primary colors

Primary season is finally over in CT. (Only 82 more days until the November elections!)
The New Milford results are in. And while there's nothing particularly surprising about how the town voted, I am shocked at the low turnout.
According to the tallies at the Danbury News-Times:
1497 registered Republicans voted for a senate candidate.
929 registered Democrats voted for a gubernatorial candidate.
That's only 2416 people, out of a town with some 30,000 souls (nearly 18,000 eligible voters, according to the Housatonic Times).

There are, I'm sure, several reasons for the low turnout.
-It's a primary, not a general, so people aren't as plugged in as they should be.
-It's a mid-term election, so people aren't as fired up as they would be for a presidential race.
-It's summer, and people are out of town.
-There were more Republican races (did I hear some guy named Marty was running for probate judge?), so Democrats weren't as interested.
-Because it's a primary, where one must vote within their own party, independents were left out.

But you know what? All of those reasons suck. There is absolutely no reason for New Milford voters to sit an election out.
I am always amazed at the number of people who refuse their responsibilities as citizens by opting out of election. And then feel they have a legitimate reason to complain about the state of affairs. Voting is the responsibility that comes with our constitutional rights. To shirk that responsibility is downright disrespectful. To the constitution, to the republic, to one's fellow citizens, and to one's self.
That's particularly so in these off-year elections and primaries, when each vote counts more, since only a single state, or district, or town, is in play.
I've heard people say, "Well, all the candidates for office X are bums, so I won't vote at all." Which makes as much sense as John Boehner explaining his devotion to both reducing the deficit and extending the Bush tax cuts for the uber-wealthy. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/john_boehner_talks_tax_cuts.html
(But, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone say something completely ridiculous about politics, I could probably buy myself a senate seat.)
If you want any say in how your government works, educate yourself about the candidates, and then choose one.
If you believe in free speech, exercise yours at the ballot box.
If you want to earn the moniker of "patriot," get off your butt and go to the polls.

If you don't vote, you're just part of the problem.
Here's hoping the turnout numbers are much, much higher in November.


"Does Probate = Masterb-te," or "Are We Getting Jerked Off by the Judge?"

What's the deal with this primary for Probate Judge? Have you ever seen such energy put into an election campaign (Oops - I mean other than this spring's budget referendum)? Why are New Milford Republicans putting so much energy behind Judge Marty? Who stands to lose here - probate should be pretty simple, right? Would the losers be the people of New Milford? Or a privileged few who might benefit from having a buddy on the bench? (What - me cynical? Nah.)

The Elephants have been working on electing Marty since the beginning of the year. There were plenty of meetings at a Town Councilman's private office, multiple fundraisers, and meet & greets covered by the press (if you can call the Spectrum "press"). There was even a last minute dirty trick by local leader Rog Szendy. Yet, Marty lost the endorsement at the local nominating convention - he only had the support of the New Milford delegates. Apparently the other town delegations were pissed off at Szendy's dirty politicking, and they all supported William DeFeo of New Fairfield. Good job, Rog.

This election was deemed "so important" by the local Elephants that Board of Ed member Lynette Rigdon skipped her BOE obligation (the Education Connection Board of Directors Meeting) in order to be at the nominating convention. Yep - she deemed attending a local probate nominating convention more important than carrying out her duties as an elected member of the BOE. But, worse than that, she didn't want to admit to the public why she missed the meeting. In the minutes of the May 11, 2010, BOE meeting, "Ms. Rigdon said she was unable to get to the last meeting..." Pretty pathetic. But, then again, it shows the importance these clowns have put on this minor election. Still confused? Me too.

The Mayor even got her boyfriend, State Rep. Clark Chapin, to write a letter to the local rags endorsing Marty. Why would he suddenly publicly endorse a candidate - he doesn't put in the same effort for his "partner," much less higher profile offices like Town Council. Why, Clark? Why now?

A few of the New Milford politico's who know both men say DeFeo is honest and acts with integrity. They also like Marty as a person, but are wary of his key backers - the shady NM Republican cabal. Not to be cynical, but the politico's are whispering.

So let's review: DeFeo wins nomination with support from all other towns in the district. New Milford carries on the fight, pouring a great deal of energy and $$ into a fight against a loyal, long standing fellow Republican. Then, throw in that the New Milford Repubs are famous for throwing dirt and dirty tricks, and you get a recipe for skepticism.

Luckily, I can't cast a vote in this primary. If you are an "R," don't blindly follow your local leaders. Ask some questions before you pull the lever on Tuesday. I'm not sure who the best candidate is - but I wouldn't defer to Rog Szenmaster's judgement.