NORWALK, Conn. – The often-sleepy election of Democratic Town Committee members has a sly surprise twist this year in District E. Some credit Lisa Brinton for the move but she said she’s not involved.
“On Monday, a group of non-Democrats is attempting to overtake my District. I hope every democrat I know is paying attention locally, state wide and nationally,” Tina Duryea wrote Friday in a Tweet.
The Democratic caucuses are being held Monday. Anyone can run, if they’re a registered Democrat.
Priscilla Feral, a Democrat who said she’s also running for the DTC, explained that the “Lisa Brinton contingent has been infiltrating to register as Democrats from unaffiliated in an attempt to take over the DTC slate.”
Brinton assembled a slate of independent candidates for the fall election, some of them registered Democrat.
“My understanding is the individuals running are registered Democrats, likely tired of not being represented by the DTC and are exercising their right to run a slate,” Brinton wrote Sunday. “They are NOT Independents – they are Democrats and as such, I do not know all their names.”
She said, “Confusion may be in the fact that I ran moderate Democrats on the Independent line, who were more concerned in serving Norwalk than pledging loyalty oaths to the current mayor.”
Feral provided tentative lists of candidates.
“Here is the slate of 11 people (the ‘Rilling Slate’) we are asking Democrats to vote for on Monday,” she wrote. They are:
- Ed Camacho
- Debra Harring D’Arinzo
- Tina L. Duryea
- Priscilla Feral
- Mary Ellen Flaherty-Ludwig
- Colin Anthony Hostin
- Esther Murillo
- Benita Raleigh
- Lucia C. Rilling
- Kevin M. Tepas
- Stuart Wells
She said the following names are “Brinton’s collective and may not be finalized but submitted their names for the DTC.”
- Aimee Ableman
- Annie Allen
- Michele Andrea
- Charles Bryan Cavines
- Todd DeKlyn
- Sara Ingrassia
- Camille Legnani
- Jody Sattler
- Dr. Alyson Smith
- Peter Stuart
- Sarah Wayland
Brinton said she thinks “it’s fabulous” that people are running for the DTC but, “I have nothing to do with this list. I don’t know half the people on it.”
Sattler ran unsuccessfully for an at large Board of Education seat under Brinton’s “Independents for Norwalk” banner last fall, coming in a distant fifth city-wide in a four-way race. She then attempted to get the seat that was vacated when Mike Barbis died unexpectedly, only to have DTC members select Flaherty, a retired teacher who is a non-Rowayton resident of District E.
In seeking the seat held by Barbis, Sattler won 453 signatures on an online petition urging the DTC to appoint her. Sattler has strong support in Rowayton; in the city-wide BoE race, she handily won in District E2, which is predominantly Rowayton. She came in fifth in Districts E1 and E3.
Brinton called the DTC slate the “insider crowd.” They represent candidates from all parts of District E and are people who have invested many volunteer hours in Democratic activities; most of them are incumbents seeking reelection to the DTC. The alternative slate appears to be entirely people who live in Rowayton. Deklyn is Rowayton Hose Company Fire Chief.
Names will not be finalized until noon Monday.
The Democratic Town Committee votes to endorse candidates for election. As the next Board of Education race will be in-district, the District E DTC members will have the say on who is endorsed. They’ll also endorse Council candidates.
Then there could be a primary.
Electors choosing to vote for DTC members Monday evening must do so in person.
“Unfortunately people need to cast ballots in person. Because of the Covid surge this means many people are reluctant to come out,” Duryea wrote in a Tweet.
Sattler said Sunday night that she’s eligible to run because she’s a registered Democrat. She hadn’t heard from the DTC yet.
Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez declined to comment.
Brinton moved out of Rowayton and lives in District B now. She said she “loves” that the slate has materialized, as her intention has been to “wake people up.” She will “cheer them on from the sidelines in B.”
The DTC will elect 55 members Monday, 11 from each district. Voting begins at 7:30 p.m. in these locations:
- District A – City Hall, 125 East Ave, Room 101
- District B – Nathaniel Ely Elementary School,11 Ingalls Ave.
- District C – Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave., Community Room
- District D – Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave., Room A300
- District E – Fox Run Elementary School, 228 Fillow St.
“The caucus is subject to early closing if, after nominations are closed, there are fewer than, or exactly, the same number of candidates as membership positions to fill,” the DTC said. “At all contested caucuses, the polls shall remain open for voting until 9:00 PM. All caucuses must be held in person. Masks are required.”
Updated, 6:06 p.m.: Photo added.