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Knickerbocker Wins Another Term As First Selectman In Bethel

Matt Knickerbocker, left, and Richard Straiton listen as election results are reported Tuesday in Bethel. Knickerbocker won a fourth term as First Selectman.
Matt Knickerbocker, left, and Richard Straiton listen as election results are reported Tuesday in Bethel. Knickerbocker won a fourth term as First Selectman. Photo Credit: Tom Renner

BETHEL, Conn. -- Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker won re-election to a fourth term Tuesday with a convincing win over Republican challenger Will Duff.

Richard Straiton, Knickerbocker's Democratic running mate, was also elected to a fourth term. Republican Paul Szatkowski was elected as the other member on the town's Board of Selectman.

Knickerbocker won with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 46 for Duff, who also had the support of the Independent Party.

Knickerbocker spent most of his career with Fuji Film. He was first elected as the town's First Selectman in 2009. He moved to Bethel in 1979 and has been active in civic circles, including a 10-year stint on the Board of Education. He also served as President of the Bethel Jaycees.

Duff also lost to Knickerbocker in the 2013 election. He won a runoff in September over the party-endorsed candidate, Pat Rist, to earn another shot at the office.

"I'm pleased to continue my work with Rich and Paul,'' Knickerbocker said. "We compromise. I also want to congratulate Will on a great run. He worked his heart out."

Knickerbocker won by just over approximately 300 votes after winning by nearly 500 in 2013. He won each of the five districts, which did not occur two years ago. Duff tried to tie Knickerbocker to Governor Dannel Malloy, whose popularity is sinking in the state.

"I think Governor Malloy has really been blamed unfairly,'' Knickerbocker said. "I think he's done a good job for the state. But Governor Malloy wasn't running in Bethel. I was."

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