Greenwich RTC Primaries – Good Night for the Old Guard

March 5 was Super Tuesday, the day when the largest number of states held presidential primaries or caucuses. But in Greenwich it was primary day in Greenwich with contests for seats on the RTC in five districts 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9.

The primaries boiled down to a battle between a group of candidates endorsed by Greenwich First Selectman Camillo some called the “old guard,” and slates endorsed by the current RTC leadership.

The key to victory reflected the team with the most motivated voters, and motivation was important given it poured rain all day.

By the time the polls closed the turnout was an astounding 37.35% with 1771 of the 4742 eligible registered Republicans having turned out.

Bruising Campaigns

The build-up to the primaries was charactized by sharp words on social media, as well as door knocking, mailers, emails, texts, websites, and more letters to the editor than there was space to publish.

The RTC leadership and First Selectman Fred Camillo, who served as the RTC chair himself from 2002 to 2006, engaged in a war of words in the media and on social media.

In one op-ed published in the Greenwich Sentinel, Camillo said after the November caucuses, the current RTC leadership decided to petition for primaries after they realized that they had not won enough votes to retain their leadership positions.

He said while that was their right, he objected to “poisonous atmosphere, poorly run meetings, unprofessional conduct, and most importantly for a town committee, the worst performance in the 163 year record of the Greenwich GOP.”

On X (formerly Twitter), Camillo tagged the Greenwich Republicans to say, “With the exceptions of a couple people, most of you cowards who can’t even put your name on these posts think that you’re gaining support, People reading this laugh at you, and your dismal, electoral record. Identify yourself, volunteer, and win a couple races, then engage.

In response the Republicans posted on X, “When you’ve got Republicans like Fred, who needs Democrats?

On WGCH radio, former BOE chair Joe Kelly referred to “the old guard” and the “new guard.” Saying he was a Republican for 40 years who had never voted for a Democrat in his life, and was known for working collaboratively with Democratic BOE members when he was chair. He said it had been a “rocky road” as BOE chair, where he had “limited communication and little cooperation” with the Republican leadership.

It was a battle between folks who referred to being united versus those who use the word ‘uni-party’ pejoratively, referring to Republicans working with or compromising with Democrats.

The discord has been palpable, including as one local Republican said in an LTE, unwelcoming RTC meetings where non-Republicans and reporters were required to identify themselves, and leaders on the dias referred to fellow Republicans as “traitors.”


The dust still hadn’t settled as of Wednesday morning because according to the Registrars office, there will be mandatory recounts in districts 2 and 8 due to the close votes. Those are the two districts where primaries were initiated by slates opposed to the current leadership.

District 2 and district 8, where caucus results heavily favored the RTC-endorsed slates, with the exception of former BOE chair Joe Kelly was the sole non-RTC endorsed candidate elected.

Almost the opposite was true in districts 4, 5 and 9 where the results heavily favored non-RTC endorsed slates. These were districts where the RTC initiated primaries, precipitating the entire process.

District by District

RTC vice chair Joe Montanaro appears to be the top vote-getter in district 8, with 320 votes. His entire slate appear to have held fast – Michael DeVita, Joe Solari, Phil Dodson and Gail Lauridsen and Blazej Cichy – with more votes than any of the non-RTC endorsed team.

In district 2 Joe Kelly was the top vote getter with 159 votes. And it appears his non-RTC endorsed slate were all top vote getters: Scott Diddel, Jill Kelly, and both Jill and Nick Barile.

In district 4, former State Rep in the 150th district, Mike Bocchino was top vote getter with 126 votes, along with fellow non-RTC endorsed candidates, Andrea Blume, Paul Cappiali, Josh Brown and Vicky Cappiali.

In district 5, former BET member Andy Duus was top vote getter with 220 votes, along with the other non-RTC endorsed candidates Jerry Cincotta, Marc Johnson, Paul Olmstead and Michael Hahn.

In district 9, Selectwoman Lauren Rabin was the top vote getter with 247 votes and her entire slate – Barbara Darula, Patty DeFelice, Stephen Warzoha, Carol Zarrili and Pam Pagnani – were all winners.

Leadership Elections

As the dust settles it appears Mr. Camillo’s full court press made a difference.

As it turns out, four of the five caucus results were reaffirmed, but the difference was in district 2, where the RTC lost 4 seats to insurgent Republicans.

The RTC is now essentially a split caucus between Camillo-backed members and RTC hardliners. This will play itself out in the upcoming leadership elections and candidate nominations.

This is all significant because the town committees endorse candidates to be the nominees in municipal elections and elections for state offices.

But in the short run, the primaries may have benefited State Senator Ryan Fazio (36th district). A leadership change will likely cement Fazio’s nomination and clear a path for Tina Courpas to become the candidate for State Rep in the 149th district to challenge Democrat Rachel Khanna.

Hold onto your hats!

Unofficial results from the Registrar’s office March 5, 2024:

Slates circulated for RTC-endorsed and non-RTC endorsed slates prior to March 5:

RTC-endorsed slates

Non-RTC endorsed slates

See also:

March 5 Greenwich RTC Primary: “These things do happen on occasion”

Non-RTC endorsed slates