Democrats sweep Planning and Zoning race

WESTPORT—Three candidates doubly endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) and Save Westport Now swept the competition for the three open spots on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Danielle Dobin received the most votes with 4,671, Michael Cammeyer followed closely with 4,608 votes, and Greg Rutstein trailed a bit further behind with 4,390 votes, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of the State’s Office. Both Dobin and Cammeyer were appointed to the commission earlier this year after vacancies opened up. Rutstein previously served as an alternate.

“It was a hard fought race but in the end the town has spoken. I am honored to serve and look forward to making the town the best it can be,” said Rutstein, currently senior counsel at Bridgewater Associates.

“I am very proud of the positive, optimistic, issues-driven campaign that we ran,” said running mate Dobin, who worked as a real estate lawyer at Skadden Arps law firm before founding Monarch Real Estate. “We are honored by the number of Westporters that voted for us — Democrats, Save Westport Now, Republicans, and independents.”

The DTC/Save Westport Now trio all celebrated at The ‘Port Restaurant with fellow Westport Democrats on election night. Later on Tuesday evening, Jennifer Johnson showed up to the restaurant to congratulate her opponents on their victory.

Johnson, a Democrat who did not seek endorsement from the DTC and instead ran as a Coalition for Westport Party candidate, received the least votes, garnering only 2,261.

“It’s virtually impossible to be on a minor party and win,” said Johnson, who previously served as a member of the Representative Town Committee and worked with dozens of communities across the country on land-use matters.

“My whole goal was to have a dialogue about the issues that weren’t being talked about,” she added, referencing her campaign talking points of the Cribari Bridge, the Westport Town Plan, and traffic congestion. “I’ve had the chance to have that dialogue and that’s not going away.”

At The ‘Port, Dobin went up to Johnson and said, “This lady is a class act.”

Republican candidate Jon Olefson also lost out on a spot with his 3,178 votes. Olefson, who appointed to the commission in 2016 and served as an alternate, works as the general counsel at a publicly-traded company in Wilton. He, too, congratulated his opponents.

“I want to congratulate Michael, Danielle and Greg on their election,” he said. “They ran a strong campaign and earned this victory. I urge everyone to congratulate them and offer our earnest effort to bridge our differences and leave a stronger, better town than we inherited.”

Cammeyer, Dobin, and Rutstein will join Democrat Paul Lebowitz and Republicans Alfred Gratrix, Chip Stephens, and Cathy Walsh on the commission.

“I say congratulations to Michael, Greg, and Danielle and Jon because it was a race well-run,” said Commission Chairman Cathy Walsh. “It got a little bitter here and there but, at the end of the day, we put the elections behind us. We’re all friends, and we all work together.”

Post-election, the commission sustained its same makeup of four Democrats and three Republicans.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; @SophieCVaughan1