Looking at Election 2014’s winners and losers

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisThe election’s over. The voters have spoken and now their representatives begin the task of governing.

We owe all candidates, whether or not elected, our gratitude. They put themselves into the public domain presenting their vision and are exposed to criticism as they try to make life better for us. Their willingness to engage is what makes democracy work.

All elections have winners and losers beyond the candidates, and I thought it would be fun to show off my choices in these categories post-election 2014.

Winner: Greenwich Republican Party. Greenwich Republicans were strongly challenged for two state representative seats. After 149th District candidate Marc Abrams withdrew due to his sexual harassment scandal, Democrats were even more motivated to win the 150th. Ultimately, Republican Mike Bocchino prevailed. The 4% margin was closer than local Republicans are accustomed to, but their ability to pull together, effectively mustering their resources, validates the party’s enduring strength.

Loser: Connecticut Republican Party. Connecticut Republicans, for the fourth straight election, failed to elect anyone statewide or to Congress. Recriminations are flying now but, as tempers cool, state Republicans have the arduous task of developing and implementing a winning strategy advancing Republican goals in cities, suburbs and rural areas. Can they do it?

Winner: Negative advertising. While citizens bemoan it, negative advertising works. That’s a big reason Tom Foley lost. He was up 7% before the onslaught of negative advertising ended with him losing by 3%. Expect more negative campaigns until citizens start voting against candidates proffering them.

Loser: Hearst Newspaper’s Greenwich Time. Local dailies are increasingly irrelevant and the Greenwich Time’s campaign coverage only accelerated its irrelevance with People Magazine style reporting. Numerous front page stories emphasized Foley’s lifestyle, addressing such critical voter issues as Foley’s friendship with the Bushes, his cars, his plane, his boat, his palsy. Then a “jump-the-shark” story about an island sinking in a lake adjacent to Foley’s home concluded it wasn’t his fault. Huh? Why print it? Where were stories advancing discussion about Connecticut’s future? Greenwich’s biggest political story was Abrams’ sexual harassment scandal, yet our local paper’s ace reporters were AWOL. A Hartford Courant columnist had to break that news. Then, to reaffirm they’re out of touch with the community they serve, editors endorsed every single Democrat running and each proceeded to lose Greenwich. That’s why I read the Greenwich Post.

Winner: Voting integrity. Voters rejected removing absentee ballot rules from the Constitution precluding Democrats from manipulating early voting and absentee ballot laws. Now any changes must be voted upon by all voters through the process of amending the state constitution.

Loser: Fairfield County homeowners. Emboldened Democrats are salivating over more money to redistribute by increasing your property taxes. It’ll start as early as next year with your car tax. I predict within four to six years, Democrats will implement a statewide property tax effectively doubling the taxes Greenwich property owners pay. Ouch.

Winner: Connecticut legislative Republicans. Despite Foley’s loss, Republicans picked up 10 House seats for a total of 64, up from 37 three cycles ago. Amazingly, had 1,900 voters in 12 districts switched to the GOP candidate, Republicans would control the House. Republicans also picked up one Senate seat so Democrats can no longer violate the constitutional spending cap with impunity.

Loser: DTC Chairman Frank Farricker. After the embarrassing withdrawal of Abrams and questions about the party’s vetting process, Farricker looks to have a near insurrection within the DTC on his hands. Seeking redemption, he re-doubled efforts to win the 150th and Farricker tried to be “too cute” by saying how sorry he felt for RTC Chairman Jim Campbell while predicting (insisting) Jim would be the first Greenwich GOP leader in a century to lose a state representative seat. But that was just empty, condescending talk and when the votes were counted, the Democratic Party’s failure extended into year 104 of GOP dominance.

Election 2014 is history. It’s time for Election 2015. Are you ready?

 

Ed Dadakis is a former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

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