Election 2012: Greenwich Republicans have big wins

Given that it was another night of domination for the Greenwich Republican Party in town, Republican Town Committee Chairman Jim Campbell had a few ideas about how to redraw the map.

Greenwich, he said, now was “Camillo country,” “Frantz territory,” “Livvy land,” and “Walko world” after Republican candidates all swept to victory with ease, continuing a 100-year history of solely GOP delegations to Hartford from town. And while nationwide Republicans had a disappointing election night with the re-election of President Barack Obama and the defeat of high-profile Senate candidates like Greenwich resident Linda McMahon, the Greenwich party faithful had a lot of reasons to celebrate at the GOP victory party at the St. Lawrence Club.

“What a great night for Greenwich, Connecticut,” state Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36th District) declared once the results were in.

Mr. Frantz, who was elected to his third term in office, easily bested Stamford Democrat Daniel Dauplaise in a district that includes all of Greenwich and portions of Stamford and New Canaan. In Greenwich results, Mr. Frantz had a wide 17,720-to-9,537 margin over Mr. Dauplaise. Green Party candidate Remy Chevalier brought up the rear with 431 votes.

Mr. Frantz called this an “incredible set of numbers” and said it was “such an honor to be part of this delegation.”

“This delegation has been about and will continue in a very big way to be all about right-sizing government,” Mr. Frantz said. “We cannot afford the government we have in the state of Connecticut, and the evidence is out there. We have the second worst credit rating in the country.”

As he has throughout the campaign, Mr. Frantz said that Connecticut is No. 50 in too many important criteria for a state but used to be in the top five, if not No. 1, and was the wealthiest state in the late 1800s. However, he offered optimism that he and his fellow Greenwich Republicans can fix this.

“We can recapture our greatness if we do everything right, and I can tell you this delegation knows exactly what’s right,” Mr. Frantz said. “You will be amazed at what this team can accomplish for you, your children and their grandchildren.”

Mr. Frantz wasn’t the only Greenwich Republican celebrating on Tuesday. State Reps. Livvy Floren (R-149th District) and Fred Camillo (R-151st District) were both easily re-elected, and first-time candidate Steve Walko, the former chairman of the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation, cruised to victory in the race to succeed retiring state Rep. Lile Gibbons (R-150st District).

In his victory speech, Mr. Walko, who defeated Democrat Stephanie Paulmeno by a 5,341-to-4,067 margin, quoted a mantra he draws inspiration from.

“If you forget where you came from you lose part of your self,” Mr. Walko said. “And so this election was also about who we are and where we came from”

With his family by his side, Mr. Walko said he just wished his late father was there to see the win, and promised to fight for Greenwich families by bringing fiscal conservatism to Hartford.

“One of the most precious gifts we can give our children is to leave them with no debt, to leave them with a promising future,” Mr. Walko said. “That’s what I hope to bring to Hartford. More of Greenwich to Hartford not Hartford to Greenwich. The more we can get Hartford to think like we do here, to only spend the money that you have, to not borrow more than you can afford, is what we need and what I think the citizens of this town are demanding.”

Ms. Floren and Mr. Camillo enjoyed even bigger margins of victory. Ms. Floren, elected to her seventh term, bested Democrat John Blankley by a more than two-to-one margin, with 4,964 votes to his 2,225. Mr. Camillo, who will be in his third term, nearly equaled that, defeating Democrat David Rafferty by a 7,313-to-3,749 margin. Both candidates said they were humbled by the show of confidence.

“I think I’m overwhelmed and I’m just about speechless,” Ms. Floren joked. “I’m so grateful, and probably all of you who think that I’m speechless are grateful, too.”

Despite the losses, Greenwich Democrats were in fine spirits at their headquarters at the senior center, buoyed by the good national news about President Obama, who did lose Greenwich after winning it in 2008, and about Connecticut Democrats like Senator-elect Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Cos Cob resident who was elected to his third term in office.

Greenwich Democratic Town Committee Chairman Frank Farricker said it’s no secret the party always faces an uphill climb in town with Republicans enjoying a huge advantage in registered voters. He praised the four candidates who ran for all their hard work, giving the voters a full choice for the first time in more than 10 years. He said he expected Mr. Blankley, Ms. Paulmeno and Mr. Rafferty will all take leadership roles in the town thanks to the many boards and commissions there.

“It’s so fun to be a Greenwich Democrat tonight,” Mr. Farricker said. “You guys did an amazing thing this year. Every year we chip, we chip and we fight. This year we have a lot to be proud of. We helped deliver Greenwich for Jim Himes, and every year something goes along that just makes it better.”

The candidates echoed that they were glad they ran despite not getting the results they had been hoping for.

“I’d like to think we made a good race out of this,” Mr. Dauplaise said in his concession. “We are working toward an eventual goal. We didn’t achieve the goal this year, but we will achieve it one year.”

Mr. Blankley added, “Every year we improve our position, and for all the right reasons, because I really believe our party is the best party and the principles we run on are the best.”

 

Ken Borsuk contributed to this article.

 

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