GREENWICH —Greenwich Democrats have their ticket for the fall’s elections and it will be led by first selectman candidate Sandy Litvack.
Litvack, an attorney and newcomer to local politics, will challenge incumbent Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei as he seeks a record sixth term in office. He will lead a Democratic ticket that includes Selectman Drew Marzullo, running for a fifth term, two Board of Education candidates for two spots and tax collector challenger Howard Richman in a rematch of 2015’s race against incumbent Republican Tax Collector Tod Laudonia.
“I know how to do the things that have to be done,” Litvack said prior to Wednesday’s nominating meeting. “We need a reinvigoration. We really need a new approach. This is a fabulous, fabulous town. Peter Tesei has been in town government for 20 years and good for him, but like all jobs there is a time to come and there is a time to go. This is the time to go.”
In facing a popular incumbent like Tesei, who was reelected with 75 percent of the vote in 2015, Litvack said the time had come for a change in town government and that Tesei had been in office for too long. Litvack has been involved in national politics and his wife, Joanna Swomley, founded Indivisible Greenwich, a political action group, but this is his first involvement in town politics.
He said he did not believe in letting someone run unopposed for an office as important as first selectmen as a main reason for his candidacy. An attorney with experience working for both the Walt Disney Corporation and the anti-trust division of the United States Justice Department, Litvack pledged to embrace new ideas and said the town needed to be attracting new businesses so it would not be so dependent on the hedge fund industry.
Litvack said he knew he was an underdog in a town where Republicans enjoy a decisive advantage in registered voters but pointed out that the 2016 election showed “favorites don’t always win.” Saying he was not getting in the race to lose, he pledged to run hard and earn the support and trust of the voters.
“I will run as honest a race as you have ever seen anyone run,” Litvack said.
Tesei is expected to be formally renominated by the Republican Town Committee next Tuesday.
The Democratic Town Committee officially nominated its slate on Wednesday and had only one competitive race within the party as eight candidates sought nomination for the six spots on the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Ultimately the party nominated incumbents Jeff Ramer, who is chairman of the DTC, Beth Krumeich, Leslie Moriarty, Tony Turner and Jill Oberlander to new terms and they will be joined by BET newcomer David Weisbrod.
The DTC will have only two candidates on the ballot for Board of Education, meaning there will not be a competitive race as the party had been hoping for. Kathleen Stowe and Meghan Olsson had announced their intentions to run last month and on Wednesday and spoke to applause from the party as they unveiled the themes of their candidacy. But a third candidate did not emerge.
Ramer personally asked Rebecca Steinfeld, one of the two unsuccessful BET candidates, at the meeting if she would consider a run for the Board of Education but she said she did not want to. Ramer had previously said it would be an embarrassment for the party if it could not run a competitive race at a time when it is opposing a charter change to Board of Education election structure and afterwards he expressed disappointment the party was not putting forth more than two candidates.
Neither Litvak nor Marzullo faced any challenge from the floor to their nominations. Both received unanimous support in a voice vote and a standing ovation from the party members. Marzullo, who is exploring a run for lieutenant governor in 2018, pledged to continue to advocate positively for Greenwich residents and beyond and said while the race was not going to be easy, it was winnable if the party worked together and turned out the Democratic vote in town.
“If reelected in November and with you helping elect Democrats we can turn a minority into a stronger minority or even a majority,” Marzullo said, adding his eight years on the board and in town politics have been an “exciting and fun ride.”