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Meek seeks to oust Norwalk Republican Registrar

From left, Dan Lyons, then-Board of Education candidate Erica DePalma and Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons watch the Oct. 28 League of Women Voters Common Council candidate forum in City Hall.

The election is over!

Updated, 3:45 p.m.: Comments from Bryan Meek.

NORWALK, Conn. — Republican Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons is again under fire from within.

“I’m very sad to report that we might have won the mayor’s seat without our very own ROV {Registrar of Voters} actively campaigning against us and I can not forgive this.  EVER.  This can not happen again,” Board of Education members wrote in an early Wednesday email to other Republicans. “Please join me in finding a new ROV for our caucus as soon as possible.”

Meek sent his 3 a.m. email to 112 people, at least four of whom no longer live in Norwalk. It was forwarded to NancyOnNorwalk.

Meek did not reply to a late Wednesday email asking how Doyle Lyons was campaigning against Republicans or if he’d gotten support for his call to remove her. He lost his bid for reelection Tuesday, bested by Democratic candidate Erica DePalma.

In 2014, Norwalk Republicans sought to remove Lyons. John Federici won the party’s endorsement for the post but Doyle Lyons won the ensuing primary.

NancyOnNorwalk asked Doyle Lyons last week if she was campaigning for DePalma. Doyle Lyons said she wasn’t.

DePalma is her granddaughter, she explained.

“Years ago, there was, and there have been, Republicans on the Republican Town Committee that have placed signs and have campaigned …for family members in a different party,” she said. “And I felt that that was inappropriate.”

She explained that she and her husband have six children, with spouses, and 12 grandchildren with spouses, including DePalma’s husband, former Common Council member Michael DePalma.

“We love them all and we support them all but I will not put a sign on my lawn or my neighbor’s lawn or ask them to put a the sign on their (lawn),” she said. “While we support her as our granddaughter – I think she’ll do a wonderful job but I’m not going to put her sign on (my lawn). I think Bryan Meek’s done a wonderful job also and so I will let the voters decide who they should vote for.”

Doyle Lyons did not reply to a Wednesday email from NancyOnNorwalk, asking about Meek’s comments. Neither did Republican-endorsed Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton, who received 36 of the 51 Republican Town Committee votes in winning the RTC endorsement in July. That vote was done by secret ballot.

NancyOnNorwalk was unsuccessful in attempts to reach Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Suda on Wednesday.

“The knives have been out for her for years because, among other reasons, she’s not seen as a conscientious worker (lots of no-show work days) and she doesn’t much help republicans increase their registrations,” former RTC Chairman Victor Cavallo wrote. “Even Darnell Crosland had a bone to pick with her. Also, hers is one of the few paid positions and lots of people want that job. But because she has a huge following and social circle – veterans affairs and all- she is unbeatable. I had the displeasure of being betrayed by her during my impeachment when, in return for her support she asked and got a commitment from me to support her. I got no indication from her on election night for the chairmanship that she intended to vote for me.  She wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence that evening.”

Former RTC Chairman Pete Torrano led the 2014 attempt to oust Doyle Lyons. On Wednesday, he wrote:

“It was evident to many of us several years ago when I was the chair of the RTC that the ROV has only one agenda, and that was simply to stay in office. There had been complaints filed against her that had reached the state level. These included inappropriate behavior, constant absence from her office and bullying of the then DROV. She had been spoken to and counseled on several occasions by former mayor Moccia and former RTC Chair Scialabba, and a team of two moderators had been assigned by the Secretary of State to investigate her actions. There was no change in her abuse of office.

“The entire executive committee of the RTC had voted to not renominate her because of these violations, and more.

“The Republican ROV, who still holds office does so because the support of some on the RTC who are now, curiously enough, calling for her removal, and by making an alliance with another office seeker who had not gained the RTC nomination, so ran a primary race instead. It’s a bitter lesson learned by those who would not do the right thing at that time.”

