Post election preview: Greenwich set to vote on Tuesday

When the polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the race for first selectman will lead the ballots, but it’s down-ticket races that will have Greenwich political observers keeping a close eye.

Throughout the state, voting will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. A list of polling places by district so you will know where you should go is available through the town’s website Greenwichct.org/Government/Departments/Voter_Registration/.

First Selectman Peter Tesei, a Republican, is running for his fourth term in Greenwich’s top elected office. After three landslide victories, Mr. Tesei is looking for a fourth and is expected to carry the day in what could well be a low-turnout election. Beth Krumeich is leading the Greenwich Democrats into the race and is expected to get strong support from within the party, but with Republicans still enjoying a clear advantage over Democrats in terms of voter registration, Mr. Tesei is thought to have the decided advantage.

Independent Jim C. Reilly is running again for first selectman as well after doing a write-in campaign in 2011. He is on the ballot this time.

For the two selectmen positions, both Selectmen David Theis, a Republican, and Drew Marzullo, a Democrat, are running for their third terms. The two men are technically running against each other but have both served on the board together the past four years, with Mr. Theis winning the elections in 2009 and 2011. Under Greenwich election law, the top three vote getters end up on the Board of Selectmen, so Ms. Krumeich could conceivably knock either Mr. Theis or Mr. Marzullo off the board. However, the current board is expected to remain in place for the next two years.

In contrast to the low-volume Board of Selectmen race, the contest for the Board of Education is expected to garner a lot of attention on Tuesday. Each party has three candidates running for two spots on the eight-person board, which is split evenly with four Republicans and four Democrats. The Democratic Town Committee has endorsed Samarpana Tamm and Debbie Appelbaum, and Laura Erickson successfully petitioned her way onto the ballot as well, as a Democrat.

But it’s the Republican race that has garnered the most interest in town. Incumbent board member Peter Sherr did not receive the Republican Town Committee’s endorsement over the summer, but he got enough signatures to petition his way onto the ballot. Republicans Brian Peldunas and Peter Bernstein are the party’s endorsed candidates, and the race has become contentious in recent weeks, with Mr. Sherr’s colleagues, including board Chairman Leslie Moriarty, writing letters supporting Mr. Peldunas and Mr. Bernstein.

The Post has run candidate profile pieces of all six candidates in its Oct. 10, 17, 24, and 31 editions. An archive of those profiles is available online at Greenwich-post.com.

The race for the Board of Estimate and Taxation has also gotten more attention than it typically does. While there are no competitive races on the 12-person board, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, Democrats are making a push for their slate. The party that gets the most collective votes for the BET may pick the chairman, which means in Greenwich it’s traditionally a Republican board. This year, though, Democrats are looking for voter support on a platform of allowing for responsible long-term borrowing, which they say will allow critical capital projects to be paid for now without putting the burden on current taxpayers. Republicans have responded by saying this would saddle future residents with debt, and they are calling for the town to maintain its modified pay-as-you-go practices.

One more race that is looking very competitive is the one for tax collector. Incumbent Republican Tod Laudonia is running for a third term but is being challenged by Democrat Rick Novakowski. Mr. Novakowski has gained bipartisan support from town Republicans and independents, but it is unknown if it will be enough to close the gap and overcome Mr. Laudonia’s Republican advantage.

The one high municipal office that is not being contested is town clerk. Incumbent Town Clerk Carmella Budkins, wildly popular on a bipartisan level in town, is running for an 11th term unopposed.

A sample ballot for Greenwich is available online through the Connecticut secretary of the state’s office at Sots.ct.gov/sots/lib/sots/electionservices/town_ballots/2013/greenwich.pdf. After ending up on Row B during the 2011 municipal elections, Greenwich Republicans are back on Row A this year. The top row assignment is given to the party that won the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial race. And while Democrat Dannel Malloy was elected in 2010, the Republicans ended up getting more votes than the Democrats because of how many people voted for Mr. Malloy on the Working Families party line.

Republicans were able to successfully win a court challenge to have Row A restored to them in Connecticut.

And if you haven’t yet registered to vote, don’t panic. Connecticut is beginning same day registration this year, meaning that you can register to vote on Tuesday and still cast your ballot then. Registration can take place at Town Hall.

On Tuesday night, check Greenwich-post.com and Twitter.com/greenwichpost for all the latest updates and returns from Greenwich’s municipal elections.

 

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