Hartford Democratic Town Committee members gathered tonight to select delegates to the Democratic state convention this May, but a move by members of state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez’s third district forced the chairman to postpone it a week.Gonzalez supporters pulled a parliamentarian objection out of their bag of tricks at City Hall after learning that none of them would be selected as delegates.
Nick Carbone, former deputy mayor and newly appointed member of the third district, said copies of the town committee’s bylaws were not filed with the Secretary of State or the City Clerk. He said the last copy on file with the state says the committee shall select one member for every 1,124 registered Democrats, which would lower the number of delegates elected from the city. However, Party Chairman Noel McGregor said the committee amended that rule in December 2003 and lowered the number to one delegate for every 550 registered Democrats. “Someone decided to put a slate of delegates together that excluded the third district,” Carbone said. Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee comprises 70 people, and if the 1983 bylaws were the last to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office, Hartford may have only 35 delegates to send to the convention. After Carbone voiced his parliamentarian objection, Attorney Michael Collins, appointed by McGregor to referee the meeting, recommended that the selection of delegates be delayed. McGregor said he will speak with the former town committee secretary and hunt down the paperwork to prove it was filed in the appropriate office. He said the delay won’t change the list of delegates pre-selected for the 54 slots.The worst case scenario is that the paperwork was never filed and Hartford won’t send any delegates to the convention, McGregor said, because it takes 60 days to change a committee’s bylaws. The May 20 convention is exactly 60 days away, but the window to select delegates closes on March 28.What’s at stake if Hartford isn’t representated at the convention?Mayor Eddie Perez has promised Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, who is vying for the gubernatorial nomination against New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, that he’ll deliver a majority of Hartford’s delegates at the convention. Gonzalez, Perez’s adversary within the party, supports DeStefano.Hartford sends the third largest group of delegates to the Democratic state convention where 1,607 Democrats from across the state, including the 54 from Hartford, will decide who runs against Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November. In addition, delegates will decide if the party is sufficiently unhappy with Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman to allow newcomer Ned Lamont to primary him for his seat. McGregor said the third district was left off the list of delegates because “it refused to work with the town committee.” He said the third district’s committee members missed the last two years of meetings, and “the issue came up and they weren’t given any delegates.“The 54 delegates were selected from the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh town committees Tuesday.