The Unhappy Recap

Yesterday, I arrived at Holland Hill Elementary School just before 6 a.m. and set up signs on my car and prepared the handouts, otherwise known as palm cards, to help remind voters of their options. The Republican challengers were doing the same.

At 6, the door opened and the voting began. Throughout the next 14 hours, various combinations of RTM candidates and town wide candidates from both sides formed a gauntlet that as many voters skirted as endured.

We were all polite to the voters and to each other and the sun shone brightly, making for an ideal day for people to turn out. Being an off-year election, without a First Selectman race, people thought there’d be a low turnout. According to this morning’s numbers, slightly over 27% of district 8’s 3927 registered voters turned out, casting 1078 votes.

When I was not at the polls, I was at my desk, and managed to accomplish more work than I thought I could. Still, I was anxious and was back before my final shift was scheduled to begin. By then, I was growing concerned because the Republican candidates seemed to be favored by way of how they were greeted by folks coming to vote.

Finally, at 8, the polls closed and several of us from both sides sat at a table, awaiting the computerized tallies. Finally, around 8:20, one of the proctors came over and read the results from the top down. It was beginning to be clear more Republicans turned out and with the unaffiliated voters, were voting together.

When Pat Jacobson, a longtime, popular public servant, got a meager showing for her run for Town Planning & Zoning, we knew a rout was underway. Finally, the RTM votes were read aloud. I cannot be certain who was more shocked and stunned, the Republicans who swept us or the incumbents who were suddenly tossed out of office.

By the time I arrived at the post-Election Party, it was a wake. The Republicans had stronger than expected showings across town. Our RTM majority went from 28-22 to a 38-12 minority. On the big screens around us, CNN was showing this was a national phenomenon.

This morning, analysts cite “economic discontent” as the main reason moderate Republicans and independents turned out in high numbers and caused a seismic sweep.

I await the final tallies and the demographic breakdowns from our Registrar of Voters before figuring out what really happened. My guess is, not enough Democrats felt motivated to come out, while unhappy Republicans and Indies saw a chance for change.

At the local level, I find this frustrating. There was no divisive issue charging the town debate. And when it comes to Fairfield issues, the people and not the party ideologies should matter most. Instead, people vote for party and not the merits of the individual candidates.

I am deeply disappointed by the results, the turnout, and the fact that I will no longer be able to serve.  Once the wounds are licked, I’ll focus instead on the writing and see how the town fairs under the new management.

For the 388 of you who voted for me, thank you. I am deeply indebted to the Democratic Town Committee for their training, the support, and the opportunity to run. For everyone else who has been in touch, I appreciate your kind notes.

10 comments

  • Terpette

    Sorry to hear this, Bob. And I do wonder at people who are voting Republican because of “economic discontent”. Do they not realize that the national Republican leadership of the last 8 years got us into this mess in the first place??!?

  • Mara

    Bob I knew you by name only before this campaign. But a few nights when we were both at HQ, both doing our thing, I listened to you and watched you work. No bull – I thought to myself, “I am glad this guy is on the town board”.
    I am sad that you will no longer able to serve the town in the same way, but I know there will be other ways that FFld will benefit from your experience and talents.

    It is just like Republicans to trash the house and then blame the people who are brought in to clean up the manure.

    Let the rebuilding begin!

  • Wow. I’m sorry about this. I’ve been enjoying the fact that we were both public servants for our towns.

    I expect you’ll run next year, yes?

  • Duane

    I am most hurt by the low turnout. It disgusts me in fact. 27% is inexcusable, but then again I see no justification for even 50%. 75% should be the minimum and even that we should be embarrassed by. Voters often complain about candidates pandering for their vote, but when so few turn out what does a candidate owe a voter beyond pandering?

    But chin up, Bob. This is not an indictment against any of us. Rather it’s a fickle lot having no alternative to vent their frustration against. In two years these same voters will be beside themselves when finding the same budgetary problems exist. And to whom will they turn then?

    While I do believe in Democracy,it seems sometimes that self-government is too important a thing to be left to the people it serves.

  • Wendy Saunders

    Sigh. Every time I protest that the people are smarter than the pols give them credit for, the people do something completely stupid. Like not realizing that Obama’s been in office for just 10 months. Hello? Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will Dubya’s policies take a just a few months to recover from. These are the people who will vote “Palin in ’12”! and tout her international experience (looking at Russia from her front yard) as a the reason to elect her.

    You will be missed, and soon!

  • Dave G

    “While I do believe in Democracy,it seems sometimes that self-government is too important a thing to be left to the people it serves.”

    Um…. ? Don’t be scary.

  • Bob,

    I’m sorry for the loss, I’m sorry for the lack of turnout.

    Wishing you well with whatever’s next on this front.

  • I’m so sorry! In our town, too, painfully few voted and I wondered if those who did had read up at all on the issues. But at least the one very badly-written measure got shot down.

  • Ralph B

    Both sides were suprised by the election results. Lost were good public servants who had no agenda but to do the right thing. You were one of those servants.

  • JimK

    Bob you’re the most public-spirited person I know. If you want to serve again, I’m sure more people will come out next time and you will be victorious.

    Look at your industry– the best public servants often take it on the chin. Spiderman gets lousy press. Steve Rogers, not Tony Stark, gets whacked on the courthouse steps. And don’t get me started about how Townsville turns on The Powerpuff Girls at the drop of a hat …

    Whether it’s the Marvel Universe, the DC Universe or the Fairfield Universe, justice must prevail. Eventually the emerald ring of power will be placed again on the finger of the true and rightful guardian of District 8–the Hal Jordan of Jennings Road, The Affable Bob Greenberger!

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