The following was compiled from materials submitted by the Wilton Democratic Town Committee (DTC).

Wilton Democrats are enjoying an early surge of volunteer enthusiasm, even in the lull of summer. Democratic Town Committee officials say that at their campaign kick-off last Saturday, July 28, they had approximately 100 people show up to a rally to hear both from statewide candidates and from local candidates before signing up for future phone banks and fanning out across town to campaign door-to-door with the candidates.

The event drew prominent candidates from statewide races, including US Congressman Jim Himes, Ned Lamont (the DTC-endorsed candidate for Governor), Susan Bysiewicz (Candidate for Lieutenant Governor), and William Tong (candidate for Attorney General).

Candidates for local races at the rally were Will Haskell (candidate for State Senate, 26th District), Ross Tartell (candidate for State House, 125th District), and Stephanie Thomas (candidate for State House, 143rd District).

Himes called the event “the largest pre-election turnout of volunteers” he’d seen in the area, and linked it to concern over Trump administration policies.

“The White House is attacking the institutions that are the cornerstone of our democracy, they are denied and sullied by the President of the United States,” Himes said. He tied that to campaign rhetoric. “The Trump wave has come to Connecticut. At the Republican Gubernatorial forum last week, when asked how they thought Trump was doing, every single candidate gave Trump Grade A.”

Other quotes from the candidates:

“Apathy seems to be winning more elections than Democrats or Republicans. Today’s volunteer turnout is a positive sign that our community wants to turn that trend around and ensure that their representation is reflective of their values.”  –Thomas, a first-time candidate and small business owner who is running for Representative in the 143rd district.

“If there’s ever a year to bring change to Hartford, I know this is the year. There is an exceptional energy in the air, in Wilton, in Westport, in Redding, in Ridgefield–we are going to let Hartford know that the same old talking points won’t work anymore.” –Haskell, also a first-time candidate for the State Senate, 26th District.

“Two years ago most of you, including me, wouldn’t have been in this room, but we’ve all decided to step up to change the trajectory of people’s lives.” –Tartell, a management consultant new to election politics who is running for the State House, 125th District.