Last-minute write-in unaffiliated Westport BOE member wins by a wide margin

Despite not being on the ballot, her late entry to the Westport Board of Education race has won the election by a wide margin.

Tom Krosnowski and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Nov 8, 2023, 10:09 PM

Updated 257 days ago

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Newly elected Westport school board member Jill Dillon rode a late wave into a victory over two Republican candidates - one of whom would have been guaranteed victory if she did not run.
Despite not being on the ballot, her late entry to the Westport Board of Education race has won the election by a wide margin.
News 12 spoke with the party-unaffiliated Dillon to find out what enabled the write-in win.
“I don't have a machine behind me, and they said, ‘Yes you do.’ And I said, ‘You’re right, I do, I have a machine of an amazing community behind me,” said Dillon.
Politically unaffiliated, write-in candidates with one month’s notice don’t typically win elections - much less by thousands over major parties.
“I just didn’t think that felt fair because I don’t think that the candidates that they put forward represent the majority of voices in Westport,” said Dillon.
The campaign Facebook page for Jamie Fitzgerald and Camilo Riano displays their opposition to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs and supposed “pornographic material” in the schools amid what they called a “deteriorating quality” of the district.
“Schools are buildings, but schools are made up of teachers. And so, when you say something bad about the schools, you’re talking about the teachers and the administrators. And I just didn’t think that was fair because that’s not a true representation of who our teachers are,” said Dillon.
Dillon is a former PTA President at two Westport schools. The board now has four Democrats, two Republicans and one unaffiliated member. The town charter prohibits the board from having more than four out of seven members from any one party.
Dillon knows that the issues she fought against won’t go away - but she says she’s committed to civility.
“I think that’s the best that we can all do is try to listen to each other, and be reasonable, and be kind, be civil, and set a great example for our kids,” said Dillon.
News 12 has not heard back from the Riano-Fitzgerald campaign for comment. 


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