Outgoing Connecticut Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo hopes to have the latest Bridgeport controversy wrapped up in a day. She is appointing a three-member panel to serve as a “Dispute Resolution Committee” to hear all sides of the disagreement Tuesday night and then have them decide.
“We obviously want to settle this as quickly as possible, hopefully by Wednesday,” DiNardo told The Shad. Wednesday also happens to be the night the state central committee votes to install a new chairman—DiNardo out, Nick Balletto in—and a new executive director—Jonathan Harris out, Michael Mandell in.
In a nutshell, 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.
State party rules say the chair (still DiNardo) can appoint a committee of between three and five (she tells me she’s choosing three) state central party members to review the dispute and make a decision. Under party rules, the committee’s ruling is binding although just like almost everything else, the loser can go to court. The party rules also say the committee has five days to issue a decision. That’s too long for DiNardo. “They’ll meet [Tuesday] and hopefully make a decision by Wednesday,” she said.
The special election is February 24.
Balletto’s term as the new chair starts until February 1.