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Norwalk Dems see vulnerability in Cafero’s win

At left, Norwalk Republican state Rep. Larry Cafero, House minority leader. At right, his challenger in Tuesday’s election, Democrat Kate Tepper.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democrat Kate Tepper thinks that if she had a few more months she might have beaten state Rep. Larry Cafero in the 142th District race.

“I ran with the absolute knowledge that I wouldn’t win, so I’m quite pleased with the result,” said Tepper, who got 4,412 Norwalk votes to Cafero’s 5,222. “In Norwalk I got to almost 46 percent of the vote. Because of the redistricting – New Canaan is very Republican, so that brought me down to 44 percent.

“For a little old lady running against a 20-year incumbent who is the minority leader and getting no help from the state Democrats, it wasn’t bad.”

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba said in an email that he hadn’t had a chance to study the numbers yet but pointed out that Cafero did 12 percent better than presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 142nd district. “It’s clear since he did 12 points better than Mitt, Larry got a lot of crossover Democratic votes,” he said.

Cafero beat current Common Council Minority Leader Anna Duleep in 2010 with 59.9 percent of the vote. “You cannot compare the previous election results with this election as the district lines had shifted,” Scialabba said. “I don’t have the demographic info on his new district yet (which now includes New Canaan) and I don’t have the Dem/Rep breakdown of who voted… So it’s premature to form any opinions.”

Tepper got 565 votes in New Canaan to Cafero’s 1,073, according to the New Canaan Advertiser.

Tepper credited her showing against Cafero to her positive message. “I ran a damn good campaign,” she said. “My literature was terrific – people were actually asking me for it. I had a positive message. It was aimed at women. It told people really what my platform was.”

Tepper said she knocked on 3,000 doors and only had one person shut the door in her face. “I think that says people really want us to work together,” she said. “I believe that we basically care about each other but we have different ways of getting there.”

“As her husband, I think Kate really worked her tail off and did a wonderful job,” Scott Kimmish said. “I don’t think he has too much to crow about with his victory over Kate. He certainly is vulnerable in my mind as the years go by. Someone will knock him off sooner or later.”

Tepper credited the Clean Elections Law for her candidacy. “I raised that money that I needed to get matching funds in a month,” she said. “People were ready to make some kind of change, to look at someone who cares about the people, not just the bottom line.”

She only had one paid campaign worker. Kimmish wrote the copy for her literature and Deb Goldstein did the layout. Galen Wells was her campaign director. “People have to believe in your idea to spend their Sunday to do something they don’t want to do,” Tepper said.

In winning, Cafero re-emphasized Tuesday night his opinion that the state is going over a fiscal cliff. “I want to do everything in my power as Republican leader, on behalf of my constituents, to avoid going over that cliff. We have to change the way we do business,” he said.

Tepper and her husband have a different take. “Thank goodness for Malloy,” Tepper said. “I don’t like everything he does but he is going to turn the state around if we persist with them. … Like Obama, he got left a horrible mess. I hope the Democrats are going to going to come together and pull for him and make it work.”

“Cafero is an anachronism,” Kimmish said. “… He’s a minority and he will be a minority. The state showed that by voting overwhelmingly for Democrats.”

 

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