Bateson gets GOP nod to seek board seat in special election
Published 3:02 pm, Wednesday, March 29, 2017
FAIRFIELD — They may not believe there will actually be a special election for the Board of Selectmen, but the Republican Town Committee selected its nominee Tuesday night anyway, and billed the race as a referendum on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
Ed Bateson, who was appointed by the selectmen in December to fill the vacancy caused by Republican Selectman Laurie McArdle’s resignation, was the unanimous choice of the GOP.
“I think I have the skill set to sit at that table and make a difference,” Bateson said, “None of us wanted to do this, but I’m looking forward to June.”
Bateson and Tymniak’s refusal to set a date for a special election after 3,200 signatures were collected on petitions ended up in court. They claimed that since the vacancy was filled in 30 days, the town charter did not allow for a special election. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis disagreed, and order the election be held June 6. She also denied their request for certify their appeal for an expedited review by the state Supreme Court.
“Obviously, we weren’t planning on having a special election,” RTC Chairman James Millington said,” so we’re going to nominate a candidate for an election we may, or may not, end up having.”
Attorney James Baldwin, former RTC chairman, represented the Board of Selectmen and Tymniak and Bateson, and has said Bellis’ ruling was not the end of the road. However, there have been no special Board of Selectmen meetings to discuss further action on the court case.
“It has been said before that if a man does not stand for anything, he will fall for everything,” Vice Chairman Michael Herley said in his nominating speech. “Unlike his opportunist political opponent, Ed Bateson is a man of principle.” Herley served on the Representative Town Meeting with Bateson.
The Democratic candidate is former Selectman Kevin Kiley, who until earlier this year was a registered Republican.
“Not only is Ed the right person to be our Republican nominee for Selectman, he is the right person to provide the proper checks and balances to the tax and spend policies of First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Gov. Dan Malloy,” Herley said.
The nomination was seconded by Tymniak, who said Bateson was part of the solution for residents being squeezed out of Fairfield by high taxes.
Millington said he has informed Democratic Town Committee Chairman Steve Sheinberg that a previous “gentleman’s agreement” regarding appointments is now off. “I cannot trust him,” Millington said.”They decided to go in a different diretion with the Board of Selectmen.”
The parties usually accept the other’s recommendation to fill vacant seats that were held by that party. However, Jim Walsh, then Republican selectman, refused to approve the Democrat’s recommendation of Tetreau as interim first selectman when Ken Flatto resigned to take a job with the state. There was talk by some Republicans of a special election, but the first selectman’s seat was up for re-election within a few months time.
“If this election does happen, it will be a test to determine if Fairfield continues down the road of Mike Tetreau and Dan Malloy,” Millington said, “or if we continue to find new ways to cut expenses. It’s going to a be a referendum.” He said he has had moderate Democrats complain to him about the liberals that have taken ahold of the local party.