(From the Daily Caller, which, for those unfamiliar with the publication, is as libertarian-far-right as I am)
The incendiary nature of national politics in the Trump era trickled down to the local level in Fairfield, Conn., where Democrats routed their opponents, garnering a 23 to 17 majority on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), a hold over term from the days of early New England government that translates to town council.
Alex Plitsas, a Republican RTM candidate for Fairfield’s 7th district, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Trump’s influence on local elections throughout Connecticut was unmistakable.
“How do you know that’s just not an excuse for poor performance? Well, one, it wasn’t a couple of candidates, it was Republicans across the board. We weren’t just beaten, we were annihilated at the polls,” he said. “Second, in many of these local races, including several in my town, there were Democrats on the ballot who literally didn’t campaign, I mean did nothing. No signs, no advertising, no door-to-door, no engagements with people, nothing, who won or came very close to winning.”
Pam Iacono, a Republican RTM candidate for Fairfield’s 8th district, described the phenomenon as force of nature that herself and her fellow Republicans found themselves powerless to stop.
“We got caught up in what I call the Trump Tsunami,” Iacono told TheDCNF. “We did a good job getting our base out but it wasn’t enough because the people who came out to vote were the angry voters, who were upset with the Trump administration. They wanted to send a message and they did, in droves.”
“I ran candidate recruitment,” she said. “I know in speaking with a lot of the other candidates, there were people that were approached and said I like you but I can’t vote for you because you’re a Republican and I don’t like Donald Trump.”
Plitsas, a combat veteran and former Pentagon official, explained that anti-Trump sentiment seemed to hold sway over the electorate, despite the fact that the highest office on any ballot in the state was that of mayor.
“Without an executive, these elections were truly about local issues. Nobody was running on an anti-Trump or pro-Trump platform,” Plitsas told TheDCNF. Traditionally close races were not even close. Democrats were out in droves. In some cases 25 to 30 percent more Democrats than Republican voters turned out.”
Plitsas illustrated the momentum enjoyed by Democratic candidates, pointing out that many won or came very close to winning, despite a noticeable lack of campaigning relative to their Republican opponents.
“In one case the board of finance chairman in our town, who is very well known, who’s been in office for a number of years, spent a lot of money, was out there going door-to-door speaking to everybody, he only won by 50 votes against a guy who didn’t campaign,” he said. “Quite frankly you could’ve had Mickey Mouse on the ballot; as long as it had a ‘D’ next to it, the guy won.”
The finance board race perfectly encapsulated the Trump phenomenon, Iacono said. Incumbent Republican incumbent Chris Dewitt ran against a virtually unknown Democratic challenger, Chris Skoczen, who almost won despite a total lack of campaigning.
“This is a man that’s a newcomer to politics in Fairfield and we don’t even know what he looks like because he never even showed up at a debate,” Iacono said.