STAMFORD – State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello, who represents Greenwich and Stamford, and Dominic Rapini, the Republican candidate for Secretary of the State, campaigned together door to door, targeting unaffiliated and Republican voters last week.
Fiorello said she had been out knocking on doors in Greenwich and North Stamford every day – and had so far stopped by 3,000 houses. Rapini said he had stopped into “just in the hundreds,” and had found events like agricultural fairs more effective. Visiting neighborhoods, he said, was more a matter of fact finding.
While driving out to Pinnacle Rock Road, Fiorello recounted her time writing for her high school newspaper.
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“You’ll love this one, Dominic,” Fiorello said. “We had an election scandal in my high school, and I wrote about the scandal in my column.”
Rapini, who is campaigning on election integrity, laughed as Fiorello detailed the column exposing a prom king and queen for election fraud. The article, she said, later won her a Knight-Ridder scholarship.
Rapini told CT Examiner he’d been studying Connecticut elections for three years, and wanted to “bring some adult supervision” to Hartford. He emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for voter fraud.
While Rapini was campaigning for a spot in Hartford, Fiorello was looking to keep hers. She was running for a second term in the State House of Representatives with a promise to reduce taxes, promote academic excellence and support law enforcement.
Fiorello and Rapini visited a young voter named Laura who opened her living room window to greet them. She said her dog, Bailey, would run out if she opened the door.
The candidates introduced themselves through the window screen, and Laura assured she’d vote for them.
“This is a turnout election,” said Rapini. “We need you to bring ten friends and your dog to vote.”
“She’s only 11 – she’s not old enough to vote,” Laura laughed.
“Well, I think she qualifies in dog years,” Rapini answered.
Fiorello thanked Laura for her support, and asked why she was unaffiliated.
“It’s hard to be affiliated when you live where we live,” Laura said. “We choose based on beliefs and principles.”
Laura said taxes were on her mind this election season. Other than recycling and snow plowing, she said, those in North Stamford have no amenities, but are heavily taxed.
Fiorello said that for the last two years, she has pushed back on the kind of excessive spending that leads to high taxes.
“When we get back in, we’re going to face another budget deficit and I’m really concerned about statewide property tax,” said Fiorello.
Up the street, a voter named Alexander also raised the issue of state taxes, noting that Connecticut’s were among the highest in the country. Fiorello assured Alexander that she’d fight for him.
He said this was the first year he registered as a Republican. Before now, he said, he was always an independent.
“The reason I stayed away from the Republican party is that it was lethargic for me – not much different from Democrats. They say one thing and do another thing,” Alexander told the candidates. “The only thing that brought me back was actually the Trump and MAGA movement.”
“Nice. God bless you,” said Rapini, as Elizabeth DeLuca, a volunteer for Fiorello’s campaign, clapped.
The Stamford neighborhood was lined with Fiorello lawn signs, but there were nearly as many for her opponent, newcomer Rachel Khanna, a Democrat. At another house, Fiorello reminded Christopher and Leylani, a young Republican couple, of the importance of casting their votes on Nov. 8.
“I’m glad you’re both home,” Fiorello said. “I’m in a pretty tight race… They’re really coming after me.”
Christopher offered his support for the candidates, but declined a lawn sign from Fiorello because his neighbors were supporters of Mayor Caroline Simmons, a Democrat.
“I know what their philosophy is,” Christopher laughed.
“As long as we have dialogue, then we have a republic,” Rapini replied.
Christopher said inflation was a priority for him, especially given gas and energy prices. Fiorello told CT Examiner that inflation was a common issue she heard, especially from young couples.
“It’s not unusual,” she said. “They’re in their 30s, they bought a house and they’re like, ‘what’s up with all these expenses?’”
Fiorello said that her favorite part of working as a state representative was meeting voters in her district, getting to know them and serving their interests in the legislature.
“It’s so close to the ground, being a state representative. You’re so close to the people,” Fiorello explained. “It really is like a service job, and I think everybody should do like two terms.”