Local elections are generally decided by older residents and this year appears to be no exception.
With more than 63,000 residents in Greenwich there are 33,000 registered voters, but just 1,700 of those are between 18 and 22 years old.
“The median age of Greenwich voters is 58 years old,” said Registrar of Voters Fred DeCaro, who provided a spreadsheet of registered voters, which also included 36 voters above the age of 100.
“I could not tell you who is running at the local level in any position,” said registered Democrat Jillian Kraemer, who is 24. “I feel like it’s not a priority for them to advertise toward younger voters.”
Kraemer said she participated in the presidential election because she was aware of the policies. But the local election is a different story.
“You do not see commercials or PSAs aimed at the voters under 30, it’s as if campaigns have given up,” Kraemer said. “I don’t care enough to vote if solving the problems of today’s youth is not a priority.”
One older voter’s comments reinforce the notion that the force of local politics now tends to favor older residents.
“I am 65 years old and I was born and raised in Greenwich,” said Chris Antonik. “I have been involved in government and elections for the past 30 years. While I am actively involved in local government and have been for some time, I did not care about politics until I was in my thirties, before then I just did not care.”
Antonik was a former RTM who held the position for 15 years. “I enjoyed the position for a number of years but decided it was time to move on, yet people still voted for me which prompted me to hold the position for one last term.”
“I decided to run for first selectman in the late 90s,” said Antonik. “I spent just under $1,000 and had more than 600 votes, but the other candidate spent much more on the campaign and received more votes, primarily due to the exposure.”
This year, Antonik said he supported incumbent First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectman David Theis, both of whom were successful in their re-election bids.
Tesei and Theis also illustrated another local trend: of municipal candidates spending more money on their campaigns. They opened their headquarters this campaign on the expensive Greenwich Avenue.
Antonik said he spent just $1,000 on his local campaigns.
James Polvere is a University of Connecticut Journalism student. He reported during the recent municipal campaigns.