Election night in Greenwich featured happy outcomes for several Democratic candidates.
DTC chair Joe Angland said the Democratic volunteer effort had been heroic.
“Tonight we celebrate. Tonight, it is ‘Heck, yes,'” Angland said in a nod to Hector Arzeno’s win in the 151st district against Republican opponent, former BOE member and chair, Peter Sherr. “And a return to sanity.”
“The last five days alone, we started with a Get Out The Vote poll list of 3060 people. The question was how many of them we would get through, and the answer was 100%.”
“Today at 1:00pm, we started calling people who had not made it to the polls to say, ‘Where are you?’ and there were 2,000 of them. We got pretty close to calling all of them.”
Over in Byram where Republicans gathered at George Italian Seafood & Steakhouse, RTC chair Beth McGillavray said the party had galvanized their base.
But, she said, “The results were not quite what we expected. The numbers tell a different story. The electorate in town has changed with an influx of Democrats. It has shifted the majority. The Republicans are now the minority party since 2018.”
She noted the Republicans had a 71% turnout versus a 63% turnout among Democrats.
Ms MacGillivray said Fiorello, “took a lot of bullets from people, but with tremendous grace.”
She thanked State Rep candidate Ed Lopez. “A great husband and wife team. He served in the RTM for many moons.”
She also thanked Peter Sherr: “He’s got the boundless energy, a political mind and he cares deeply about education and reform.”
“The glass is half full. We have just gotten started,” MacGillivray continued. “Connecticut has a long way to go turn our 47th ranked state around. We need your muscle. We can be the heroes of Connecticut.”
By around 11:00pm, local election results sent Democrats into frenzied shouts of joy.
The good news for Democrats started with a comfortable win for incumbent and lone Democrat in the Greenwich Delegation, Steve Meskers in the 150th, whose district runs along the shoreline.
“I have spent four years as the sole Democrat in the delegation,” Meskers said. “In the past two years, the message seems to have been lost about diversity, equity and inclusion, to a point that horrified me. And the violence in the message in opposition scared me about where my town is.”
Beyond Meskers win, a victory for Democrat Hector Arzeno in the 151st, which is known as a Republican district, a win was uncertain.
For Arzeno, it took took two tries to achieve his successful result. His last go, he was defeated by Republican Harry Arora, who had originally won in a special election against Cheryl Moss when Fred Camillo became First Selectman and vacated that seat.
In this race, Mr. Camillo endorsed Mr. Sherr, whose loss included his own district. Camillo also endorsed incumbent Kimberly Fiorello as a champion for local control of zoning, but she was unsuccessful as well.
Probably the biggest moment of the night for Democrats was Rachel Khanna’s upset against Ms Fiorello, outsing her from her job after a single term.
State Rep Meskers welcomed the two new members of the Greenwich Delegation with humor.
Teasing Arzeno, he said, “I was the first Democrat since 1912, and tonight we find out Hector is the first Democrat ever.”
He went on to call Khanna the less extroverted of the trio.
“I saw the effort she made, the intelligence she brought, and I was so impressed,” Meskers said. “I think that message, particularly in that district, gives me hope that joy comes in the morning, and you will help bring it to us.”
Meskers said he was hopeful for Trevor Crow, State Senate candidate in the 36th district.
“Our fingers are crossed for Trevor,” Mr. Angland said. “She’s within the recount zone. We’ll find out how you activate the recount mechanism.”
Ms Crow, whose vote tally continued to update during her remarks, narrowed a gap of about 776 votes between her and State Senator Ryan Fazio, to just 64 votes.
Crow said campaigning had been fun, “but a little bit scary.”
“I stepped into this race because of women’s reproductive rights. We lost a constitutional right in June, and that is not okay,” she said. “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, (and to) Matt Blumenthal and HB 5414 (Connecticut Reproductive Freedom Defense Act). We are the Safe Haven state.”
Hector Arzeno thanked both Democrats and those outside the party who he said believed in his message and supported his campaign.
He also thanked letter writers, especially Allison Kahn whose letter talked about society’s inherent humanity.
He vowed to work for all his constituents with the same passion and commitment he brought to the RTM when he became a member three years earlier.
Ms Khanna credited her all female campaign team for her having won the seat in what she described as a solidly Republican district.
“Being a candidate is a 24-7 job that demands every ounce of emotional and physical strength you can muster,” she added. “Tonight we restored, reason, facts and accountability to the 149th district. I am energized and ready to head to Hartford and join the Governor and my fellow Democrats in making Connecticut an even better place to live, work raise a family and retire for everyone.”
“It wasn’t our night,” Mr. Sherr said. “It’s very clear to me now – everyone said to me along the way that the 151st district was a Republican district….But when I looked at the numbers I never believed that. And it’s clear that our district has taken quite a left turn.”
“One of the unfortunate messages of tonight is that negative campaigning works,” Sherr said, adding, he was proud of having run a clean, positive campaign.
“The reason I did it that way is because at the end of the day in Greenwich, we’re all neighbors, and we need to look at each other and see each other on the soccer fields. And we need to see each other in Dunkin Donuts in Cos Cob, and it’s really important to preserve the fabric that makes this community an amazing place.”
Mr. Sherr said he still believed in Connecticut.
“I have historically been unwilling to do what others have done, which is abandon the state, and move on to freer and more economic thriving places.”
For her part, Fiorello gave an emotional speech about changing expectations and longer term goals.
“What I would tell all of you guys, and I tell myself, and of course it’s what we tell our kids, which is that life is a longer journey, and what are we here to fight for? What are we here in the first place for? It’s not about a State Rep seat. It’s about what brought us together in the first place, which is why o we want to save Connecticut.”
“You have a goal, which is to be free people, living in a free country,” she added. “You can’t expect to win every skirmish in a war, but you can expect to win the war. And we will win the ultimate battle which is to fight for our rights and principles and to protect our country.”
She added that there was a lot to learn from losing. “The people we admire are all people who have faltered at times.”
Mr. Fazio was not present to make remarks; Ms McGillavray said spoke on his behalf.
“It looks pretty official Ryan Fazio will be our Senator. He thanks everybody. He’s sorry he can’t be here,” she said as several people shouted, ‘Where is he?’
After the event, Fazio sent GFP an email around 12:45am saying, “After spending the evening with our campaign team counting all votes across the district, I am confident we have won. Under state law, we expect the margin to trigger an automatic recount. Regardless, we are confident in the result…”
In a second email he elaborated, saying, “We were on the phone with the Stamford DTC and compared results after midnight. The final tally that both our side and theirs verified is over a 100-vote advantage for the Fazio campaign.”
“There will be a recount according to state law. We are confident that will hold.”