Greenwich: A stretch of coastline dotted by politics

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich leaves after his campaign stop at the Armory, Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Janesville, Wis. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — A six-mile stretch of Greenwich coastline is virtually unrivaled in the country for attracting presidential hopefuls. From John Kasich to Hillary Clinton, all come to share in the abundance of campaign cash to be found here.

Pan over the spits of land jutting into Long Island Sound, and there’s a connection to the highest office in the land.

In addition to a sitting president and a future president, five presidential and vice presidential candidates have panned for political gold along this narrow stretch of waterfront real estate during the past decade.

The clout of the Gold Coast was not lost on Barack Obama in 2007, when hedge fund titan Paul Tudor Jones hosted an early fundraiser for the then-Illinois senator at his $26 million white-columned Belle Haven mansion.

“As Obama said, ‘I thought the White House would be an upgrade, but maybe I’ll stay here,’ ” recalled Democrat Ned Lamont, a Greenwich cable television entrepreneur who has run for the Senate and governor.

Next door to Jones’ compound is the Belle Haven Club, where Jeb Bush filled his coffers last October before the former Florida governor’s presidential bid flamed out.

Through the end of February, giving to presidential candidates for the four ZIP codes that encompass Greenwich’s coastal neighborhoods totaled nearly $1 million for the 2016 campaign cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission. The sum does not include super PAC contributions, which are in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The most recent marquee visit was by Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio who is running a distant third to Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the GOP nominating race. Kasich was the guest March 30 of investor Ian McKinnon and his socialite wife, Sonnet McKinnon, whose $27 million, 18,000-square-foot Riverside estate overlooks Long Island Sound.

While there is a cachet that comes with hosting candidates— as well as security costs —some locals said it would be refreshing if there was greater access to the candidates.

“I just wish I would see more of them come back later for reasons other than making money,” said state Rep. Fred Camillo, R-Greenwich, a Kasich backer who was in attendance at the fundraiser.

Kasich also held a public town hall Friday at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Ironically, two promontories to the west of where Kasich visited is a $54 million compound once owned by Trump that has been on the market for more than a year. In the same Indian Harbor association, which has a guard house, is a $30 million estate known as Villa Candia where Clinton raised $200,000 last June for her presidential bid. The property, first developed by 19th century New York political boss William Tweed and owned by retired financial trader Malcolm Wiener and his wife, Carolyn Wiener, is known for its extensive collection of rare art.

On the same spit of land in Riverside as the Kasich fundraiser is the waterfront estate of state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, a prolific bundler of political cash for the GOP who hosted President George W. Bush in 2006, former vice presidential nominee and current House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in 2012 and Mitt Romney multiple times.

“Romney has the Romney bedroom,” Lamont quipped.

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Information from: Greenwich Time, http://www.greenwichtime.com

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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