Town voter gaps con­tinue to shrink

Democrats reach 10,000 mark for first time

Greenwich Time - - FRONT PAGE - By Ken Bor­suk

GREEN­WICH — Green­wich Democrats are cel­e­brat­ing reg­is­tra­tion num­bers that put them over 10,000 vot­ers in town for the first time in his­tory.

But they con­tinue to trail Repub­li­cans and un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers on regis­trar rolls.

Un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers this year have re­tained their sta­tus as the largest vot­ing bloc in Green­wich, a ti­tle they took last year from Repub­li­cans.

Ac­cord­ing to the town Regis­trars of Vot­ers Of­fice, as of Thurs­day, the num­ber of un­af­fil­i­at­eds in town was 13,837; reg­is­tered

Repub­li­cans num­bered 12,270; and Democrats, 10,170.

That rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant shift over the past cou­ple of decades. A lit­tle over 20 years ago, Repub­li­cans en­joyed a more than two-to-one ad­van­tage over Democrats and a healthy lead over un­afil­li­at­eds. Slowly but steadily, the num­bers have tight­ened in the 2000s.

“We’re elated, and not just be­cause of the num­bers but from the vibe we get out there when our can­di­dates are knock­ing on doors and talk­ing to the peo­ple,” said Tony Turner, chair of the Demo­cratic Town Com­mit­tee. “We’re hear­ing from the peo­ple and get­ting emails and Face­book com­ments and it’s all been very pos­i­tive.”

In 2018, there are three com­pet­i­tive races in Green­wich for the state Leg­is­la­ture, seats long held by Repub­li­cans.

“As the num­ber of un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers has in­creased, so has the im­por­tance of get­ting our mes­sage to them,” said Green­wich RTC Chair Richard DiPreta. “Par­ties must now work harder to earn the un­af­fil­i­ated vote based on the is­sues. Repub­li­cans are fo­cus­ing on get­ting out our mes­sage of cut­ting taxes, elim­i­nat­ing waste­ful spend­ing, and at­tract­ing busi­ness back to Con­necti­cut.”

Turner also ac­knowl­edged the need to ap­peal to the town’s un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers to be able to win elec­tions.

“We are very much aware of the dif­fi­culty in be­ing able to un­seat in­cum­bents,” Turner said. “It will be very hard to do . ... We be­lieve we can do it.”

The ranks of un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers have swelled across the state.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sec­re­tary of the State’s Of­fice, 168,000 peo­ple have reg­is­tered as un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers in the state since the 2016 elec­tion. That is more than the num­ber of new Repub­li­cans and Democrats com­bined,156,000.

“If any­thing that shows that in Green­wich the rate of un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers is steady or even slower than the state given the trend we are see­ing,” said Repub­li­can Regis­trar of Vot­ers Fred DeCaro III.

Gabe Rosen­berg com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor in the Sec­re­tary of the State’s Of­fice, said the un­af­fil­i­ated rolls have been ris­ing since 2008.

“I’ll leave the why up to the po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tists,” Rosen­berg said.

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