As Democrats nominate slate, Paulmeno stands for first selectman, but for how long?

Greenwich Democrats have a candidate for first selectman but she insists it’s only temporary.

At the tale end of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee’s nominating convention on Thursday, Stephanie Paulmeno, a registered nurse and former town employee at the health department and The Nathaniel Witherell, agreed to allow her name be placed on the ballot. However, this is only being done as a procedural move to keep someone from outside the party from taking the Democratic spot on the fall ballot.

Ms. Paulmeno is expected to only remain on the ballot until Sept. 1 after which it would be impossible for anyone to run as a petition candidate on the Democratic spot. It also gives town Democrats six more weeks to try and either find another candidate or convince Ms. Paulmeno, who lost last year in a race against State Rep. Stephen Walko (R-150th), to remain as the candidate. However, Ms. Paulmeno was insistent on Thursday night that this was only temporary and she did not want to run against heavily favored Republican incumbent First Selectman Peter Tesei.

Mr. Tesei is seeking a fourth term this fall and at the party’s convention on Thursday, no Democrats initially stepped forward despite pleas from Democratic Town Committee Chairman Frank Farricker for volunteers. It was only at the very end of the meeting that Ms. Paulmeno agreed to what she said was a temporary solution. An effort to convince her to stay on the ballot, though, is already underway.

The DTC did renominate Selectman Drew Marzullo unanimously for a third term. Additionally it nominated two Board of Education and six Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) candidates. The DTC renominated five incumbents, Bill Finger, Jeffrey Ramer, Sean Goldrick, Mary Lee Kiernan and Randall Huffman. John Blankley will be the one newcomer on the board. A showdown of seven Democrats seeking six spots was averted when Mr. Farricker, who had been seeking a spot on the board, withdrew his name during the nominating speeches, receiving a standing ovation for his gesture.

Out of four potential Board of Education candidates, the DTC chose Samarpana Tamm and Debbie Appelbaum. Ms. Tamm, an RTM member from Byram, was the top vote getter with 40 DTC members supporting her. Ms. Appelbaum, a former PTA president at all three school levels, came in second with 32, just enough to capture a majority and avoid a second ballot. Rebecca Steinfeld had 28 votes and Laura Erickson got 17.

Ms. Erickson said during the meeting that if she failed to get the party’s nomination she was open towards seeking a petition candidacy. However after the vote on Thursday she said no decisions have been made. She will likely make a decision soon and in order to get on the ballot she would only need 78 signatures from registered Democrats by Aug. 11.

The DTC nominated its two candidates for the Board of Education after a back and forth debate on whether to have two or four candidates. Ultimately the members voted by a 34-28 margin, with one abstention, to limit it to two candidates, citing concerns that having four candidates would allow Republicans in town to pick their preferred Democrats in the fall election.

Ms. Steinfeld indicated she would not seek a petition candidacy.

Democrats will also field a candidate for tax collector. Rick Novakowski will challenge two-term incumbent Tod Laudonia in the fall. The party did not put forth a candidate for town clerk.

There will be more coverage in the July 25 edition of the Post.

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