First Selectman Rudy Marconi will be seeking re-election, and with party caucuses coming later this month town Republicans say they expect to field candidates for all offices — so voters can look forward to a contest for Ridgefield’s highest office in the fall.
This fall Ridgefield will also elect its first Inland Wetlands Board that is separate from the Planning and Zoning Commission, and fill seats on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Police Commission, and Board of Assessment Appeals.
Besides first selectman, three elected town hall administrative offices — town clerk, tax collector, and town treasurer — will also be on the ballot, along with some 30 board and commission seats.
Ridgefield Democrats will caucus Monday evening, July 22, at 7:30 p.m., in town hall’s large lower level conference room.
The Republicans will caucus the next night, Tuesday, July 23, at 7:30, also in the lower level conference room of town hall.
Marconi confirmed on July 1 what he’d told The Press in January: that he intends to seek an eighth term as the town’s top elected official in the November election.
“Yes, if people want me to,” Marconi said then. “And if they don’t, I’ll be told that. There are always some who don’t. Hopefully, there are more people who say yes than no. But right now, the intention is yes.”
Marconi’s first successful run for the town’s top office — he lost once, in 1997, to Abe Morelli — was in November 1999. “It’ll be 20 years,” he said.
Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chairman Alex Harris said Marconi’s re-election has the “Ridgefield DTC’s complete, enthusiastic and unanimous support.”
And while the Republican Town Committee (RTC) hasn’t announced who might challenge Marconi, the GOP says it is committed to nominating candidates for offices up and down the slate.
“The GOP has candidates for all offices and we are continuing to interview this week and next,” Republican Town Committee Chairwoman Hope Wise told The Press in a June 25 email. “I will give you names at caucus.”
And, the RTC is still interested in hearing from potential candidates.
“...Anyone wishing to run for office can contact me at GOPchairisWise@Gmail.com,” Wise said.
A focus for both parties this year, according to Wise, will be finding candidates for the new separate Inland Wetlands Board — which voters on a charter revision question last fall decided should be split off from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“The GOP worked hard to pass the question for an Inland Wetland Board last November,” Wise said. “I reached out to Alex Harris to work with him and other groups to find the highest qualified candidates to sit on the IWB ... Alex and I have the most experienced people in town to sit on the board. We understand the importance of expertise here and we have the candidates who exemplify that expertise.”
Harris said the Democrats are also focused on finding strong candidates for the new wetlands board.
“Ridgefield Democrats have openly and broadly solicited input, recommendations, and candidates from all Ridgefield residents and community groups,” Harris said. “The nonpartisan ‘IWB Candidate Search Group’ has recommended a number of extremely qualified individuals as possible candidates for that board, and we are deeply engaged with their recommendations…
“Additionally, we have received recommendations from local activists concerned about various matters considered by P&Z in recent years, and we are likewise deeply engaged with those folks as well.”
Waiting to announce
The Democratic Town Committee (DTC), like its Republican counterpart, isn’t yet releasing the names of the candidates they plan to endorse.
“DTC has not yet formally endorsed any candidates, so prefers not to announce names at this time,” Harris said in a July 1 email. “DTC has interviewed, vetted many candidates, but will hold off final endorsement until just before our caucus to ensure we give full consideration to any individuals that may step forward in July.
“That said, DTC has recruited and vetted candidates for every seat that Democrats can legally contest under election law,” Harris said. “DTC expects to endorse candidates for over 20 local offices. DTC has recruited outstanding prospects for every office, including for the new IWB. At this point, DTC is confident we will endorse and present our strongest and largest ever list for nomination at caucus.”
The Democrats, too, remain interested in hearing from people.
“Any Democrat registered in Ridgefield who wishes to assist in recruiting/vetting candidates, recommend a potential candidate, or offer themself as a potential candidate, should email email@example.com, providing full name, contact information, a resume or biographical write-up, identifying the offices or roles they wish to consider,” he said. “That email will be instantly received by every member of our Executive Committee and Recruiting Subcommittee, so we will promptly follow up.
“Alternatively they may call the DTC’s main number, 203-403-7080, and leave a detailed voicemail message with contact information, and we will likewise promptly follow up.”