Krumeich & Cooper: Last Minute Candidate Petitions Exposed MAGA scheme to take-over RTM

Submitted by Beth Krumeich and Leslie Cooper, Greenwich

“We’re taking over all the elections.” – Stephen K. Bannon

The far-right group, Greenwich Patriots, have taken Bannon’s strategy to heart as they plot the MAGA take-over of Greenwich political institutions. Two years ago, they flooded the caucuses that elected the Greenwich Republican Town Committee (RTC) and took over control of that party and the nomination of its candidates for the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) and the Board of Education (BOE).

On the last day to petition to become candidates for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the Greenwich Patriots filed over 100 petitions for the 230-member body, which with their incumbent members, is more than enough to dominate the legislative branch of town government for the next two years.

In the past, the RTM members have refused to support right-wing measures promoted by the RTC and Greenwich Patriots. This newest slate of RTM candidates was recruited to reverse these results.

Elections to the RTM are supposed to be non-partisan, but the last-minute petitions exposed the MAGA scheme to take-over the RTM. If they succeed, town budgets, particularly education and human services budgets, and school construction and infrastructure projects, will be dead on arrival in the RTM.

The RTM has the final authority to reduce or slash budgets carefully crafted by the First Selectman, BOE and BET. The RTM also has the power to enact ordinances, to decide which projects receive municipal improvement status (required on every funded project) and to approve all nominations to town boards and commissions. If MAGA extremists take over the RTM, they will have gone a long way to taking over
control of our town government.

The only way to prevent the MAGA take-over of the RTM is to vote in favor of incumbents and petition candidates who will put our town first. These candidates will be Republicans, Democrats and independent members who will support rational budgets to fix the problems identified by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Greenwich (LWV) Capital Projects Study and to appoint the best people to boards and commissions. The stealth candidates recruited to serve the MAGA movement are running under the oxymoronic phrase “common sense Greenwich” or “sensible Greenwich.” The daunting task facing voters is to identify who to choose among the 334 candidates for the 230-member body. The ballots in each district will list only names not candidate affiliations. No doubt secret lists will be circulated by the RTC/Greenwich Patriots to identify their chosen MAGA candidates.

We actually know that RTC/Greenwich Patriots have taken the Town Clerk’s data listing the names of voters requesting Absentee Ballots and have sent emails to those people listing MAGA-recommended candidates.

The only way to counter that strategy is to publish and circulate a list of non-MAGA candidates in each district who will truly put our interests first and defeat the MAGA takeover of the RTM.

An educated electorate is our best hope for a bright future for our town.

We urge you to educate yourself by reviewing the RTM candidate information and responses for your Voter District on (access via LWV website or directly) and then cast your votes on Tuesday, November 7, for RTM candidates who do not represent extreme ultra-right views.

And vote carefully for every public office.

Evaluate the candidates on their positions, their records and true allegiances.

NOTE: Deadline to submit letters to the editor about candidates in Greenwich’s municipal elections is Oct 30, 2023 at 12:00noon.