Meek on Thursday released a statement:

“There is general consensus about having a change in this spot.   I did not feel this way 4 years (?) ago when a majority in our party decided to nominate someone else for the position.   I supported her primary bid, which she won.

“The RTC bylaws clearly prohibit supporting candidates endorsed by another party.   I would hold harmless anyone campaigning for their granddaughter, but in this case she is on our payroll and was not only actively pushing, but aggressively pushing her interests.
“I think my.opponent would have won on her own, but the fact remains we are paying someone a salary that is supposed to look out for our parties interests and instead worked against them.  How can volunteer candidates on limited budgets (mine, self financed under $1k) compete with someone who is otherwise supposed to be getting Republican voters registered and is instead out canvassing Democrat votes.
“Interestingly , I received about the same amount of votes as I did 4 years ago having won by 300.  This time I lost by 700.   A 1000 point swing.  How many of those votes went against other Republicans on a party line vote that might have otherwise won their seats?
“Again, this isn’t sour grapes, it’s just a rationale observation that this city will only ever have one party ruling it as long as our very own Registrar of voters is actively working to undermine out interests.  It’s time for a change.”

14 comments

Sue Haynie November 7, 2019 at 6:34 am

I’m not much of a Republican but I did have some dealings with Karen Doyle Lyons. She’s not an asset for the Republicans. If she enjoys her job, she doesn’t show it. It’s a paid job so I understand why she stays, why she keeps getting voted in by Republicans, however, is beyond me.

James Cahn November 7, 2019 at 7:51 am

I can’t even begin to grasp the small mindedness and lack of both nuance and loyalty that would be required to hold any modern political party, let alone the pig-ignorant, modern brand of the “Republican” party as important enough to not put a sign out for your family. You’re not going to put a sign out for your GRAND-DAUGHTER? Are these the “conservative values” I’ve heard so much about?

I hate all political signs. The only times I’ve had one on my lawn was when I, myself, was running and when I was running Lisa’s first campaign. The one other time was to support Eloisa Melendez. Why? Because while she and I may not regularly agree with each other over largely modern “political” issues she is, first and foremost is my good friend. A friend I wouldn’t have had unless I ran against her in an election where she destroyed me. There’s being hard and fast in your thought experiments and then there’s believing that not having a thought process at all is its own thought experiment. That’s objectively incorrect and takes a special brand of vacuousness.

KDL is an elected official and so is subject to the same application of discomfort that I use for all elected officials. This republican will never vote for her again. She can’t even support her own family and she’s pleased to have attribution regarding it. In what insane world can I expect that she’d adequately represent whatever constituents she’s supposed to be the voice of?

I’m so tired of make-believe, ineffective, Trump sycophant, “Republicans.” Norwalk’s, in particular.

Bryan Meek November 7, 2019 at 8:09 am

There is general consensus about having a change in this spot. I did not feel this way 5 years ago when a majority in our party decided to nominate someone else for the position. I supported her primary bid, which she won.

The RTC bylaws clearly prohibit supporting candidates endorsed by another party. I would hold harmless anyone campaigning for their granddaughter, but in this case she is on our payroll and was not only actively pushing, but aggressively pushing her interests. She was seen putting lawn signs out and I had calls from folks upset that she was canvassing them. I didn’t witness anything first hand, but I don’t have any reason to doubt it happened.

I think my.opponent would have won on her own, but the fact remains we are paying someone a salary that is supposed to look out for our parties interests and instead worked against them. How can volunteer candidates on limited budgets (mine, self financed under $1k) compete with someone who is otherwise supposed to be getting Republican voters registered and is instead out canvassing Democrat votes.

Interestingly , I received about the same amount of votes as I did 4 years ago having won by 300. This time I lost by 700. A 1000 point swing. How many of those votes went against other Republicans on a party line vote that might have otherwise won their seats?

Again, this isn’t sour grapes, it’s just a rationale observation that this city will only ever have one party ruling it as long as our very own Registrar of voters is actively working to undermine out interests. It’s time for a change.

