Fairfield parties gear up for July 16 nominating meetings
FAIRFIELD — The 2019 election season is officially beginning as both Democrats and Republicans prepare for their party nominating meetings on July 16.
The Board of Selectmen race is gearing up to be the most high-stakes, as Fairfield Democrats look to flip the current Republican majority leadership. With all seats open and Republicans Christopher Tymniak and Edward Bateson both not running for re-election, party control could go either way.
Current First Selectman Michael Tetreau, a Democrat, plans to run for a third term against Republican State Rep. Brenda Kupchick. Thomas Flynn, Republican chair of the Board of Finance, will run for a Selectman seat, as well as Democrat Representative Town Meeting member Nancy Lefkowitz.
Depending on the outcome of the election, the board will either remain 2-1 Republican or switch to a 2-1 Democratic majority. Tetreau holds a strong Democratic base in Fairfield after eight years in office. Kupchick, however, is on her way to building a strong opposition.
“This is probably the first time in all the years that I’ve been involved in Fairfield politics that I’ve seen Republicans so solidly united behind a single candidate,” said Republican Town Committee Chair Jamie Millington.
On the Board of Finance, three seats are open with four candidates running, as each party is permitted to nominate a maximum of two. The Republican majority board does not have the potential to flip, but its representation could either remain 6-3 Republican or become a 5-4 majority.
Current board members Democrat Elizabeth Zezima and Republican Mary LeClerc are both running for re-election, but Republican David Becker is not. This leaves each party with one additional candidate to nominate on Tuesday.
Democratic Committee Chair Steve Sheinberg confirmed that Lori Charlton will be running as the second Democratic candidate. According to her Twitter account, Charlton is a partner at Deloitte and an anti-gun violence activist. On the Republican side, Millington said that Jack Testani, a former Trumbull Board of Finance and Town Council member, will run for their second seat.
When it comes to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the race is far more up in the air, with all 40 seats open for re-election. Most members are running for re-election, but a few are vacating their seats; Lefkowitz, for example, is giving up her RTM seat to run for Selectman. Committee chairs could not confirm who else is and is not seeking re-election, as each district will nominate four of its own candidates at the July 16 meetings.
Democrats are working to maintain their 26-14 majority, and Sheinberg said that the party will have a full slate of candidates in an attempt to do so. Republicans, meanwhile, are looking to flip the RTM and are working on building a full slate of candidates. According to Millington they are on their way, but are having a harder time in districts that lean heavily Democratic.
Seats are also open on the Board of Education, Town Plan and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Assessment Appeals. The position of Constable is also up for election.
Both party meetings will be held on Wednesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. The Democratic Town Committee will meet at McKinley School, and the Republican Town Committee meeting will be held at the Board of Education headquarters. Both committees are looking forward to next Wednesday, with Millington noting that this is the most united he’s seen the Republican base in many years.
“I’m really excited for this year moving into this caucus,” Millington said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this level of enthusiasm headed into a municipal election”
Sheinberg added that he’s hoping for a large public showing this year.
“We encourage all Democrats to come and attend the special meeting,” he stated.