GREENWICH — The scene Tuesday night at the Old Greenwich Social Club was different from past election nights, as Democratic Town Committee gathered to hear the results. The same could be said of the Cos Cobber, where a few miles away the Republican Town Committee held a small socially distanced gathering.
But the bottom line was the same: They were waiting for election results and hoping to celebrate wins.
The first winner to declare was Stephen Meskers, the incumbent Democrat in the 150th House District.
“I couldn’t be happier, I’m so thrilled to be able to serve the community,” Meskers said as he declared victory at just after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. It’s a job I love, and I feel honored and humbled by the support I’ve seen in what has been a very conflicted national campaign.”
He thanked his opponent, Republican Joe Kelly, for running a campaign that was about ideas and policy. Kelly called Meskers and conceded.
The Democratic Party’s supporters were gathered — but predominantly on Zoom rather than in-person — at the Social Club, where attendance was capped. The DTC rented the space to give candidates a place to give victory or concession speeches. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering was open only to candidates, their families, press and a handful of DTC executive committee members.
And the candidates for state House seats were diffuse as the results, which had not yet come in as of press time at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
There was no declared winner in the two other House races in Greenwich. Republican state Rep. Harry Arora was running to retain his seat in the 151st House District against Democratic challenger Hector Arzeno.
Kimberly Fiorello was competing against Democratic Board of Education Vice Chair Kathleen Stowe for the seat vacated by longtime state Rep. Livvy Floren in the 149th House District.
Kelly vs. Meskers
Meskers shocked voters in 2018 when he defeated Republican Michael Bocchino in the 150th House District — which stretches along the town’s coast — becoming the first Greenwich Democrat elected to the seat in more than a century.
Meskers, 62, has been a member of the Representative Town Meeting since 2002 and worked for 35 years in corporate lending, bankruptcy and bond sales, primarily in South American emerging markets. He was dubbed “a penny-pincher with a big heart,” by his friend and fellow Greenwich resident Gov. Ned Lamont.
Meskers was seeking his second term in the state legislature, where in his first term he was a member of Aging and Energy and Technology committees and was vice chair of Finance, Revenue and Bonding.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Meskers said about a half-hour after polls closed. “I’m encouraged by the warm support, and I’m hopeful that the results will bring us the victory.”
Challenging Meskers was Kelly, 57, a prolific volunteer for more than two decades in town, known as a former coach of Greenwich High’s rugby team. Kelly is CEO of Uranium Markets, a nuclear fuel brokerage company, and president of Forestland Development, a real estate development company that owns property in Connecticut.
In 2019, Kelly successfully sought a seat on the Board of Education and, win or lose, plans to continue his service on the school board.
Fiorello vs. Stowe
The race for the 149th House District — which covers backcountry Greenwich and part of North Stamford — is between two candidates new to statewide politics.
Fiorello, 45, has a background in financial journalism and is a member of the RTM. She has been vocally opposed to bringing tolls to Connecticut, spoke out against the recent police accountability bill and ran on the idea of limited government.
Like Kelly, Stowe also plans to continue her service on the Board of Education in the event of a win. She hopes to win a district that has long been a Republican stronghold and for 20 years was held by Floren.
Stowe, 44, began her career in technology investment banking during the late ’90s tech boom, then worked in private equity before taking time off to raise her family. She is now partners with her father in the financial technology firm he founded, Jordan and Jordan, with offices in New York, Chicago and London.
Citing her experience in the financial sector, Stowe labeled herself fiscally conservative but socially progressive and focused her campaign on the state’s economy.
“It was invigorating,” Stowe said of the campaign. “Both nationally and locally, people are engaged. Win or lose, I’m just happy there are engaged voters.”
Arora vs. Arzeno
Arora, an Indian immigrant turned millionaire, is seeking his first full term in the state legislature after winning a special election in January to fill the spot vacated by Fred Camillo when he was elected first selectman. Camillo had previously served 11 years in the 151st House District, another Republican stronghold that covers parts of Riverside, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob and North Mianus.
It was the first elected office for Arora, who worked in the financial services and energy trading industry and ran against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in the 4th Congressional District in 2018. Arora, who was a Democrat before challenging Himes, considers himself a staunch conservative and has opposed the police accountability bill and regionalizing schools and has advocated for smaller government and cutting energy costs.
Arzeno, also an immigrant, lives in Cos Cob and is in his first term on the RTM. He is a retired international financier and a father of four who, before campaigning as a Democrat, was unafilliated. His political inspirations come from both sides of the aisle cites and, according to Arzeno, he considers himself a “numbers guy” focused on reinvigorating the economy.
“I had a wonderful experience,” Arzeno said of his campaign. “When I started, I thought I knew the community, but I kept learning every day.”
About a half-hour after the polls closed, he said he felt positive about the high voter turnout in town.
“I personally believe that will work in our favor,” Arzeno said. “But there is always room for surprises.”
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