Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Progressive Slate Overwhelms Drew Team

A large and organized group of Democrats today upended the established party leadership and ushered in a new era for the city.

Voters chose between two competing slates for the Democratic Town Committee (DTC). The slate put forward by existing leadership, which is loyal to Mayor Dan Drew, was composed almost entirely of people who have been on the DTC for many years, if not decades. In contrast, over half of the alternative slate was composed of people who have not previously been on the DTC.
Blanchard and Drake

The alternative slate won in a landslide, by a vote of 118 to 41.

The Democrat (and Republican) Town Committees are elected for two year terms in the January after each municipal election. Their most important function is to determine who is on the ballot. They have complete control of party endorsements for all municipal elections, and for the two state legislator seats that are entirely in Middletown. They also select delegates to the nominating conventions for Governor and other state-wide and regional elections.

This makes the election of the DTC of great importance to Drew, who is a candidate in this year's election for Governor.

Nesci objects
Current DTC Chair Sal Nesci opened the caucus, and called for nominations for a chair and secretary of the caucus. The DTC leadership nominated former Councilman Todd Berch and Dan Ryan, while the backers of the progressive slate nominated Councilman Rob Blanchard and Chair of the Board of Education Chris Drake. The votes for each were lopsided, Blanchard and Drake receiving the overwhelming majority of the votes.

Two slates of candidates were then nominated, 75 individuals put forward by the executive board of the existing DTC, and 70 individuals put forward by a loose affiliation of progressive activists looking to change the direction of the DTC.

Nesci and other leaders of the existing DTC protested that in a meeting immediately preceding the caucus, they had increased the size of the DTC from 70 to 75, arguing that this made the alternative slate invalid.

Click to enlarge 
Drake pointed out that by state law, the
party was required to follow the bylaws filed with the State Central Party by November 10, and that the rules of the state take precedence over the rules of the town committee. The caucus became raucous during this discussion, as panicked supporters of Drew and the DTC realized that they had neither the votes nor the law on their side.

After nominations were closed, and the arguments abated, voters were asked to choose between the DTC slate printed on white paper, and the alternate slate, printed on yellow paper.  The yellow slate received almost 75% of the votes.

DTC Executive Nominated Slate
 (click to enlarge)
If Drew and his supporters wish to overturn the DTC election, they have the option of petitioning for a primary election in March. One activist who was on both the DTC slate and the alternate slate expressed hope that Drew would not mount such a challenge, "If Drew wishes to receive the support of progressives, he should not push to overturn the election of progressives to our city's DTC."

Disclaimer. I am one of the members of the alternative slate.


Anonymous said...

Another backroom deal. Just a different backroom.

Jason said...

Congratulations!!! You guys are a shining example of how it's done!

Anonymous said...

I applaud the progressives on the alternate slate, but still see the names of many members who have been on the DTC for years and probably decades and aren't very progressive.

Anonymous said...

If more people participated, even if more people Voted, perhaps the backroom would disappear, or at least diminish in its influence.
Please, when the time comes, go out and vote!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about a progressive takeover. Certainly Dan Drew is a progressive. Could it be that Dan Drew opponents orchestrated a takeover using newbie progressives as a shield?

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to the DTC-elected slate of Middletown Democratic Town Committee members.

Anonymous said...

If Dan is truly progressive, he'd be speaking to his base instead of looking for excuses and scapegoats. It's embarrassing to have watched our "progressive" mayor sulk in a corner last night while a mass of progressive residents tried to hold the DTC to the fire. I would be much more embarrassed about that decision than getting kicked off the DTC.

Anonymous said...

Drew is a sinking ship, and we're stuck with him for 3 more years.

John Milardo said...

It's about time!

Anonymous said...

That was very uncomfortable to watch. The DTC shouldn’t be a life membership. It should be reflective of the community. The DTC shouldn’t be an extension of the mayor. A progressive would understand that and be inspired for his town. His focus is elsewhere clearly. If he was in touch with his base this wouldn’t and couldn’t have happened. Middletown is only so big.

barbara said...

so many anonymous comments.....

PAUL Schmitz said...

Watching closely us warranted.

BrianK said...

Just until November of 2019.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe that the progressive faction of the Democratic Party in Middletown is a good thing? Progressive Democrats cannot win elections. They may have short term victories in primaries and what happened on Tuesday at the town committee meeting but people do not vote overwhelmingly for progressive Democrats. Doesn't anyone remember the 2006 election between Ned Lamont & Joe Lieberman? Ned Lamont had the support of the progressive Democrats and won the primary over Senator Lieberman. But Senator Lieberman came back and defeated Ned Lamont in the general election in a 3 way race. I think there were more than 3 candidates if you factor in the minor party candidates. In CT general elections, people elect middle of the road candidates not progressive or liberal candidates. Plus, the mood of the country right now is conservative. Please do not cling to something that will not happen.

Enzo D said...

Now we get three more years of this idiot. Can we impeach him for getting his Columbia degree while being mayor? They don't offer an online degree so how was he in two places at once??? Town council stop being puppets do your jobs and dig into the practices of this man.

Can't take three more years with this joker at the healm, Middletown will never improve with him in power.