James Cahn November 7, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Also, as long as we’re on about signs, a notice to the candidates: The election is over. Your signs are garbage, now. Remember how you all made a big deal about how much you “love beautiful Norwalk?” You’ve left her streets covered in trash.

Retrieve them.

Today.

pleasestop November 7, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Oh yeah the ROV was the reason Rilling buried Brinton again. It has nothing to do with the fact the RTC nominated a candidate who distanced herself from Republicans every chance she got. Did the ROV come up with the ridiculous NURDS political pitch?

Bryan Meek November 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm

No, the ROV is just part of it, but still a part of it. I went out on a limb to take a leadership position here and I was shocked to find out how much support there is for this after just 36 hours. This time, there will be change.

Again, my opponent is worthy (something I wrote in the leaked email referenced above that was left out of this news article) and I’ve already stated she would have won anyway. I wished her well and I think she can make positive contributions to the next board.

This is about the future of the RTC and whether or not Norwalk slips into single party rule that has ruined the next 5 largest cities in the state. I don’t want to see that happen here.

carol November 7, 2019 at 4:24 pm

always out to get Karen who has done so much for the city and our vetrans.grow up people and lick your wounds privately.

Sofia Gomez November 7, 2019 at 4:58 pm

The level of classlessness expressed by the language and lack of reasoning in this sad, sad essay Mr. Meek wrote truly illustrates why he lost. Anyone with an IQ of a high school graduate should possess the logic to realize that when you’re in the Public office of registrar of voters do you need to remain impartial in an election.

Bryan Meek November 8, 2019 at 5:33 am

James to be clear, I would have no issue with her putting I a sign up on her own yard. It was her active efforts during work hours to put up Dem signs on registered Republican lawns that I took issue with. Again, it didn’t matter in my case, but the party needs to be working together to avoid landslides like the last one. If anyone thinks it is healthy to have 24 out of 25 seats represented by one political party, I need to see an example of where that has worked. My only frame of reference for single party rule like this is the major cities that are crumbling.

Ann Crisci November 8, 2019 at 12:17 pm

A 1:34am rant from someone who didn’t win his bid to be elected should be discounted at all times.

Karen Doyle Lyons is a valuable asset to the city of Norwalk, impartial and hard working. I have worked as a moderator for Norwalk elections for many years, have been trained by Karen and suffer the long arduous election day protocol under her direction and wisdom every time.

Karen practices ethical values at every turn and is too classy to respond to this disparaging post. I defend Karen’s character in her name.

George B November 8, 2019 at 12:58 pm

I love this…. the fall of the Norwalk Republican party started when the arrogance went after KDL, how’d that work out for you? You have never been the same since. Most have moved on… let me give you some advice: don’t email anyone after 12:00 am. Look to the real problems and distance yourself from that, Lisa lost 100 percent there..I knew Erica was going to win and the best opportunity Repubs had was when Bob Duff made the biggest blunder of his career with calling Meek and Lisa a racist and you still didn’t win.. Harry won because he distanced himself from that..

Bryan Meek November 8, 2019 at 10:30 pm

@George. I don’t disagree with the analysis of the unraveling that began 5 years ago, but those that should have paid that price are long gone. You are essentially saying that 45% of the city should continue to pay for those sins. How does that help Norwalk. As for my schedule, really none of your business but I support a 24x7x365 organization and much happens around the clock, sorry. The DTC is clearly more coordinated and the RTC has players within it working against it’s mission, which isn’t electing supermajorities of Democrats.

Bryan Meek November 8, 2019 at 10:52 pm

Ann, your service and everyone who conducts our elections is to be commended. Probably the most important part of the job, arguably. However, this is a full time job beyond Election Day that requires a lot more attention that is supposed to align with the RTC mission. That fact won’t change if it is 1:34 local time or in Tasmania. Again I supported her primary 5 years ago when the party tried to make a change. I did that in good faith, thinking it would help our overall mission. I never thought it would serve to work against us and more importantly balanced government in the city..

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