Pioli projected to win Board of Education seat

November 7, 2018

STAMFORD — Democratic candidate Jackie Pioli seems to have unseated Board of Education president David Mannis in a race that had three endorsed Democrats running for one seat.

With a little over half the districts reporting, Pioli edged Mannis out with about 17,600 votes to his approximate 16,300. Six candidates were vying for three seats and a three-year term on the board.

Pioli addressed the crowd at the Democratic City Committee’s election night headquarters at the Sheraton Hotel.

“I’m happy all my work paid off,” she said.

Due to rules in the city charter, only six Democrats can hold seats on the school board. This left Jackie Pioli and David Mannis vying for the final Democratic seat on the board.

“I congratulate (Pioli) on her campaign,” Mannis said. “I wish everyone on the board luck in the future.”

Pioli ran in 2017 as a Green Party candidate, earning just 2,090 votes compared to the more than 10,000 received by winning candidates Betsy Allyn, Andy George and Jackie Heftman.

Full results, including absentee ballot numbers, were not yet available from the Registrar of Voters, but Pioli was predicted to win.

Jon Gallup, the third endorsed Democratic candidate, received about 14,762 votes. In September, Democratic City Committee Chairman Josh Fedeli said Jon Gallup, the third candidate on the Democrat line, was a placeholder and was not actively campaigning for the seat.

Pioli works as a family advocate and has touted herself as an active member of the Stamford Public Schools community, with experience on the citizen’s budget advisory committee for the district.

Mannis was elected in 2015 and was appointed board president last year.

Incumbents Frank Cerasoli and Mike Altamura were projected the remaining minority seats with about 2,550 votes for Cerasoli and 3,896 for Altamura.

A filing error due to a misunderstanding about the cutoff date for party endorsements left incumbents Mike Altamura and Frank Cerasoli off the Republican line and forced to run as petitioning candidates.

The two unaffiliated candidates ran against Michael Schmidt, Green Party candidate, who received about 2,300 votes after being put on the ballot in September.

“I would never think we would be competing against the Green Party, but they gave us a run for our money,” Altamura said. “The Republican Town Committee dropped the ball by not getting us on the ballot. Our spot low on the ballot, and the lack of concern from the RTC to let Republican voters know where to find us, did not do us justice.”

Altamura was elected to the board in 2015. Cerasoli, a former city representative, joined the board earlier this year to fill a vacant Republican seat when George switched parties.

Schmidt was unaware of the close race when called by The Advocate around 11:30 p.m. on election night.

“I’ve really just signed up because I wanted to help Green Party get foot in,” he said. “We’ve noticed in past...that the two major parties don’t speak for working people. They’re not all bad, but in general we’ve seen big money powers getting involved. I think third parties, especially the Green Party...does not accept big contributions...Hopefully by getting a few voices in the fray, we can make a difference.”

erin.kayata@stamfordadvocate.com; (203) 964-2265; @erin_kayata

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