MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican Sebastian Guiliano, 67, made his way through the lunch crowd at the Ford News Diner Friday.
The former three-term mayor and current city council minority leader is a very experienced campaigner and says his experience in city government should make the voter’s choice easy.
Ben Florsheim, 27, is not very experienced but he was the surprise winner of last month’s Democratic primary, upsetting the town committee endorsed candidate.
He’s never held office but cut his political teeth working for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy for the past five years.
Concerning the experience factor Giuliano saying, “The learning curve is steep and it comes at you fast. I pretty much know it already.”
Florsheim responding, “If he’s running on the fact that he’s been mayor before, I don’t think that’s going to necessarily resonate on its own.”
While both candidates are campaigning on local bread and butter issues like economic development and education, Florsheim says voters bring up impeachment and relates this conversation with a Republican voter, “He had reached out to their campaign and asked point blank, ‘do you support Trump or not? Because if you do I can’t support you.’ And didn’t receive a response.”
Giuliano puts it this way, “Anybody who thinks that voting for or against me is going to affect the chances of Donald Trump getting a second term is smoking some funny cigarettes.”
Florsheim says other national issues, like the “Green New Deal” do resonate with residents that say they’ll vote in the city election next month.
Middletown voters have swung back and forth between Democrat and Republican mayors for the past few decades.
Guiliano is hoping the pendulum swings his way again.