Christine Stuart photo

Compared to two years ago Saturday’s Democratic State Convention at Central Connecticut State University was by all accounts uneventful.

There were no challenges to the three Democratic National Committee member nominations and the rule changes were fairly straightforward.

Without much fanfare, John Olsen, Ellen Camhi, and Anthony Avallone were nominated to go to Denver in August as members of the Democratic National Committee. The largest applause erupted when Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy took the podium and nominated Mrs. Camhi, as a national committee member.

“Last time we had a convention it went a little late,” Malloy joked harkening back to the 2006 Democratic State Convention where he and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano were in a heated battle over the gubernatorial nomination. Malloy, who won the party’s support in 2006 by one vote said he was confident “Ellen Camhi will win by more than one vote,” Saturday. 

Christine Stuart photo

All three Democratic National Committee nominees were appointed to their positions by a voice vote of the crowd.

Just prior to the nominations, the Rules Committee announced a change in party rules to include two members of the Young Democrats on the State Central Committee. The second rule committee change was included in the adoption of the party platform.

“As a party, we pledge to promote equality under the law and respect for all persons regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, while continuing to protest the right of choice for all women as guaranteed by law,” the platform statement reads.

The sentence was used to address the Patsy Papandrea incident last year. Papandrea, a Democratic State Central Committee member for 27-years, sent around an email last March with racial overtones. The email titled “Proud to be White” had inflammatory comments about race, including: “if we had white history month, we’d be racists and if we had a college fund that gave white students scholarships, we’d be racists.”

John Barrett, a Milford delegate nominated to the rules committee, said the Papandrea incident did not come up during the discussions at all. In fact, he said he was unfamiliar with the incident. He did say that the degree of debate over the rules surprised some of the seasoned committee members. He said some members of the rules committee wanted to discuss penalties for enforcement, but that debate was quickly squashed.

Democratic State Central Committee Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, said there’s no need for penalties because the Papandrea incident worked itself out. “He wasn’t re-elected,” she said.

Senator Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, said not including gender identity, which includes transgender, transsexual, and other individuals who do not identify with their biological sex, in the platform was an “unfortunate oversight.” He said the issue hasn’t reached a level of prominence in the broader community, but once people understand the issue “they tend to want to remedy it.” He said he would take the issue up with party leadership.

The Million Dollar Question

As one of the two uncommitted superdelegates left it was only fair to ask Mrs. DiNardo if she had made up her mind.

She laughed and then explained that it wouldn’t be fair to announce her support for either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama with so many primaries left. “I want them to have their say,” she said.

John Olsen and Ellen Camhi have already announced their support for Clinton. Anthony Avallone is an Obama supporter, along with most of the other superdelegates. Congressman Joe Courtney and DiNardo are the only two superdelegates who have yet to announce their support for either candidate.