In wake of redistricting ruling, parties scramble to adjust RTM slates
A judge's ruling last Friday restored the town's voting districts to 10, with five members each, for the November election, but that didn't make much of a difference for the political parties when they nominated candidates to the legislative body Tuesday.
Neither is fielding a full slate of 50 RTM candidates.
Superior Court Judge Mary E. Sommer issued an injunction preventing the town from implementing an eight-district, 40-member redistricting plan approved by the RTM in May, so the 10-district, 50-member format in place for the last 10 years will be used again in November.
Democrats held a nominating convention last week for townwide seats, but held off on picking RTM candidates until the judge's ruling, though they were ready to proceed with a 10-district slate all along.
The Republican Town Committee, however, had prepared for its caucus with an eight-district slate, and had to scramble over the weekend to recruit candidates.
In the end, the RTC fielded 46 RTM candidates, while the Democrats have a slate of 45 candidates.
"I don't know that we've ever had 50," DTC Chairman Ellery Plotkin said, who told party members that with no first selectman contest on the ballot this year, the party's focus is taking back control of the RTM.
Currently, there are 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats on the town's legislative body.
Both parties had a contest for the RTM seats in one of the body's districts. For Democrats, that was District 4 where six candidates vied for the five slots: Douglas Jones, Cindy Waldron, Heather Dean, Bill Gerber, Patrick Jeanetti and Jay Gross. Gross lost out, receiving only one vote. Dean, who is an incumbent in District 4, is also a Board of Education candidate.
The GOP contest came in District 1, where there were six nominees for five spots. Winning the nomination were incumbents Michael Herley, Eric Sundman, Joseph "Jay" Lipp, Gaylord Meyer and newcomer John Donovan. Losing out was Frank Greco.
Like Dean, several other RTM candidates in both parties are also seeking other seats. Incumbents Marc Patten, D-5, and Kenneth Lee, D-10, are on the ballot for their RTM seats as well as for the school board. The fourth Democratic school board candidate, Donna Karnal, also has her name on the ballot for an RTM seat in District 9.
Two GOP incumbents, William Domeika and Carol Way, are running in different districts because of a change of address. Domeika is now running in District 5 instead of District 9, while Way's move has also put her in District 5 instead of District 10.
This year's RTM candidates also include the offspring of well-known local politicians. On the Republican side, Christopher Tymniak is running in District 9. Both his parents served as state legislators.
And on the Democratis slate is Michael Flatto in District 5. Flatto's father, Ken, also served as the town's first selectman.
For the complete slates of candidates nominated by Democrats and Republicans to run for the Representative Town Meeting in November, check www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com