UPDATE: Recount for Greenwich Board of Education Race Announced

Update: Following the close outcome in the Board of Education race that saw Republican candidate Cody Kittle achieved 36 more votes than Megan Galletta late Tuesday night a recount was announced.

There were three Republican candidates for two spots on the board and Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony received the most votes overall with 9,276, Cody Kittle had 8,336 and Megan Galletta had 8,300.

On Wednesday evening, Greenwich Registrar of Voters Fred DeCaro on behalf of Head Moderator Sharon Vecchiolla, notified Greenwich Board of Education candidates that there would be a recount on Thursday morning at 8:00am in the Town Hall meeting room. DeCaro said at that time there would be, “a recanvass of the returns of the polling place ballots and absentee ballots and EDR (election day registration) ballots.”

Original Story: While, earlier in the evening Republicans had a clean sweep at the polls, returning First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Lauren Rabin, as well as tax collector Heather Smeriglio to second terms, and awarding enough votes to the slate of six BET candidates that they will continue to hold the tie breaking vote, the BOE race was a close call.

Close to midnight on Tuesday, the nail biting in Greenwich came to an end when the Secretary of the State Head Moderator’s Return shared results.

While endorsed Republican candidate for Board of Education Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony had the most votes overall with 9,276, there was a neck and neck race between the other two endorsed Republican candidates, Cody Kittle and Megan Galletta that came down to just 36 votes.

Ultimately Mr. Kittle won a seat on the Board of Education, with 8,336 votes to Galletta’s 8,300.

Galletta’s lawn signs flooded the town over the past week, featuring the slogan, “Your voice for your kids.”

She had spoken strongly against Social-Emotional Learning, and said the district needed to be more transparent about curriculum. She said parents needed a chance to review curriculum in advance, ideally the summer before a school year. She also opposed mask mandates for school children during the ongoing pandemic.

In the penultimate BOE candidate debate, when it was her turn to respond to a question about curriculum she pivoted to mask wearing. Holding a large index card in front of her lower face, she said, “I believe there should be choice and it should be up to parents to determine if their children should be wearing a mask or not.”

Last Friday she canceled her participation in the GHS We the People debate at the last minute, citing a work conflict.

Ms Galletta shared a treasurer, John Galletta, with write in candidate Kara Philbin, who earned 1,493 votes.

Galletta’s ubiquitous signs and cards handed out on election day, highlighted the absence of signs for Mr. Kittle.

Galletta’s candidacy was controversial as she had the support of the local group Greenwich Patriots. During a candidate debate that featured a speed round of questions to which candidates held up a Yes, No or Unsure response, Galletta hesitated before replying with Unsure when asked whether she supported the views of the Greenwich Patriots. The other four candidates all replied with No.

The Democratic BOE candidates were guaranteed their seats. Kathleen Stowe got 8,328 votes. Laura Kostin got 8,065 votes.

Other election results, according to the Secretary of the State Head Moderator’s Return:

First Selectman
Fred Camillo, Republican, 10,794
Bill Kelly, Democrat, 4,894

Lauren Rabin, Repubican, 9,923
Janet Stone McGuigan, Democrat, 6,322

Town Clerk
Jackie Budkins, Repubican, 8,977
Mollly Saleeby, Democrat, 7,290

Tax Collector
Heather Smeriglio, Republican, 9,855
Trevor Crow, Democrat, 6,249

Board of Estimate and Taxation
Leslie Moriarty: 7,493
Laura Erickson, 7,332
Miriam Kreuzer, 6,925
Stephen Selbst, 6,699
Jeff Ramer, 6,845
David Weisbrod, 6,869

Karen Fassuliotis, 8,501
Lesie Tarkington, 8,489
Michael Basham, 8,234
Nisha Arora, 8323
Dan Ozizmir, 8,272
Bill Drake, 8,485

Board of Assessment Appeals
William Grad, Democrat, 6,540
Howard Richman, Democrat, 6,550
Joseph Huley, Democrat, 6,156
Christopher “Kit” Mill, Republican, 8,079
Jeff Reardon, Republican, 8,548
Mark Pruner, Republican, 8,796

Dawn Fortunato, Democrat, 7,214
Donnie Romeo, Democrat, 6,938
John Thompson, Republican, 8,207
Martin Blanco, Republican, 7,795
Charles “Eddie” Thivierge, Republican, 7,531
Donna Maloney, Republican, 8,621

Stamford Mayoral Race

Meanwhile, in Stamford another race that wasn’t called until late in the evening was between Democratic State Rep Caroline Simmons, 35, from the 44th district, and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine, 71, who ran as an unaffiliated candidate. Both vied to replace Democratic Mayor David Martin in that city.

The in person ballots yielded a 125 vote margin favoring Simmons. But around 11pm Valentine said there were 6,000 absentee ballots to be counted.

An hour later Valentine conceded the race.

Simmons, who has served as State Rep since 2014, is expecting her third child with he husband former Republican State Senator Art Linares. She is originally from Greenwich, and attended Greenwich Academy before heading to Harvard. She later worked in the Department of Homeland Security. She will be the City of Stamford’s first female mayor.

There was some controversy around a remark Mr. Valentine made during an interview with The Associated Press, last week referring to Simmons as a “35-year-old girl.”

“There’s no chance of a 35-year-old girl who grew up in a private setting, going to a private school in Greenwich, Connecticut, could possibly relate to the diverse culture of Stamford, Connecticut, better than I do, no matter what the age is,” Valentine said.

After Simmons voiced outrage at the comment, calling it misogynistic and offensive, Valentine tried to explain his remarks.

“If I offended anyone by mentioning her hometown or that she was referred to as a girl when she was in high school, I totally apologize for that,” he said.

But that was not the only remark that got landed him in hot water. Similarly he tried to explain comments he made about the city’s residents who are renters.

“If you’re not owning, you’re not caring,” he said. “I don’t mind having people in our city who are just renters, but I know that of those 10,000 new people who came here over the last six years and are renting in our community, I know that they’re not leaving the community better than when they got here.”

Later he said his remarks had been taken out of context, saying, “I was trying to make the point that we need more housing that’s not only affordable, but that’s livable; that we also need to tell our contractors to find a way to incentivize them to build things that you can own. I understand renting. I’ve been a renter, I’ve also been a landlord. It’s a way of life in this city, it always will be, and I respect that.”

The contest garnered national attention. Former Republican President George W. Bush, who was a managing partner of the Rangers when the team fired Valentine as its manager, donated $500 to Valentine’s campaign.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama endorsed Ms Simmons.

See also: Clean Sweep for Republicans in Greenwich Municipal Elections Nov 2, 2021