After months of planning, coordinating, cajoling and campaigning, everything culminated in yesterday’s municipal election. As of now, it appears I lost by three votes; close enough to trigger one of four recounts, but I doubt the results will change.
I was at the polls by 6 a.m. ready for the gauntlet. By the time the doors closed, I had been there over nine of the fourteen hours, said hi to friends, neighbors, and people I recall chatting with as I walked the district.
The gauntlet between parking lot and poll seemed thicker this year as Board of Ed candidates or their designees were on hand along with the usual RTM candidates. The Democrats had a somewhat larger showing than the Republicans and we all mingled collegially as the hours wore on. We were visited by State Senator John McKinney, State Reps Tony Hwang and Brenda Kupchick, and even retiring RTM majority leader Jamie Millington stopped by. Of the three running for First Selectman, only Michael Tetreau, turned up.
District 8 has proven to be a volatile swing district. In 2007 there were five Democrats on the RTM, in 2009 there were five Republicans in a clean sweep, and this year it appears a split with three Rs and two Ds. I need to see the certified tallies to try and divine meaning from the votes.
D8 apparently has also developed quite a rep for its fabulous 5th Grade bake sale so people from around town came just to buy baked goods. I certainly indulged a bit to support the cause.
Thankfully, the sun was out and the air warm, making it a beautiful day for an election. Turnout was light but steady throughout most of the day, getting busier after working hours ended. In the final minutes, there was a rush even as one woman, kids in tow, ran in saying, “I was already in my pajamas when I realized what day it was.”
On Friday, a letter in the Connecticut Post took me to task for my vote in 2008 over the disposition of the Turner Army Center, which was being offered to the town. Similarly, at 5:30 on Monday evening, a note went out to the Gould Manor Neighborhood Association distorting my role in the Turner site and the Little League’s plan to renovate the ball fields at the local park. It was too late for me to properly respond to either but it’s clear that there’s a segment of the district that dislikes what I have done and has decided to work against me. Did their efforts cost me the election? Maybe. One friend told me Monday night, “They weren’t going to vote for you anyway” and she may be right.
Still, after waiting nearly 30 minutes for the results to be posted, it was crushing to see that my efforts weren’t enough, coming in sixth out of ten. Later I learned that factoring in absentee ballots, I fell short by three votes. I was disheartened but congratulated the winners present then called in the results to HQ. I arrived at Fairfield Cafe and it was bittersweet. I was happy for those who won, especially some who worked far harder than I did. I was also sad to see others, equally deserving of consideration, be shut out by demographics. As Vice Chair, I was interviewed live on Channel 12, trying to put the some meaning behind the results even as the continued to pour in. I hope I sounded cogent.
After two defeats, will I run again? Too early to tell. I still feel it important to give back to the town and will see if the new administration has a board or commission where I can do some good.