STRATFORD — Voters in Stratford have decided that they’ve seen enough of a Democratic-leaning town government. Not only did they send Republican state Rep. Laura Hoydick to the mayor’s chair, they also flipped the council to a 7-3 Republican majority.

Hoydick won by a comfortable margin — 5,738 to 5,126 — over Democrat Stephanie Philips, while petitioning candidate Sandra Zalik had 688 votes in unofficial tallies.

The turnout was 29.7 percent, about what was expected. A cold rain that began falling after sundown may have kept some voters home. The Philips camp had been hoping for a more robust turnout.

“We did everything that we could,” said Harold Watson, one of the top people in the Philips campaign team.

Hoydick captured 50 percent of the vote, Philips had 44 percent and Zalik had 6 percent. Zakik quite likely stole votes from the other two candidates about equally.

There were some surprising results in the Town Council. In District 10, Democratic incumbent Tina Manus was trounced by a relative newcomer to politics, Republican Laura Dancho, 721 to 583.

The Stratford Grand Old Party also gained a seat in District 1, where Chris Pia defeated Democratic upstart Bieu Tran in a cliffhanger, 798-747.

The story was the same in District 2, where Republican Ron Tichy defeated Democratic rival Christina Heffren, 543 to 495, Heffren had entered the race after Democrat Scott Farrington- Posner suddenly pulled out.

And another Democratic seat fell in District 6, formerly occupied byPhil Young. There, Democrat Prez Palmer, who pushed Young aside in the Sept. 12 primary, lost to Republican Ken Poisson. The tally there was Poisson, 618 and Palmer, 551. Young had toyed with a write-in campaign in recent days, but soon dropped the idea.

And there was more good news for the Hoydick camp in District 7, where Democrat Don Putrimas lost to Republican and former cop Bill Perillo, 528 to 764. Perillo earlier defeated Mitzi Antezzo, a Republican who had little regard for outgoing Mayor John Harkins, also a Republican.

The Philips campaign can trace its roots to the failed attempt begun in 2014 by Mayor John Harkins, a Republican, to sell the entire town’s sewer system to the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority. Doing so, the mayor said, would give the town a much-needed infusion of cash and free the town of having to pay down some debt, as well a raft of other benefits.

But Democrats saw this an attempt to sell off town assets.

After a brief civil case, a referendum was staged in 2015 in which voters, by more than 3-1 ratio, rejected the sewer system sale idea and, at the same election, sent the mostly Republican and Harkins-friendly Town Council home.

Harkins, who announced in March that he wouldn’t seek re-election, would be the first one to tell you that the sewer system sale idea was badly handled, although he still supports the concept to this day.

The team of Democrats that took office in December 2015 were wary and distrustful of the Harkins administration, taking issue with the salaries of high-ranking officials, school spending, take-home vehicles and just about everything else about how Town Hall was managed.

A subplot to this has been the schism within the Democratic Town Committee. Philips is also the DTC chairwoman, and her wing has been pushing for deep cuts in spending. But the other wing, centered on Council Chairwoman Beth Daponte, has warned that the cuts that the Philips camp is pushing for would hurt the schools, erode the bond rating and take a scythe to a number of town departments.

Deponte, however, wasn’t on the ballot. She lost her primary in District 1 to upstart Bieu Tran, who seemingly came out of left field. But there were no shortage of Democrats backing Hoydick.

jburgeson@ctpost.com