Can’t sleep. It’s either the Claritin or the anticipation of the day ahead. I can hear the steady patter of rain outside and think it was genius of me not to sign up to do the first shift at the polls.
The campaign season kicked off around Labor Day and ends tonight. Every weekend and several weekdays I was out and about in my neighborhood, by myself or with fellow candidates. We knocked on doors; spoke to people both happy and upset with the state of Fairfield. We listened, we answered questions, and we explained our positions. Often, no one was home and we just left behind a brochure. All too often, we had to educate the home owner on what the Representative Town Meeting is, or how the government in Fairfield works so if they’re annoyed about overdevelopment, they should focus on the Town Planning and Zoning candidates and not blame the Board of Selectmen.
Largely, we heard satisfied or very positive noises. Our competition, three Republicans running for the five seats in our district, seemed to lay low. No evidence of mailings, lawn signs or them also going door-to-door. Heck, two of them didn’t even include their phones in the Republican ticket mailing.
We respected the district’s long-standing tradition of not doing lawn signs and were pleased the Republicans did as well. Instead, we took a nice group shot of the five Democratic candidates and turned it into a post card which people received around Halloween. We have extras and will use that as a hand out today at the polls.
I’ll be there for eight of the fourteen hours the polls are open but am up now, actually getting some freelance obligations out of the way to be fair to my employers.
Just finished my four hour shift and I must be getting old, my lower back is really bothering me. The rain let up now and then and the temperature remained in the low 50s so it was cool but manageable. My umbrella seems to be wearing out as I got wet despite holding it most of the time.
The turn out was light but steady and with six hours down, over 540 votes in the district had been cast. Most seemed okay with the new optical voting machines although many felt it was a slower process. We stood there greeting and thanking voters, handing out our material and making the best of a tough situation. The Democrats kept the schedule we worked out allowing us to come and go fairly promptly. Our opponents though, seemed a little under-manned and way off schedule so a poor woman from District 10 was stuck for five hours covering District 8 and had to be relieved by her father, who happened to be running for Selectman. Never met Ralph Bowley before and he was genuinely nice to chat with.
At this point, none of us has a clue of the rain will dampen turn out and if so will that be better or worse for one side or the other. When it comes to town politics, it’s so hard to know.
Now I’m warming up, tending to work and some rest before heading back at 4.
All five of us in District 8 won by a wide margin.
The skies had cleared and the sun came out by the time I returned to the polls. However, the temperature also started to drop so by the third hour, it was definitely chilly just standing there. I saw neighbors and friends and I got to meet several key Republicans during that time, including John Nelson, the First Selectman candidate, and our state rep, John McKinney.
Robbie stopped by to vote, en route to work, and dropped off a sandwich for dinner. Deb came by later with gloves. It was getting chillier and the voters were dwindling in number. By 7:45, we were allowed into the polls to take the results when they were ready. Since these were the new voting machines, it was a new process for all concerned. It seems to have worked just fine and by 8:30 we were given the tallies. First, I was thrilled that the turn out in the district was well over the town average and I got over 50% of the vote.
From there, I joyously stopped at the house to collect Deb and Rob and then it was off to the Beach Café for the party. While there, the results continued to trickle in and we were shocked as some favorite sons lost seats but overall, it was a strong night for the Democrats. If the final numbers hold up, and as I write this one district was being recounted and absentee ballots in another were being tallied, the RTM majority increases from 26-24 to 27-23 in favor of our party.
Next step will be letting the dust settle then begin leadership discussions to see which Democrats will lead the party going into the next term. With the swearing in on November 19, we have plenty of work to do in a short time.
And now to bed.