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Election Panel Reverses Democratic 58th House District Results

The disallowance of proxy votes gives incumbent Kathy Tallarita the endorsement over challenger David Alexander.

A dispute over the use of proxy votes has resulted in a change in the Democratic party's endorsed candidate for the 58th House District.

At the , challenger David Alexander edged seven-term incumbent Kathy Tallarita 21-20 to win the party's endorsement.

Two days after the convention, Tallarita filed a complaint with the Democratic State Central Committee office regarding the use of proxies. A three-member panel met Tuesday night to examine the issue, and reached an oral decision to disallow the proxy votes.

Alexander had five proxy votes at the convention, while Tallarita had one. One of the proxy votes supporting Alexander had been thrown out because the voter is registered as unaffiliated, Alexander said.

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With the proxy votes disallowed, Tallarita gained a 19-17 victory, and is now the official endorsed candidate for the seat.

Alexander said the proxy votes had been approved by Democratic State Central Committee members prior to the convention, including confirmation from Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Dinardo and Democratic Legal Counsel Kevin Reynolds. He also claimed both campaigns were informed of that decision ahead of time.

"No one made any complaint about the use of proxies before, during or immediately after the convention," he said in an email to Enfield Patch Wednesday.

Tallarita said since District 58 is a single-town district, an official convention is not held. Instead, she said the vote was taken at a special meeting of the Enfield Democratic Town Committee, and proxies are not allowed at Town Committee meetings.

"I am very pleased with the outcome of the hearing with the State Democrat Party and that the issue has been resolved," Tallarita emailed Enfield Patch Thursday. "I feel the process was fair and open, allowing both sides to discuss what transpired up to and during the special meeting of the Town Committee. I believed throughout the entire process what I knew to be true, and this decision recognizes the proper procedures of the party rules, which are consistent with state law. I am excited to now move forward, get on with the campaign, and discuss the issues important to my constituents."

Despite the reversal of the endorsement, Alexander said he is planning to collect enough signatures by June 13 to force a primary in August.

"I feel bad for the Enfield Democratic Town Committee because their endorsement was overturned by a technicality," he wrote. "I feel that the Enfield Democrats got railroaded by leaders in Hartford. I feel especially bad for those delegates who used a proxy and now were disenfranchised, to include the one proxy for Kathy as well. It does not make sense that State Central would overturn an agreed-upon decision like this. But at this same time, this decision galvanizes and motivates me. At this point, I feel it's time to let the voters decide who should represent them at the Capitol, and that's why I am running. I feel bad that the Enfield Democrats had their endorsement overturned, but I feel that now it's time to explain to the voters that it's time for a change."

Enfield Patch requested a copy of the official ruling via email to Jonathan Harris, executive director of the Connecticut Democrats and a member of the panel that decided the matter. Harris replied, "The written opinion by counsel to the State Democratic Party has yet to be completed."

Marty Salvatore June 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I don't support David Alexander. That being said, I really think this makes Tallarita look bad. I think Alexander winning the nomination was seen as a cheap gimmick that, in the end, wouldn't have amounted to much. Kathy would have still easily won the primary anyways and would have had a stronger position due to the VOTERS deciding. Now, it just looks like she fought for a meaningless nomination and 'won' it on a technicality. I don't see the point.
Spiff June 07, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Regardless of whom the democrats choose, Tom Sirard is still better positioned to help lower taxes and boost the state's economy, something which we need desperately!
PLT June 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM
It’s important to note Rep. Tallarita’s position was that proxies, under party rules and state statues, are only allowed at a “convention”. Proxies are not allowable at a “caucus” which the meeting of the 58th District was and has always been convened in the past. If Democratic Party leaders wanted to consider this meeting a “convention” (which it was not), and thereby allow proxies, then by right, Rep. Tallarita would have automatically qualified for a primary challenge under party rules; as she received 15% of the votes at the “convention”. By qualifying with 15%, Rep Tallarita would not have had to petition her way onto the primary ballot by collecting 250 signatures as instructed by the “party”. Her request for clarity was straight- forward; you cannot have it deemed a “convention” for proxy purposes and a “caucus” for signature purposes. This was not about the nomination of the Town Committee; it was about consistency and adherence to the rules of fairness.
Marty Salvatore June 07, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Oh. Well that makes a little more sense. Would have been nice to have that info in the article...
Matt June 08, 2012 at 11:56 AM
In this multi-media world we now live in, shabby reporters due shabby jobs. The media has become lazy. A simple phone call to State Republican or Democratic HQ's would have further clarified the "convention" v. "caucus" rules. Further, an internet search of just the New England states electione rules would confirm how like-states handle such issues. CT politcical parties have always discouraged and ruled against proxies at municipal polcitical meetings. State Democratic party officials never officially ruled the proxie to be valid at such a caucus. Again, the misinformation from a reporter...solely relying on one candidates response, is just shabby reporting and in indefensible.
Mark Levin June 08, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Establishment 1- People of Enfield 0. Time for a new voice, new energy. Why are we satsfied with the status quo?
Mark Levin June 08, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I stand with Dave, he is for Enfield, not for parking spaces and hacks.
Mark Levin June 08, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Question for you people. How did a 14 year incumbent lose to beging with? How was it ok for her to use a proxy at first and not say anything? Only when told by her dear leaders to challenge did she. Remove the cronies. Vote for Dave.
Marty Salvatore June 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Mark, why are you arguing with yourself? I mean, you seem to agree (with yourself) already. What? No one responded to you within ten minutes and you just couldn't help but post again? Sheesh!
Mark Levin June 09, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Relax Marty, just making a point. I guess the status quo and establishment of CT works for you.
Joe Saxton June 10, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Have Proxies been used in prior caucus meetings and counted ? I'm sure the proxy voters would have been present, if proxy votes weren't allowed.
Marty Salvatore June 10, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Right, but the her argument was about her automatically getting a primary challenge. She is right about that. It has to be one way or the other NOT a strange mixture of the two. The logical result of adhering to those rules of fairness is exactly what happened.

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