First Selectman Epstein defeated Republican Nick Downes 722 to 430 in unofficial results and her running mate Nick Adams won a seat on the three-member board. Republican incumbent Vince LaFontan also won a seat.

Before the election, Mrs. Epstein admitted that her minority status on the board made her first term a rough ride. Tuesday night, she said the vote may well be a reflection of voters' unhappiness with the bickering that hampered the board during the past two years.

"It's been frustrating and it's been going on for two years. It's not good for the board or for the town," she said.

On Wednesday morning, a happy First Selectman said she was "very pleased" and "quite surprised with the margin of victory."

"It's going to bring calmness and civility back to the Board of Selectman," she said.

Mrs. Epstein added that the election was a referendum, of sorts, on the town's decisions to move ahead on several projects including major work on the fire station, construction of a cell tower on town property, a transfer station and senior housing.

"They realize we can't stand still," she said.

Mr. Downes was gracious, wishing all of the winners well and thanking the Republican party for choosing him as their candidate.

"It was an honor and a privilege to participate in this process." He added that "Kent is extremely fortunate to have Vince LaFontan back on the board."

The Democratic victory may be a sign of the times in Kent, which has been a traditional Republican stronghold, but is now moving in other directions. Democrats now outnumber Republicans and unaffiliated voters easily outnumber both parties.

One of those new Democrats is Mr. Adams, who switched parties before running for the board.

Mr. Downes said Wednesday that Mrs. Epstein's victory wasn't surprising.

"It's always challenging to run against a strong incumbent," he said.

During the campaign, Republicans said they could do a better job of handling the town's finances, but Mrs. Epstein was aided by a budget increase of just 3 percent.

Mr. Downes said his hands-on management style would help control spending. Mr. Downes and Mr. LaFontan, an incumbent, said Kent needs more checks and balances as the town's budget tops $11 million.

Republican incumbent Nancy O'Dea Wyrick did not seek reelection, ensuring a new face on the board.