This was Fazio’s second run for the state senate and now he won, 52% to 47% over his Democrat rival Alexis Gevanter. The perpetual candidate, John Blankley pulled a measly 1%. He should have stayed home.
The 36th district is historically a Republican district. Scott Frantz held the seat from 2008-2018. There are different ideas about why he lost to then Alexandra Bergstein, now Alexandra Kasser, now in communicado, presumably over her divorce. One is that she simply outspent him on a scale never seen before for a state level race. Some reports she spent over $1 million.
Another is that Scott Frantz had become too comfortable as the reliable critic of the state’s finances. So, each election, he would trot out the same litany of sins and misdeeds by the state treasurer, the Democrats in the legislature and others in power. By 2018, it was becoming the same old screed and ever more tiresome. Bergstein decided to counter with a positive message for the future, even though her party was guilty of these problems. Voters want a positive view of the future and Bergstein played to it very effectively.
The sense in 2018 was that Trump Derangement Syndrome was like nuclear energy powering a Democrat resurgence in otherwise Republican districts. That she won again in 2020 seemed to cement that notion the minds of many voters. So, announcement in June of her resignation came as a surprise and as an opportunity. Even though Mr. Fazio had lost to her, the party decided this was the moment to have him run again. For Republicans, the cherry on top was Democrat John Blankley announcing he would run as an independent. The early betting was that he would split the Democrat vote. Turns out that was a loser’s bet since he put in an awful showing.
During the campaign, you have Mr. Fazio focusing on key issues familiar to Republicans: Lower taxes, less intrusive government. Ms. Gevanter tried a few tricks. She tried to make voters think that the Democrats in Connecticut were lowering taxes, and that they were responsible for the Covid driven surge in business activity in the state. Ms. Gevanter’s claim to fame as a member of Moms Against Gun Violence did not appear to be much of a factor in the race.
Some believe that Mr. Fazio’s campaign team had a much better ground game than Ms. Gevanter’s. They had more of a presence, knocked on more doors, and otherwise made a lot of noise. A subtheme which did not get that much attention was the fight in public education over critical race theory. A group called greenwichpatriots.us were leading the fight against the Greenwich Board of Education on these matters as well as mask and vaccine mandates.
In terms of the big picture, Mr. Fazio’s win is one step towards restoring the area to its Republican roots. Still, Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats in the state senate, 23-13. The race got national attention by being covered in Breitbart and WABC Radio. Some regard the race as a litmus test. But for those the current travails of the national Democrat party should be very much kept in mind. The border crisis, Afghanistan, the economy, the cancel culture, and other matters are increasingly making the Democrats appear to be ever more incompetent and untrustworthy. The term, kakistocracy, refers to government by fools and incompetents. It is fair to that is what we have nationally. The long road to fixing this problem has started in one place with Mr. Fazio’s victory. Hopefully, he will inspire others to get involved and continue to right the wrongs that are plaguing this nation.