen altogether.
Former Congressman Simmons represented Connecticut's Second District in the U.S. House for three terms. He was beaten in the narrowest of victories by Joe Courtney in 2006. Since then he's served as the Business Advocate for the state of Connecticut, and has unsuccessfully run for a Senate seat.
Simmons, 72, said he wanted to serve his hometown of Stonington, after notoriety created by former First Selectman Ed Haberek, who resigned from the post last year in the midst of a sexting scandal.
"I'm humbled by the surprising upset victory that I experienced tonight," Simmons told WNPR Tuesday. "I live in Stonington, my family's been here for several generations, my wife's family's been here for nine generations," he went on. "We love the town and when we felt the town was in distress, being written up in the papers for some of the issues involving our former first selectman, I answered the call to service."
Crouse was gracious in defeat.
"We've known each other a long time and always had great respect," he told Simmons. "You always don't like to lose, but Rob, you're going to lead the town well."
Crouse, a teacher for some 30 years in the Stonington school system, has also been a highly successful coach to the girls' tennis team at Stonington High School.