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UPDATED: Hedrick wins Groton City mayoral race

Groton — City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick, a Democrat and write-in candidate, was elected Monday to a third term, defeating Democratic nominee and Town Councilor Aundré Bumgardner, according to results from the registrars of voters.

The vote was 952-811 in favor of Hedrick. About 34% of registered voters cast ballots.

“I want to thank all of the City of Groton voters that have supported me during this election,” said Hedrick, who waged a grassroots write-in campaign after losing the Democratic primary in March to Bumgardner by five votes. “I want to congratulate my opponent for a hard-fought battle — both of them — and ask for everyone’s support in reuniting the Democratic Party, and I look forward to continuing to lead the City of Groton into the future.”

Late Monday night Bumgardner said, "To my supporters who voted for me today and in our successful Democratic primary, there are no words to express how grateful I am for their confidence in me and our campaign of progress and prosperity for Groton City. Our campaign was focused on getting people aware and involved who never thought their vote would make a difference or may have never voted in their lives. I'm extremely proud of how many people were inspired to make their voice heard for change in the government that so impacts their lives and I'm hopeful that the level of public participation that was ignited by this campaign will continue to encourage a greater level of public input into how Groton City is run."

He added that he continues to consult with his legal team "about next steps as they continue to scrutinize the write-in ballots."

Hedrick, 61, with a background in the U.S. Navy and as an operations manager at URS/AECOM, was first elected in 2017 as city mayor, after serving on the City Council, including as deputy mayor, and on the Groton Representative Town Meeting.

Bumgardner, 26, the Democratic nominee, made a historic bid for mayor and he said he would have been the city’s first Black and Latino mayor and the youngest mayor currently in Connecticut.

Bumgardner became the youngest state representative in Connecticut history at age 20 and served from 2015 to 2017 as representative for the 41st district. He is currently a town councilor and a city planning and zoning commissioner.

The candidates, both Democrats, did not face a challenge from a Republican, as the City of Groton Republican Committee did not endorse a slate of candidates.

Voters who supported Hedrick Monday listed his experience and record as mayor as among the reasons they voted for him, while supporters of Bumgardner said he would bring fresh ideas and diversity.

Robert Perry said he voted for Bumgardner because it’s really important to see some diversity in city leadership.

He added that Bumgardner seems “like a really great guy, and I think he’s going to do some really great things for the city, if he wins.”

Katherine Biltcliffe said she voted for Hedrick because he’s done a good job. She said when she goes to the beach, Hedrick always stops to ask if people need information or would like to see anything changed.

“He’s always around asking people if he can help out,” she said.

Rosemary Hall said she wanted the current mayor to continue: “I think the other candidate doesn’t have the experience, and I think our current mayor has done a good job,” she said.

“I think if something works, don’t fix it,” added her husband, Charles.

Yaditza Ayala said she supported Bumgardner: “I was very interested in voting for Aundre just to see a new young person with different ideas,” she said, adding that his team has been “very diligent” about campaigning.

The city clerk and City Council races were uncontested and featured an all-Democratic slate. With the retirement of City Clerk Debra Patrick, voters elected Megan Peters as the new city clerk.

Elected to the City Council were Gweneviere Depot, the deputy mayor; Rashaad Carter; Lisa McCabe; Stephen Sheffield; and Paul Norris, who was recently sworn in to fill a vacancy on the council, and Christine Piazza, who will be new to the council.

k.drelich@theday.com

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