McNally heads Darien RTC’s proposed slate; Warren petitions for vote at caucus

DARIEN — The Republican Town Committee’s proposed choice of Selectman Monica McNally to run for first selectman this November will not go unopposed.

Fellow Republican Joe Warren has petitioned for a vote at Thursday’s Republican caucus, calling for party members to choose between himself and McNally.

The caucus — starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall gymnasium — is for only registered Darien Republicans.

“I feel my experience makes me good for this job,” Warren said. “I have been around town government longer and have been exposed to several different areas of town government — and I think that should count for something.”

In preparation for Thursday’s caucus, the RTC announced its proposed slate last week, with McNally, a former Representative Town Meeting member who was last month named to the Board of Selectmen, tapped for the top of ticket. Jayme Stevenson, who has been First Selectman for a decade, announced she would not seek reelection.

Running for the other two selectmen spots are Jon Zagrodzky, the present Board of Finance chair, and Marcy Minnick.

“What has been really exciting about the process of interviewing and nominating our slate of candidates is seeing firsthand the depth of talent we have among Darien Republicans,” RTC Chair Alexander Davidson said.

“Seeing how engaged we are as a party this year has also been inspiring,” Davidson said. “We had multiple candidates for several nominations. We have petitioning candidates at our caucus. I think this is all great for our party and the town. I am thrilled with our slate, and I know we will have the best people in place to win in November.”

Warren, a 56-year member of the town’s volunteer fire department, has served on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education and the Housing Authority — vice chair during building of The Heights and, most recently, chair during construction of The Royle, which, he says, was completed on time and on budget during a pandemic.

Warren said he interviewed with the RTC for his chance to represent the GOP for first selectman on the November ballot, but the nod went to McNally, who he says is qualified but lacks his experience at a time when the town faces important issues.

He then obtained the 25 required signatures to petition to call for a vote among Republicans on the first selectman candidate.

Davidson said the RTC has assembled a team — headed by McNally — best suited to address Darien’s future going forward.

“Low taxes, excellent schools and high quality of life are not partisan issues,” Davidson said. “While Republican leadership has been, and will continue to be, critical in promoting and protecting these attributes for Darien residents, our town is at its best when we work together to get things done.

“Our slate of candidates is a reflection of that spirit,” he added.

Other candidates are incumbents Rob Cardone and Paul Hendrickson and newcomer John Wolcott for Board of Finance; incumbent David Brown and Tara Wurm for Board of Education; incumbents Steve Olvany, the present chair, and Jim Rand for Planning and Zoning; and incumbent Chris Peters for Assessment Appeals.

Christa McNamara, who resigned her Selectman seat last month and was appointed to the town clerk post, will now be running to be elected as town clerk.

Incumbent Joan Henrickson will run for town treasurer. Kathleen Larkins is seeking reelection as tax collector and Lou Calastro and Alan Hyatt are both seeking reelection as constables.