The Connecticut Republican Party on Wednesday nominated Jonathan Riddle of Norwalk to run in the 4th Congressional District this year against incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Himes, who is in his sixth term.
Riddle, who works at the wealth management firm Altium in Purchase, N.Y., got 97 votes to win the nomination. Michael Goldstein got 81 votes and Joseph Villani got four.
The convention, which was conducted remotely using RingCentral Meeting software, included some controversy.
Republican TJ Elgin of Bridgeport also sought the nomination, but when convention chairman JP Sredzinski called the name of Elgin’s nominating delegate, John Rodriguez, there was no response.
Sredzinski then called Wilton state Rep. Gail Lavielle, who had been listed as Elgin’s second for the purpose of his nomination, Lavielle said she was not aware that she would be speaking at all at the convention. No one else spoke up to nominate Elgin.
However, after the nominations were closed and the balloting was under way, other delegates were having access problems and were provided with a phone number to call in to register their votes. Rodriguez then got through by telephone and told the convention that he’d been unable to get into the meeting in order to nominate Elgin.
However, the meeting was continued without reopening the nominations and Riddle was declared the nominee.
Shortly after the convention was adjourned, Elgin told CTNewsJunkie that he planned to file a complaint about the process. During the meeting, Elgin was present in the chat room connected to the convention’s video broadcast on YouTube:
“John Rodriguez may be having issues getting on, he is my 1st nominee,” Elgin wrote.
Later he said, “Is this legal?” and suggested that the process was unconstitutional, and that he would get signatures in order to primary Riddle.
Reached later in the evening, Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said that the party has been asking candidates for a week and a half to submit the names of their nominating firsts and seconds, and Elgin had submitted Rodriguez and Lavielle on Wednesday, the day of the convention.
“I feel bad that he didn’t have anyone there who could have nominated him or seconded him,” Romano said. “But the gentleman who was going to nominate him wasn’t there, and he needs two people. He only had one.”
Aside from asking for names in advance, the party also has been offering multiple training sessions for delegates to learn to use RingCentral Meeting software so that they are able to access the conventions. Romano said instructions were emailed to every delegate.
Romano said the software is powered by Zoom, and allows up to 200 people in a given meeting and also tracks attendance and voting, including the option to download the voting record.
But over the course of the party’s first four conventions using the software, a number of delegates have struggled to gain access each night. Organizers have had to take a handful of votes over the phone for a few of the conventions thus far, but most of the votes have been cast electronically.
Elgin said he was not going to blame Rodriguez for the technical problem.
“I had a few willing to jump out for a second and a great heartfelt speech from John but issues happen,” Elgin said. “I do not blame anyway. John is an amazing person, tech issues happen. I will get what I need to, and quick. I do have an army of people ready to go.”
The Republican Party’s 5th Congressional District convention is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.