Following a landslide Republican victory in most of the races, some members during the Tuesday night election party in Sandy Hook were using the word "mandate" to describe what the win might mean.
Republican First Selectman Pat Llodra, who captured 86-percent of the votes in her re-election bid, saw it as confirmation of her party's stance on the issues.
"This validates us," she said in her victory speech. "The community's message to us is, 'Yes, you are doing the right work and you are the right team.'"
Democrats, who succeeded in regaining some of the seats they had lost in the last election, also took the victory to mean a validation of their campaign slogan of a "return to reason."
"Historically Republicans and Democrats have taken different issues...but it was never personal, it was never vicious," Selectman-elect Jim Gaston said. "The last four, five years, it's become personal and I think the public wants that to stop."
Even members of the Independent Party of Newtown, who lost every race except for Carol Walsh, who won a seat on the Board of Finance, appeared to interpret the results to mean a return to the past when there was no IPN to question the two major parties.
"Now that we're gone, you can assume that pressure is gone," said Bill Furrier, who lost his bid for first selectman as well as his current seat on the Board of Selectman. "I will predict that they will go back to their old ways. The town of Newtown voted for that and they're going to get it."
But not all IPN members saw the results in that same way.
Kevin Fitzgerald, who pending a recount, is set to lose his seat on the Legislative Council, said he believed the Republicans and Democrats perpetuated an anti-IPN message that helped propel them to victory.
"I think that that based on what has happened, it's only going to re-energize the IPN," he said, adding that he was committed to continuing to participate in the process behind the scenes.
At the same time, Fitzgerald said the election of Walsh to the Board of Finance – the first time a third party has won a seat on that board – showed the strides the IPN has made, particularly in successfully calling for Republicans and Democrats to end their practice of cross-endorsing candidates. The IPN had argued that practice created a barrier to their candidates winning.
"It shows when you don't cross endorse, it's a much more fair process," Fitzgerald said.
Whatever message candidates were taking from the win, there was no question this election season was an unusual one.
"It was an odd race," Gaston said prior to the results being announced.
Tropical Storm Irene led to a delay in the start of the political season as the Labor Day parade – typically when candidates start their campaign push – was postponed by a month. Then last week, the widespread outages that followed the destructive Oct. 29 snow storm put a hold on any campaigning as candidates saw politicking in the face of the damage to be in bad taste.
Perhaps, as a result, turnout was low – though at 33-percent appeared to be middle-of-the-pack compared to other years – and any interpretation of the results would be colored by those conditions, many observers said.
Or at least that was what some of the candidates were saying before the results were announced.
"People will still look at the storm variable," Gaston said early in the night.