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Thursday, January 18 Local

Greenwich is growing more Democratic

In Greenwich, the hometown of George H.W. Bush and old stomping ground of Donald Trump, the tide is turning for Democrats.

The party’s gains in town will give Greenwich a stronger voice in the state Democratic convention. The town will send 32 delegates to the party’s conclave next May, when endorsements for governor, U.S. Senate and House and five other constitutional offices will be made.

The total appears to be a modern-era record and is part of a larger trend for Greenwich Democrats, who last month took control of the town finance board for the first time in at least a century, if ever, and flipped the tax collector’s office.

The number of delegates is based on local party enrollment and the results of the most recent presidential election, in which the town went for Hillary Clinton over Trump, 56 percent to 39 percent. Trump once owned a home in town. Clinton even did better than Barack Obama did in the 2008 election, when he carried Greenwich 53 to 47 percent over John McCain and became the first Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson to win the GOP stronghold.

“Ten years ago, we Democrats used to comfort ourselves that we were moving in a positive direction. Now, Donald Trump turbocharged that,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut, who is from Greenwich and was the town’s Democratic chairman a decade ago.

More Information

Greenwich’s Democratic state delegates

2018 — 32

2016 — 23

2014 — 21

2012 — 26

History hasn’t been so kind to Democrats from Greenwich in General Assembly races, with their last win coming in 1940. Republicans have won 16 of the past 18 first selectman races in Greenwich, including six in a row by Peter Tesei. Tesei’s most recent victory was not his usual landslide, however. He won with 53 percent of the vote, down from 74 percent in 2015.

“Listen, I don’t think we can be tone deaf on the fact that we weren’t able to maintain the tax collector and we weren’t able to maintain the chairman of the (Board of Estimate and Taxation),” said Stephen Walko, the Republican Town Committee chairman.

Walko said Tesei’s record sixth term and the mandate for new school board Chairman Peter Bernstein, who received the most votes of any Republican on the ticket, should not be discounted.