The 2021 Stamford Mayoral Race

Every four years, Stamford holds a mayoral election for a four-year term. One took place recently on November 2, in which the primary candidates were Democratic State Representative Caroline Simmons and former baseball player Bobby Valentine, running as an independent. In a surprising result, Simmons attained 15 thousand (52.54%) votes, while Valentine received 14 thousand (47.46%). This was a very close election, as Stamford is a blue city. 

On September 14, Mayor-Elect Simmons won the Democratic party’s nomination for the office by defeating her predecessor Mayor David Martin in a landslide victory of 27 points, according to election results on the Connecticut Secretary of State Website. Candidate Valentine was able to sign up as an independent candidate since he was not running for either party. While they held many of the same positions on paper, Simmons was mainly a progressive candidate compared to Valentine.

On October 19, The Prometheum Foundation organized and held a debate between the two candidates at Stamford’s Ferguson Library. There were many panelists, including the President of the Foundation, Steve Bowling, Alison Knapp, the President of the Ferguson Library, Roy Balasaria, President of PRI Capital, Alexander Tribe, a partner at Benjamin and Troy, and AITE teacher Claude Morest. Morest, a social studies teacher and debate coach, began moderating mayoral debates in 2009, and this was his fourth one. He summarized his experience judging as “fun” and “exciting.”

When asked about the debate from his nonpartisan perspective, he said, “They went smoothly and the candidates each answered the questions. They engaged in a civil manner.” According to Morest, debates like this have much value for voters. “It was an opportunity for the public to see philosophical, policy, and leadership differences,” he said. 

In addition to giving his students a shout-out during the debate, he asked all of his classes to participate in the Promethium Foundation’s essay contest about what happened during the mayoral debate. The competition awards included $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third.