State, local candidates line up as caucuses draw near
Fairfielders heading to the polls this November won't be checking a box for first selectman or for the president of the United States, but even so, Republican Town Committee Chairman Jim Baldwin said, "There hasn't been an election year this significant, this important, in our lifetime."
"We have all the state constitutional offices up for grabs," Baldwin said. "And then we have a U.S. Senate seat open and most of the five Congressional seats held by Democrats are up for reach by Republicans."
A handful of candidates will be vying for the 4th Congressional district (which includes Fairfield) currently held by Jim Himes. The Republican hopefuls include Bridgeport residents Rick Torres and Rob Russo, state Sen. Dan Debicella of Shelton, Norwalk resident Rob Merkle, Easton's Tom Herrmann and Will Gregory of New Canaan.
Baldwin believes Himes is vulnerable because the November election will essentially be "a referendum on Pres. Barack Obama's two-year job performance."
On a local level, Republican state Sen. John McKinney currently has no Democrat opponent for his re-election bid for the 28th district and Republican state Rep. Tony Hwang presently has no challenger in the 134th district, according to Fairfield Democratic Town Committee Chairman Devon Pfeifer.
"We're talking to people," she said. "No one has declared."
Democratic conventions for state representatives and the state senate will be taking place a little more than a month from now. Whereas the RTC will be holding a caucus on May 18 to determine who will get the party's nomination -- open to all registered Republican voters residing in the respective districts -- the Fairfield DTC stages a convention whereby DTC members decide on who will represent the party.
Democratic state Rep. Tom Drew, who represents the 132nd district, will be facing opposition from either RTM member and former Board of Education member Brenda Kupchick, or Sacred Heart University Associate Professor Chris DeSanctis. Kupchick and DeSanctis are both seeking the Republican party's nomination.
"Either one would make a fantastic state representative," Baldwin said, "And when elected they will help turn the tide in Hartford, along with Tony Hwang and John McKinney and presumably DeeDee Brandt."
Brandt, a former member of the Board of Finance, hoping to become state representative of the 133rd district, which covers much of Fairfield and a small portion of Westport. No other Republican is seeking the post. Brandt will be attempting to unseat Democratic incumbent Kim Fawcett.
Pfeifer said Fawcett has served Fairfield extremely well and is hopeful she will retain her post. Pfeifer added that it's time for a Democrat governor.
"We haven't had a Democrat governor in 20 years and during that time, Connecticut's job growth has dropped," she said. "Our biggest export are graduating college and leaving the state."
Pfeifer added, "Connecticut needs a dynamic leader. We need somebody to lift this state up and talk about jobs, created jobs and just rebuilding the infrastructure."
Those who have expressed interest in possibly becoming Connecticut's next governor are Democrat and former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, Democrat Ned Lamont, Republican Tom Foley, Republican R. Nelson Griebel, Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, health care activist Juan Figueroa, Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh, Branford resident Christopher Acevedo and Hamden-based Republican Larry DeNardis.
However, that field of candidates will likely be trimmed down in the next few months.
"Some may die on the vine due to a lack of funding," said Roger Autuori, Fairfield's Republican Registrar of Voters.
Fairfield First Selectman Ken Flatto said money has been set aside in the contingency account in the event primaries are needed. He said, given the number of candidates from the same party who have announced intentions to run, there will likely be both Democrat and Republican primaries.
The total cost of two primaries is estimated somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000. A primary would take place in August after getting the minimum amount of support necessary, which differs among parties.