All Fairfield DTC members eligible to vote for state rep nominee
FAIRFIELD — All members of the Democratic Town Committee will be allowed to vote in the party’s upcoming special nomination for state representative.
While typically only members of a town committee living in the represented district are eligible to vote, the DTC found out this week that the nominee will actually be chosen by all its elected members.
First Selectwoman-elect Brenda Kupchick is expected to resign from the state legislature Nov. 25, leaving her seat in the 132nd district — composed of RTM districts 3, 8, 9 and 10 — vacant.
RTM representative Brian Farnen has expressed interest in being the Republican nominee, though he has not confirmed his candidacy. Two Democrats, Board of Education member Jennifer Leeper and previous Kupchick challenger Caitlin Clarkson Pereira, have confirmed that they are seeking the nomination.
On Monday, the DTC’s attorney William Burke told leadership that, because of changes in DTC representation and an obscure state statute, they must allow all DTC members to vote regardless of electoral district — a change from past practices.
Connecticut law states that in endorsing candidates, only delegates from the electorate in question are eligible to vote. However, it states, “in a municipality in which the town committee is elected at large … such endorsement shall be made by the town committee as a whole.”
In 2013, the DTC changed its membership from a district representation system to an at-large model, with one member per 53 registered Democrats in the town. There are currently 153 general members of the DTC, according to Chair Steve Sheinberg.
In an email shared with Hearst Connecticut Media, Burke said that the at-large model requires all members to be eligible to vote, not just those living in Districts 3, 8, 9 and 10.
“If one starts from the proposition that each DTC member was elected to represent Democrats throughout the town of Fairfield, including Democrats who live in the state rep district at issue here, then it makes sense that the entire DTC should endorse,” Burke wrote in the email.
Burke was not immediately available for comment.
Sheinberg said the changed voting rules should not make a significant difference in the results of the nomination.
“The DTC will have a fair nominating process, and the change in eligibility should not affect the outcome,” he said.
Sheinberg declined to provide a list of DTC members eligible to vote.
The Republican Town Committee, meanwhile, has retained a district representation model, with seven members for each 1,000 registered Republicans in a district, and an additional member for each additional 250 registered Republicans in the district.
This means the RTC’s nomination will still be voted on by only members representing Districts 3, 8, 9 and 10, as well as ex-oficio members living in the 132nd district, said RTC Chair Jamie Millington.
According to the Republican Town Committee’s member listing, the RTC members eligible to vote for the nomination include multiple elected town officials: Kupchick herself; Selectman-elect Tom Flynn; Board of Education Vice Chair Nick Aysseh; Board of Finance members James Brown, Mary LeClerc and Jim Walsh; RTM representatives Hank Ference, Pamela Iacono, Bill Perugini, Frank Petise and Marisa Ringel; Plan and Zoning Commission member Meg Francis; Constable Michael Herley; and potential nominee Farnen.
The other eligible RTC members are Chairman Jamie Millington, outgoing Selectman Chris Tymniak, Bryan Cafferelli, Steve Elworthy, Mark Dunlevy, Amy Flynn, Peter Koutroulas, Diane Pagnozzi, Joe Pagnozzi, Ron Pine, Bryan LeClerc, Nick Mirabile, Anne Roche, Trey Bickers, Rick Grauer, Rob Scinto, David Becker, Jamie Benton, Thomas Longo, Bud Morten and Caesar Anquillare.