Submitted by Dan Quigley, Greenwich RTC Chair
So, what did we learn about Greenwich this election season? While
Connecticut turned a deeper shade of Blue, our local Republican Party
held serve. Despite strong headwinds, our local candidates won two of four races, with Greenwich voting for the Republican candidate in three of the four. This, despite an extremely energized local Democrat effort, shifting voter registration numbers and a sitting President who proved unpopular in Greenwich.
Nationally, the Presidential election resulted in a split electorate. The “Blue Wave” that was forecast never materialized. Republicans gained seats in the House and appear poised to maintain control of the Senate. Whatever one may feel about the President, over 72 million Americans voted for him. These voices must be acknowledged and will remain an important element
of our national political discourse. CT Democrat Jim Himes summed up the results for his party well when he said; “it is far from clear to me that we’ve changed anybody’s mind and that’s a brutal indictment.”
Locally, Republican candidates ran a campaign focused on the issues that mattered most to local voters; economic revitalization, job creation; making CT friendlier to businesses large and small; reducing wasteful spending; lowering taxes; and prioritizing safety and security. We placed a bet on the strength of our candidates and on our belief that Greenwich voters were sophisticated and well informed. We feel that our strategy was justified.
That being said, Greenwich is changing.
In the future, Greenwich Republicans will have to adjust accordingly. We cannot risk complacency. We need to expand our party. This can be achieved without compromising our core Republican values. Our commitment to fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and more efficient and effective government has broad support within our community. Unlike state Democrats, Republicans have earned this trust by virtue of a proven track record of effective fiscal management in Greenwich.
There are many challenges on the horizon. Hartford Democrats are
pushing to usurp control of local school boards via school Regionalization.
Even our local planning and zoning committees are under fire from groups
like “Desegregate CT” who wish to strip local P&Z authority from towns
and centralize it in Hartford. Neither school regionalization or “Desegregate
CT” are in the best interests of voters in Greenwich.
Now, Democrats hold a Supermajority in the CT State Senate, and an almost two-thirds majority in the House. Massive budget deficits need to be closed. A pension time-bomb must be defused. Long dormant infrastructure improvements must be addressed. Will they raise our taxes yet again? As left leaning Dan Haar of Hearst Media recently put it; “An unhealthy political environment of one-party rule (exists) in CT.” He is right. Democrats will be responsible for the financial impact of one-party rule for
the next two years.
With time and perspective this election cycle will look better for our local GOP. In a tough political environment, Greenwich Republicans held our ground. In two years, local midterm elections will be on the menu. The net effect of the Democrat supermajority on CT will be clear. Without the backdrop of a divisive national election with a controversial president, the
local Left will have to find new inspiration on which to focus their animosity. The headwinds of 2020 could turn into tailwinds for
However, it is clear that Greenwich Republicans must have an honest debate about how our party can build on its strengths, broaden our base and be more welcoming to people who do not necessarily share all of our values. Our party must grow, and with growth comes change. Change can be complicated. But as Albert Einstein once said; “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Our willingness to adapt will be the determining factor in how we Republicans shape our future in Greenwich, and Connecticut. Will we open our tent and welcome new voters into it? Or, will we journey stubbornly into the future, content with the status quo?
My sincere hope is for the former.