First Selectman-elect Jayme Stevenson pledged to be a nonpartisan leader Tuesday evening after for Darien's top elected office.
Stevenson, a Republican, received 3,073 votes (66.0%), defeating Democrat John Lundeen (1,525 votes, 32.7%) and Ultra-Conservative Chris Noe (63 votes, 1.3%).
Speaking at GOP headquarters in downtown Darien, Stevenson thanked scores of people for supporting her campaign and helping to pave her way to victory.
“I know that everyone played a little role in our success tonight,” Stevenson told the crowd. “Our success is your success. What this vote really means to me, like two years ago, is that Darien wants leadership like ours. They want honesty, they want integrity, they want common sense, they want a business approach to government. They do not want partisan politics.”
“I feel so proud to be a Darien Republican because for a long time we were divided,” she said. “But tonight we are very much together because we have a lot of people who are unaffiliated and Democrats.”
Recalling a statement she made during the League of Women Voters' debate, Stevenson said she wants to foster unity by going bowling with her four fellow selectmen before the board's new term gets under way.
After the election results were tallied, Lundeen and his Democratic running mates, David Bayne and Vickie Riccardo, dropped by Republican headquarters and shared friendly words with Stevenson, Dave Campbell, and Jerry Nielsen.
Lundeen and Bayne garnered enough votes to win seats on the board, while Riccardo's bid fell just short.
As well-wishers shared food and drinks at Tuesday's victory celebration, newly-elected (and re-elected) officials moved around the room, accepting handshakes, hugs, and kisses.
Nielsen called himself honored, humbled, and thrilled by voters returning him to office for another two years.
“We feel Darien is moving in the right direction, and we want to keep it moving that way,” Nielsen said. "This is very exciting: it is kind of like a report card for a politician.”
“I want to reach out to John Lundeen, the other new member. I want to offer my congratulations, sit down with him, work together, and be cordial.”
Stevenson also said she'll work to become better acquainted with Town Hall employees.
“I am going to spend time getting to know them better,” she said. “Today is a big deal in their lives too, because a change in administration means a change in leadership.”