CT News Junkie | Republicans Call Move To Abolish Independent Party ‘Power Grab’

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Republicans Call Move To Abolish Independent Party ‘Power Grab’

by | May 29, 2013 5:31pm
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Election Policy

Christine Stuart photo

Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield

Senate Republican leader John McKinney called draft legislation that would bar the Independent Party of Connecticut from keeping its name a “disgusting, arrogant power grab,” by the Democratic majority.

The working draft of the omnibus campaign finance bill would bar the use of the word “independent” in political party names.

It’s a change that would force the Independent Party of Connecticut—which cross-endorsed several Republicans in legislative and Congressional races— to change its name.

Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, said the only reason the Democratic majority included that change in the bill is because the Independent Party of Connecticut received more votes than the Working Families Party, a third party that traditionally cross-endorses Democrats.

“They realized that the Independent Party of Connecticut has run ahead of the Working Families Party and they want to neuter them by eliminating them,” McLachlan said.

He said the Independent Party of Connecticut has a 30 year history in the state, first as a regional party and then as a statewide party.

In the last two statewide elections more votes were cast on the Independent Party line than the Working Families Party line.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, called the proposal a “grand larceny of the political process.”

Sen. Anthony Musto, D-Trumbull, who helped draft the bill, said Tuesday that the word “independent” is often confused with the word “unaffiliated.”

“Independent’ is a word that people confuse with unaffiliated,” he said.

But McKinney disagrees. He said there are far more unaffiliated voters in the state and in order to register with a party you have to actively make that decision.

Cafero said it’s an insult to the voters to assume they don’t know the difference between being unaffiliated and a member of the Independent Party.

The Independent Party is the third-largest in the state, with nearly 14,000 voters, according to figures released by Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill.

The draft bill would also ban parties that use names such as United States; America; Connecticut; the name of a city or town; and any words relating to a symbol for the government or a deity or religion.

But House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said it would only be a power grab if the Democratic party actually went through with the proposal. He said the language was still being drafted and he wasn’t certain that part of the bill would be included in the final version.

“We’re having conversations with our friends across the aisle and the governor’s office about the best way to proceed,” Sharkey said.

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(9) Archived Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | May 29, 2013  10:03pm

This is so petty and trifling that it is hard to understand how grown men can even spend 2 minutes drafting legislation to outlaw a political party’s name. This is one of those truly WTF moments when you realize, just how stifling and self-serving the General Assembly has become and how little respect it has for voters and the public.

Sen. Anthony Musto must really think that people in Trumbull are stupid beyond redemption that they need to have their political choice renamed. Are there just hundreds of people who have complained they don’t know the difference between the word “unaffiliated” and “Independent Party?” If they’re that dumb, they probably shouldn’t be voting and I would suggest there are greater problems in the valley than these two words. One thing we can assure the Valley senator - the rest of us aren’t that stupid. That this passes for G.A. politics is right up there with efforts to stuff more money in the hands of legislators as a fake response to Citizens United.

This is the Year of the Weasel.

posted by: Mike T | May 30, 2013  12:01am

It would be nice if they at least let the leadership of the Independent Party know what they want to do. Last year we ran Rocky Anderson for President and in 2010 we ran Tom Marsh for Governor. They were our own candidates and not cross-indorsed Major party candidates. We have backed Democrats and Republicans at times but we like to run our own candidates when we can. It is up to the members of the party to pick our candidates at our nomination caucuses.
Mike Telesca, Chairman, Independent Party

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | May 30, 2013  1:02am

i’m just glad our respected politicians are busy solving the big issues that affect us all.

thanks you leadership for your vision!


posted by: LongJohn47 | May 30, 2013  8:08am

For once I agree with Noteworthy.  The transparent pettiness of this bill is breathtaking.

posted by: Tim McKee | May 30, 2013  5:50pm

While this is a clear power grab, people really do not know the difference if they write in “Independence” or Independent in the party line. There is no way in hell that 14,000 people are involved with this party = but confusion does reign. No platform, barely a web site and who heard they even elected when and where??  It should change it name but they prefer to a sad sister like the Working Families, king maker and lack of true election reform.

posted by: Tim McKee | May 30, 2013  5:53pm

BTW isn’t Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury the same person who is a birther who wanted to see Obama’s Birth Certificate??

posted by: timelord | May 31, 2013  10:31am

Mr. McKee, exactly how is that relevant to the issue at hand?

posted by: timelord | May 31, 2013  11:07am

I have a much better idea—ban all the political parties. That way voters would have to cast votes for people that have concrete policy positions without the fog of party shenanigans.

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 31, 2013  5:39pm

timelord—exactly what The Founders intended.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

LA has an interesting system where everyone, regardless of party, runs in one combined primary.  Then the top two finishers fight it out if no one has received 50+1 in the first round.

I like the current cross-endorsing system.  It allow the voter to “send a message” while not throwing away their vote on a 3rd party candidate with no chance of winning. 

In 2010, Malloy’s margin of victory was provided by Working Family voters, and one of the first things he pushed was paid sick days, which was the WFP major issue.  Democracy worked.