DERBY, Conn. — A Republican primary between the incumbent mayor of Connecticut’s smallest city and an alderman facing criminal charges that he entered the U.S. Capitol with a mob of rioters appeared Tuesday to be headed for a recount.
Final unofficial results showed a tight contest in the race in Derby, a city of 12,400 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of New York City.
Mayor Richard Dziekan had 192 votes. His challenger, Gino DiGiovanni Jr., had 202. Races decided by less than 20 votes trigger an automatic recount. Town Clerk Marc J. Garofalo said on Facebook a recount in this race will likely be held Friday.
DiGiovanni, 42, who was elected to the Derby Board of Aldermen & Alderwomen in 2021, pressed ahead with his campaign despite his arrest Aug. 15. His presence in the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, also didn’t cost him the support of the Derby Republican Town Committee, which endorsed him in July over Dziekan, who chose not to seek the party’s backing.
Regardless of the final Republican primary results, Dziekan has said he will appear on the November ballot as a non-affiliated candidate.
DiGiovanni, who runs a family-owned concrete business, has downplayed his arrest, telling reporters outside court in August that “the evidence that will be presented will show that I am innocent.” His lawyer has said DiGiovanni was just expressing his views.
Dziekan has said it would be up to the voters to decide whether DiGiovanni’s arrest disqualified him from being mayor, saying in a statement that “when an individual is observed potentially breaking the law, they can expect to be called upon to account for their actions.”
On Tuesday, he urged voters to “Pick PROGRESS over politics” on Facebook.