GOP criticizes Kostin for slamming another candidate
GREENWICH — Greenwich Republicans are angry over an election night remark made by a Democratic candidate late on election night.
Laura Kostin, who lost her bid to unseat Republican state Rep. Fred Camillo in the 151st District, took to the microphone at the Democratic Town Committee’s gathering Tuesday to congratulate fellow Democrat Stephen Meskers for defeating Michael Bocchino in the 150th House District. In doing so she took a shot at the incumbent Republican.
“I have never been more excited to congratulate a wonderful candidate on defeating such a douche,” Kostin said, getting loud laughter and applause from the small crowd still present.
Kostin immediately joked that she was sorry for the remark and that DTC Chair Tony Turner “said I was classy (but) he hasn’t known me that long.”
Her remarks came after most of the crowd had gone home. But they were recorded by local media and posted online.
Bocchino said it was a sad statement that Greenwich Democrats wanted Kostin to represent them and said there was no place for that kind of language in local politics.
“I think she should resign from the RTM and any other capacity she is serving the town,” Bocchino said.
But Kostin said she would not resign from the town’s Representative Town Meeting. “Right now, I’m focused on putting this election behind me,” she said.
Kostin and Bocchino have clashed in the past — even though they were not running against each other. At the League of Women Voters debate in October, when all four of the state representative candidates were on the stage at the same time, Kostin was asked a question about national politics. Bocchino interrupted her to say that their races were about the state of Connecticut.
Kostin chastised Bocchino for the interruption, telling him, “You’re not the moderator of the debate.”
Bocchino responded by saying, “Just reminding you what we’re running for.”
On Wednesday, Kostin cited that exchange in her response to the criticism.
“I will not be bullied by Mike Bocchino during a debate, during a political run or any other time,” she said.
Camillo also weighed in, calling Kostin’s comment “one of the most classless things I’ve ever seen.”
“In 10 years of running for office, I’ve never seen that, especially here,” Camillo said. “We pride ourselves on usually having civil debate here in Greenwich. And what really upset me about that wasn’t just what she said, but that you could see people applauding and cheering when she said it. I hope she will call Mike up and apologize. Mike is a family man with two young children, and he’s given most of his life, not just by running for office but through volunteering, to the town of Greenwich.”
Those who cheered the comment should be ashamed, he said.
In September, Kostin criticized Board of Human Services member Jeffrey Medina when the RTM was considering his reappointment to a new term. She called out comments Medina had made on social media that heavily criticized liberals and others who disagreed with him politically.
At the time, Kostin called for better vetting of candidates for town boards and commissions and said people “should expect to be held accountable for our words.”
Ultimately, Medina was reappointed to the board as RTM members said he deserved another chance. Medina was one of the Republicans criticizing Kostin’s comments about Bocchino.
Before Kostin spoke Tuesday night, Meskers had praised Bocchino for his call to concede the race. And he repeated that praise Wednesday, saying Bocchino had been gracious and willing to help.
In regard to Kostin’s comment, Meskers said it should be taken with a grain of salt — especially after the long campaign.
“I wouldn’t want to judge someone on what they said during the heat of the moment,” Meskers said.