First selectman third-party candidate T.J. Elgin,left, and his running mate Louis D’Onofrio on Tuesday night at their election headquarters. (Photo by Thane Grauel)

by Jarret Liotta

WESTPORT — Following news that Democrat Jonathan Steinberg will not be accepting the minority party seat on the Board of Selectmen later this month following his election loss to Republican Jennifer Tooker, Libertarian candidate T.J. Elgin said it was now his.

“Yes, I, unlike my opponent Steinberg, will not let the town down again,” Elgin said Wednesday evening. “I will happily be seated for the 3rd selectman seat.”

Elgin and his running mate Louis D’Onofrio received 64 votes in Tuesday’s elections, according to the latest figures from town hall. Tooker and her running mate Andrea Moore won with 4,237, while Steinberg and running mate Candice Savin received 4,168.

“The 3rd spot goes to the next highest voted selectman candidate, which means second selectman candidates are not included,” D’Onofrio said.

“We have read the town election rules many times, assuming this would occur when Jonathan came in second,” he said.

Assistant Town Attorney Disagrees

Eileen Lavigne Flug, Westport’s assistant town attorney, disagreed.

She said that, once sworn in on Nov. 15, Tooker and Moore must appoint a Democrat.

“Jonathan was the defeated candidate with the highest number of votes, so he’s the only one of the defeated candidates for first selectman that was elected to be a selectman,” Flug said, citing Section C4-1 from the Town Charter.

She said that on or after Nov. 16 Tooker and Moore will meet publicly and appoint a Democrat to be sworn in.

“Traditionally, the appointing board will fill the seat with someone nominated by the town party, so the Democratic Town Committee should recommend a candidate who could be — but does not necessary need to be — Candice,” she said.

Elgin, however, released a press release to the media Wednesday evening also quoting Connecticut statute and Westport’s Town Charter, in essence stating that since each candidacy was run as a team — Tooker and Moore, Steinberg and Savin — when Steinberg turns down the seat, it should go to the third-highest vote-getter.

“After examination, our legal team states Mr. Elgin is the next 3rd selectman,” the release states, with the group waiting on confirmation from officials at town hall.

Elgin said that, if appointed, his first step would be to meet with current Third Selectperson Melissa Kane to discuss what her role has been over the past four years.

“Then, once seated, I will assist Jennifer Tooker and Andrea Moore with helping the town the best we all possibly can,” he said. “The three of us will make a dynamic team!”