With only 12 minutes to spare, Town Republican Chair Theresa Daly arrived at the Town Clerk’s office last Thursday with the names of four GOP candidates for Town Council. This was one full day after the normal candidate filing period, buta state law allows state party chairs to submit candidate names one day after the close of candidate filing.
During the three-day filing period, no Republicans had signed up to run for Town Council; the five incumbent Town Councilors – all Democrats – had signed up to run again: Mark Schwager, Michael Donegan, Caryn Corenthal, Renu Englehart and Michael Zarrella.
On that Thursday afternoon, with help from Town Canvasser Elaine Vespia, Daly got the paperwork filled out and names submitted, but by the time they were finished it was a couple minutes after 4 p.m., the deadline. Vespia consulted with the Secretary of State’s office and they told her to accept the filings and then seek a determination on their validity from the town Board of Canvassers and the town solicitor.
It took a few days, but Town Manager Andy Nota sent out an email Tuesday with all the endorsed candidates, including the four GOP candidates for Town Council.
“Customarily, when this happens, we receive formal correspondence from the state chair of the party in writing on letterhead, noting support for the candidate,” said Nota. In this case, that would have been EG’s own Sue Cienki, who is the GOP state committee chair. “In this case, the town committee chair made a note that she came to Town Hall at the request of the state committee chair.”
That was unusual, he said, but not necessarily a problem. Still, there was also the question of whether or not it was acceptable to receive a candidate filing after the deadline, said Nota.
“So it took a couple of days to work through things.”
The state Board of Elections and the town solicitor both advised accepting the candidates, he said. “We would have immediately called for an emergency meeting of our Board of Canvassers but several members weren’t available until July 11. They have full authority for making such determinations.”
Without the board, the town turned to the solicitor.
“The solicitor provided an opinion based on prior court cases,” said Nota. Those cases showed a deference on issues like these, he said, in part to encourage participation. “I think we feel at this point this is the prudent thing to do … that it would be important to move those names forward.”
The candidates are Paul Nardozzi, Brian Turner, Peter Rodgers, and Brandon Salomon.
He noted that tomorrow is the day candidates can pick up paperwork to collect the requisite number of signatures to earn a place on the ballot, and they wanted candidates to be able to move forward.
But, he added, “should there be anyone who takes exception to that, they would be able to file a complaint with our local Board of Canvassers.”