Town Committee Races Expected in Five City Districts
By Andy Hart
January 26, 2012
The recent redistricting of Hartford’s voting districts has forced change upon Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee, which usually glides along quietly behind the scenes.
The city has an elected town committee for each of its six assembly districts, and many members have sat on those committees for several years. But the redistricting, which was based on the 2010 U.S. Census, has changed the boundaries of those districts. As a result, many town committee members are now in different districts. These changes have opened the door for those wishing to get onto the town committee in their district.
The main duty of the various town committees is to interview and endorse candidates for local and state offices.
Given the fact that Hartford is overwhelmingly Democratic, these endorsements carry a great deal of weight and, in many cases, almost guarantee a victory at the polls. Therefore, the result of the Town Committee primaries in March will have a major influence on who is nominated and elected in the state representative and state senate elections this November.
Consequently, primaries are now expected in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh districts. Challenge slates wishing to force a primary in their district must first collect a sufficient number of signatures to get on the ballot.
Democratic Town Committees vary in size, based upon the number of registered Democrats in the district. For instance, there are 13 members of the 6th District Democratic Town Committee. Last Wednesday, January 18, a challenge slate in this district kicked off their campaign with a fundraiser at the Sidewalk Cafe (see picture, page 9).
At this point, the 1st District, which includes the West End, Upper Albany and Asylum Hill, is the only district that probably will not have a town committee primary in March.
The biggest battle is shaping up in the 7th District, which is centered on the Blue Hills neighborhood. Unconfirmed reports say that there will be two challenge slates in this district in addition to the incumbent slate.
A primary is also expected in the 5th District, which was changed drastically by the recent redistricting. Most of the district is now located in Windsor and it is expected that a Windsor resident will be elected as its state representative in November. But the town committee will still have representation from Hartford and separate primaries will be held for the Hartford and Windsor delegates if enough signatures are collected.
The boundaries of the 4th District have also been significantly changed and it now includes the very politically active South Downtown neighborhood.