NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Democrats have issued statements in reaction to the results of Tuesday’s District E primary.
Colin Hosten said he’s been elected chairman of Democrat’s District E Committee. Hosten, also Board of Education Chairman, secured his reelection to the Democratic Town Committee with 477 votes in the primary. He wrote:
“This is literally democracy in action. The Democratic party is a big tent, with room for multiple diverse perspectives on a range of issues. The democratic process gives everyone a chance to make their voices heard, and then we all come together to do the work of helping to elect Democrats here in Norwalk, in Connecticut, and nationally. This is not about winners and losers — we should all be proud to belong to a party where so many people are willing to serve! District E is clearly home to the most vibrant and energetic group of Democrats. I offer my sincere gratitude and congratulations to every single candidate. This can sometimes feel like an exhausting process, but now that the process has played out, I look forward to working with everyone involved, even when we may disagree — or especially when we may disagree — on helping Democrats up and down the ballot succeed, for the sake of our City, our State, and our Country; indeed, for the sake of democracy, itself.”
How we got here
The unprecedented primary stemmed from controversy over who would be appointed to the Board of Education to serve the time left on the late Mike Barbis’ term. A group of people felt it should go to Jody Sattler and attended a District E Committee meeting, expecting to be able to vote on the appointment. Instead, they learned that under DTC rules, they had to have been present for three District E meetings to have voting rights, a bylaw established to prevent the equivalent of ballot stuffing.
This gets confusing, but the DTC has district subcommittees. Anyone can attend their district’s Committee meeting and after attending three times, can vote. The DTC itself is separate from the subcommittee.
In 2015, the DTC voted to expand to include 11 members from each district, up from seven, in an effort to get more people involved.
The actual DTC members, separate from district subcommittees, vote on DTC matters, including endorsing candidates and appointing replacement volunteers for open BoE and Common Council seats. Individual district Committees recommend candidates or replacement volunteers, allowing anyone who has attended three times to vote. The DTC members, who are elected, make the decision.
The DTC appointed Mary Ellen-Flaherty Ludwig to represent District E on the Board of Education in the seat formerly held by Barbis. At that meeting, Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez invited Sattler supporters to get involved by attending the district meetings. The DTC held an information session to explain the processes involved. Sattler then organized a slate of 11 Rowaytonites to run for the DTC; eight won the January caucus, only to learn that their victory could be challenged in a primary.
On Tuesday, more than 800 District E voters overturned the results of the January caucus, where more than 400 ballots were cast. The 11 Democrats who had expected to win the January caucus without a challenge, a slate developed to include representation from all areas of District E, won a resounding victory.
- Benita (Watford) Raleigh, 536 votes (a caucus winner, new to the DTC)
- Ed Camacho, 519 votes (a caucus winner, current DTC member)
- Stuart Wells III, 504 votes (a caucus winner, current DTC member)
- Colin Hosten, 477 votes (current DTC member)
- Mary Ellen Flaherty-Ludwig, 471 votes (current DTC member)
- Tina Duryea, 471 votes (current DTC member)
- Kevin Tepas, 470 votes (current DTC member)
- Paul Barringer II, 456 votes (new to the DTC)
- Esther Murillo, 456 votes (current DTC member)
- Lucia Rilling, 451 votes (current DTC member)
- Priscilla Feral, 430 votes (new to the DTC)
Flaherty-Ludwig said Wednesday that she’s been elected recording secretary for the District E Committee.
“Who knew that a Democratic Caucus could be ‘primaried’?
“In District E many folks on both slates discovered a Primary could happen. In the process, friendships were strengthened and friendships were formed on each side and between each side. I look forward to invigorated and expanded District E meetings this year. We can all work together to elect Dems locally, statewide and nationally. All hands on deck for this important work.”
Tina Duryea wrote:
“I am so proud of the hard work our slate put in to talk to voters, inform them of the election and earn their support. I am also impressed by the commitment and work put in by the other side. We all win when more people are involved and educated on local politics.”
Priscilla Feral wrote:
“I’m a diehard Democrat, and yesterday standing outside Brookside School, we saw determined voters who knew the truth when they heard it –and were motivated to support our balanced slate as a testament of what benefits good Democratic candidates in government. That itself was rewarding.”
Former District E Chairwoman Galen Wells, who didn’t run for the DTC this time, wrote:
“I too am very proud of the hard work of all of the people on our slate. I also hope that all of the challengers stay involved in District E. When they first appeared I invited them in although I think that all they heard was that we wanted to nominate someone other than their candidate for the B of E. There is always room for enthusiastic people willing to work for Democratic candidates and I look forward to getting to know them and to working with them in the future.”
Members of the Rowayton slate, who called themselves “The Original 8,” did not reply to an email offering them a chance to comment.
One posted on Facebook, “This is definitely not the end and we will continue to work to support NPS and the children of Norwalk!”