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In Derby, alderman facing charges in Jan. 6 riot loses mayoral race

Derby maryoral candidate Gino DiGiovanni, Jr.,looks at unofficial election results at a watch party the night of Nov. 7, 2023. DiGiovani lost to Democrat Joseph DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021.
Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
Derby mayoral candidate Gino DiGiovanni, Jr. looks at unofficial election results at a watch party the night of Nov. 7, 2023. DiGiovani lost to Democrat Joseph DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021.

A man facing charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol has lost his bid to become mayor of Derby.

Gino DiGiovanni, Jr., an alderman, lost to Democrat Joseph DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021.

The Associated Press called the race for DiMartino at around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Incumbent Republican mayor Richard Dziekan, who ran on the ballot as a petitioning candidate and Sharlene McEvoy, a retired law professor, were also on the ballot.

While DiGiovanni isn’t going to be mayor, he’s still facing scrutiny from the federal government over trespassing at the U.S. Capitol. He’s due in court on Thursday.

Yet he said the case is far from his mind.

“I really haven't been thinking about it, to be honest with you, until you brought it up. And it reminded me that Thursday, I gotta go,” DiGiovanni said.

While DiGiovanni has acknowledged being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he’s denied any wrongdoing. He was photographed in the Capitol Rotunda. DiGiovanni was elected as an alderman 10 months after the attack.

Dziekan’s petitioning status had sparked concerns among the city’s Republican Town Committee, which endorsed DiGiovanni, that the GOP vote could be split.

In September, DiGiovanni defeated Dziekan during a primary that was so close the race went to a recount. The race attracted national attention to the small city about 10 miles west of New Haven.

Voter participation increased compared to the 2021 municipal elections at over 40% in 2023 compared to a little over 32% in 2021, officials said.

While DiMartino got a last minute boost by Democratic state and federal officials, eager to prevent the possibility a Jan. 6 participant could be the first elected mayor in the country, DiGiovanni said he doesn’t think it was a factor.

“Did it hurt me? I don't believe it did,” DiGiovanni said.

But DiMartino’s campaign manager, Linda Fusco, believed otherwise.

“That really did affect people, you could see it online, and in the Derby Forum, and some of the other people had very strong feelings about that," Fusco said.

DiGiovanni conceded the race on Thursday and personally thanked DiMartino.

Jim Gildea, Derby’s Board of Education chairman, was moved by Tuesday’s high turnout.

“After watching low voter turnout for the last couple elections, it’s heartwarming to see people coming out; it’s heartwarming to see people getting engaged,” he said. “I think it sends a clear message that people are unhappy with how things have been for the last two years.”

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public’s Max Berryman and Patrick Skahill contributed to this report.

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