The more I see, the more the "political operations" in Hartford continue to surprise me. The Republican Party in Hartford is dead and has been in steady decline for years. Many reasons can be thrown around to deflect the blame, but pure and simple, it comes down to a lack of leadership. Any leadership that might be claimed by the Republicans on a local level is held by those with outdated, antiquated ideas that have harmed the party on all levels.
It doesn't have to be that way. One of the reasons the Republican Party in Hartford has seen its demise is because they fail to embrace new ideas and put any effort into education and outreach to rebuild the party. OK, enough on the dead Republican Party.
What really bothers me though is the current state of the Democratic Party in Hartford, specifically the Democratic Town Committee. In case no one has noticed, the "endorsed" Town Committee candidates took a beating yesterday. In the 1st District Ken Green has won re-election(if he survives a recount and holds his 3 vote lead).Green was the incumbent but also was the challenger for his seat since the Town Committee gave his nomination to Matt Ritter.
In the 7th District, incumbent Doug McCrory won his seat back after the 7th District Town Committee attempted to orchestrate his ouster. The 7th District nominated rJo Winch to run in the 7th, the 7th District Town Committee has a large number of Winch family members seated as members. McCrory handily beat Winch to regain his seat.
In the 4th District, challenger Angel Morales came within 9 votes of de-throning incumbent Kelvin Roldan. A recount will be held to determine the winner in that race.
In the 6th District, Hector Robles had a challenge from Alyssa Peterson. Even though Peterson really did not run much of a campaign and didn't qualify for public funding, she still obtained about a third of the vote.
In the Fonfara/Vargas Senate race, Vargas had a respectable showing until the Wethersfield votes were figured in. Fonfara had a much better showing in Wethersfield than he did in his hometown of Hartford.
The part that bothers me though is that all of the endorsed candidates were pretty much on their own. Where were the Town Committee operations. Where were the phone banks for the "endorsed slate"? Where were the signs to vote for the "endorsed Democrats, vote Row A".
I was surprised when I drove through Windsor Center last week and saw a huge banner on a building across from the Town Hall. "WINDSOR DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS" with just about every endorsed candidates signs in the windows. Windsor has about a quarter of Hartford's population, and Hartford probably has more registered Democratic voters than Windsor has total residents.
I'm not aware of any "Hartford Democratic Headquarters", no phone banks, not even a spot fro residents to drop in and get information about the races. Why not? If Windsor can do it along with many other smaller towns, why can't Connecticut's capitol city?
If you attended Town Committee meetings or listened to Hartford's so called political leaders, you would think the rooms were filled with James Carville's or Karl Rove's. Nothing seems further from the truth. Imagine what could happen if all the talk was actually put into action.
I think a lot of the dysfunction is by design though. If voters were educated and actually got involved, that might present a challenge to those that have become fat and happy with their political stature. Many Town Committee seats, both Republican and Democrat, are hardly ever challenged. If you look at the names on the Town Committee's, it probably hasn't changed much in the last ten or fifteen years. If it changes, in many cases the last names remain the same, only the first names change as families retain their "dynasty" hold and make sure the family names carry on in Hartford history.
The town committee's are the first step in getting the best candidates to run for office. As long as the twon committee's are a mess, our selection process for public officials will remain a mess.
It is time we start looking for the best possible candidates and the best people to represent us on the Town Committee's. Until then, nothing will change.