There are far more people paying attention to Tuesday’s special election in Greenwich than will show up at the polls.
It’s more than a matter of who will replace Fred Camillo after 11 years as state representative in District 151, which includes parts of Riverside, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob and North Mianus. It’s the next chapter in a story of the town’s shifting political character.
On the surface, it is Republican candidate Harry Arora’s race to lose, as the GOP has a 25-percent voter registration advantage over Democrats in the district and a century of dominance. The popular Camillo won the last race in 2018 with more than 56 percent of the vote.
That victory came despite historic Democratic victories by Alex Bergstein for the town’s state Senate seat and Stephen Meskers in the 150th House District.
Still, Camillo’s edge eroded from 66 percent in 2012 to 60 percent in 2016 (he ran unopposed in 2014). And Arora’s only name recognition comes from his loss to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in 2018. The eventual outcome could be determined by the largest political faction in the district, the unaffiliated voters.
Though this race should not be about who best emulates Camillo, Arora and Democrat Cheryl Moss represent different facets of his profile. Despite switching his registration from Democrat to Republican to run against Himes, Arora is decidedly conservative in vision. Moss, meanwhile, has the street cred of a lifetime in Greenwich.
We are not fans of politicians who seek to launch their careers on third base, as Arora did against Himes, but that doesn’t diminish his willingness to enter a political arena few dare to consider. As an immigrant from India, he also offers diversity that the town rarely sees in state races. His true shortcoming is a blank resume on local causes, while Moss has been a celebrated volunteer with the Greenwich High School swim and water polo programs and the Greenwich Land Trust and Garden Education Center, a PTA member and a member of the Representative Town Meeting.
What gives us pause is that Arora sounds like he’s running for governor while Moss sounds like she’s seeking a spot on the Board of Selectmen. It’s not uncommon for political candidates in Connecticut to aspire to mend the state’s bleeding economy, but the person who fills this seat in Hartford must be able to identify local matters of concern while being empathetic to needs in other municipalities.
We appreciate the energy Arora would bring to Hartford, but his vision needs more clarity than merely calling for cuts to the budgets of unspecified departments.
Arora’s resume as a former Enron executive does not help his cause, while Moss’s experience as a small business owner could offer a vital voice on several issues.
Either way, we welcome hearing from a fresh voice in the General Assembly, but at this time the voice we want to hear from belongs to Cheryl Moss.