Norwalk political notes: Donkaphants and Elekeys

Republican State Central Committee member Kelly Straniti, a member of the Ethics Commission and a former Mayoral candidate, speaks to the Republican Town Committee, May 20 in the Norwalk Inn.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some party-oriented Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Dems/Republicans to play ‘non-political’ softball
  • Republicans table ‘confidence vote’ in J.R. Romano
  • State GOP head visits Norwalk

Elekeys versus Donkaphants

The Norwalk Democratic Town Committee and the Norwalk Republican Town Committee plan to meet Aug. 3 for a softball game.  Instead of playing each other, two mixed teams will each be led by a Town Committee chairman.

The idea is to “show that we can come together for the community and for a charity,” Republican State Central Committee member Kelly Straniti said at the May 20 RTC meeting.

Mixing the teams was DTC Chairman Ed Camacho’s idea, she said.

Each team will have 16 town committee members and will battle at Kendall Elementary School under the team names “Donkaphants” and “Elekeys,” she said.

“The number one rule we have for the day is no politics…. just fun,” she said.

No political signs, no political discussions, just a softball game at a centrally located school, to benefit a charity which has not yet been named. Rain date would be Aug. 4.


Straniti supports embattled CT GOP leader

J.R. Romano is facing competition in the June election for Connecticut Republican Party chairman, Straniti said on May 20.  She encouraged Norwalk Republicans to support him.

The effort resulted in the RTC declining to issue a “vote of confidence” in Romano, a departure from the predictable RTC meetings of yore, which featured no drama.

Romano has been Connecticut GOP leader since June 2015. Straniti said no one has approached her to get her vote as a State Central member, but she’s read news reports.

“At least two people are considering challenging Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano, setting the party up for an internal leadership race that could mirror the chaos of the 2018 primary, albeit on a much smaller scale,” Kaitlyn Krasselt wrote in an April 20 CTPost story.

“I think there was a push to kind of replace some state central members with people that would support somebody else and that didn’t go as they had planned,” Straniti said on May 20.

She’ll support Romano because she’s known him almost 20 years, they’ve worked together on campaigns and he helped her “greatly” when she ran for Mayor,” she said.

“I just don’t see anybody that’s more qualified or better suited. He is a phenomenal spokesperson for our party, Straniti said, and his factual responses to criticisms are “like an art form.”  She’ll support him because he’s smart, articulate, and able “to stay cool under constant attack, primarily from the Democrats, from people in our own party sometimes,” she said.

District D Chairman John Romano suggested a vote of confidence in J.R. Romano, saying, “I know it’s your vote on State Central, but I’d like to be a voice of our town committee as well.”

“The point of it being?” Ernie DesRochers asked.

He later called it “inappropriate” but said “go ahead,” and Bryan Meek suggested they weigh in on the next Giants coach.

Drew Todd said J.R. Romano had been no help in 2018, although Straniti had said the state committee provided much assistance, such as no-cost robocalls, and that Romano is open to everyone.

Doug Hempstead moved to table the idea, and 23 of the 33 to 36 RTC members present agreed.


Romano was recruiting, Straniti says

A Facebook photo of J.R. Romano with Republican Mayoral candidate Darnell Crosland set some tongues wagging, as Crosland is competing with unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton for the RTC endorsement.

Both hope to defeat incumbent Democratic Mayor Harry Rilling.

Romano was in Norwalk to talk to the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), people “from all around the state,” including someone from New Haven, “where we definitely need to get more Republicans,” Straniti told the RTC.

While he “also came down to welcome Darnell to the party,” it was “part of a national movement where Democrats are leaving the party and coming to the Republicans,” she said. “…They are realizing that although there’s a lot of wonderful people in the Democrat party a lot of the policies aren’t working for them anymore.”

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