DiNardo’s Last Big Act as Dem Chair? Naming the Committee that will Settle the Gomes-DeJesus Dispute in Bridgeport

Perhaps she thought she exiting quietly. Longtime Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo announced last month that she would not seek reelection at the state central party meeting scheduled for this Wednesday. Little did she know she might have to help settle the latest l’affaire Bridgeport before she exits. Two Bridgeport Democrats were vying for the endorsement to replace former state Sen. Andres Ayala who is the new chief at the department of motor vehicles. The delegates who originally chose Ayala met last Thursday to decide between former state Sen. Ed Gomes and city Councilman Richard DeJesus. The two camps agreed on attorney Edwin Farrow as the convention chair. After the vote was tied at 26-26, Farrow broke the deadlock by voting for DeJesus. Upon questioning by the media, it was disclosed that DeJesus is a client of Farrow’s law practice. They didn’t disclose the relationship before the vote. Gomes officially objected to the state party and is seeking a “dismissal” of the DeJesus endorsement. The official party backing is key because the endorsed candidate is eligible for public financing. There is a meeting Tuesday to sort things out. Gomes Newton Ayala Here’s where DiNardo comes in: Democratic Party rules call for the formation of a “dispute resolution committee” to address the dispute. The rules say: “A Dispute Resolution Committee shall be composed of no less than three (3) nor more than five (5) members of the State Central Committee, appointed by the chairperson thereof [DiNardo], none of whom shall be present the district or districts concerned. The decision of the committee shall be conclusive and binding upon all parties…The committee shall be appointed no later than five (5) business days after the State Chair receives a written request for the resolution of a dispute pursuant to this article. The committee shall set a time and place for a hearing of said dispute within five (5) business days of its appointment. The parties to the dispute shall receive notice at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing unless exigent circumstances warrant less notice. The Committee shall issue its decision within five (5) days of the close of the hearing, and a written copy of such decision shall be filed with the State Central Committee, and provided to each party to the dispute.”

Exactly who will be appointed to the Dispute Resolution Committee, what they will consider in their decision and how it all plays out is still in question. Ironically, the Democratic State Central Committee meets Wednesday to choose new leadership including a new chairman, Nick Balletto. But his term doesn’t commence until February 1. So DiNardo may have thought she was exiting quietly. Guess not.