GOP Concerned About Potential Removal Of Independent Party of Connecticut

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford Date:

Republicans were outraged Wednesday by a Democratic-written bill that would effectively eliminate the Independent Party of Connecticut.

The bill, which is a working draft, says that the word \”independent\’\’ would be removed from any political party in Connecticut. The reason given is that \”independent\’\’ is often mistaken with the word \”unaffiliated,\’\’ which is how hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents are registered.

But the potential switch has huge political overtones in Connecticut because the Independent Party has most recently cross-endorsed Republican candidates, including Linda McMahon in her run for the U.S. Senate and conservative Republican Michael McLachlan in his three successful races for state Senate in Danbury and surrounding towns.

The bill, written without any Republican input, \”demonstrates the power and arrogance of the Democrat majority more than any bill I\’ve seen in now my 15th year in the General Assembly,\’\’ said Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield. 

McKinney added, \”It is a disgusting, arrogant power grab. It is unconstitutional, and it is something that all people of good conscience in this legislature should reject immediately.\’\’

But Sen. Anthony Musto, a Democratic attorney who is co-sponsoring the bill, rejected the notion that the measure is unconstitutional and said it would withstand a court challenge.

He said he is concerned about “voter confusion’’ among independent and unaffiliated voters. He said that the word “Connecticut’’ should also be banned from political parties, but that was not included in the bill’s latest version. As such, Musto said he would ban A Connecticut Party that had been created by independent Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. in 1990 in his successful run for governor.

“I don’t think people should be able to use the state or the federal government – the America Party,’’ Musto said. “What right does a group of people, for political purposes, have to purport to speak for the United States or for Connecticut? Realistically, why does someone get to speak for the United States of America? That’s why we have Congress and the President.’’

Musto said he could not predict whether the bill will be passed before the legislature’s regular session adjourns at midnight on June 5.

The bill could potentially eliminate four parties that make reference to independence because the measure bans synonyms and derivatives. The Independent Party has nearly 14,000 registered members, while the Independence Party is listed separately with 833 members, according to the Secretary of the State\’s office. Two other parties officially listed on state records are the Independent Choice party, as well as Independence for Montville. Those parties would be forced, under the bill, to change their names by January 2014.

In the same way that the Independent Party has lately endorsed Republicans, Democrats have often been endorsed by the Working Families Party, including Democrats Chris Murphy for U.S. Senate and Dannel P. Malloy for governor.

\”This was not a problem for the last 10, 20, 30 years that the Independent Party has been around,\’\’ McKinney said. \”It\’s only become a problem because the Independent Party in Connecticut has recently decided, that on occasion, it would endorse Republicans.\’\’

Among all registrations in Connecticut, \”unaffiliated\’\’ has been the largest category for decades. At least since 1958, more citizens have registered as \”unaffiliated\’\’ than as Republicans or Democrats, according to the Secretary of the State\’s office.

In order to avoid confusion, state law already prevents the use of the word \”unaffiliated\’\’ in the name of the party.

 The latest statewide figures, as of the November 2012 elections, showed more than 872,000 citizens registered as unaffiliated and more than 767,000 as Democrats. Among Republicans, more than 430,000 were registered.

While the major parties capture most of the attention, there are actually more than 25 political parties registered in the state, including A Connecticut Party that was created by Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. Others are \”Connecticut for Lieberman\’\’ and the Guilty Party.

McLachlan, the ranking Senate Republican on the legislative committee that oversees elections, agreed with McKinney that the bill would be unconstitutional.

\”For them to say that now, after some 30 years of existence as the Independent Party of Connecticut, that they\’re just going to, by the stroke of a pen, erase them from existence is absurd,\’\’ McLachlan said.

The bill, which is more than 95 pages, is a conglomeration of about five other bills that have now been packaged into one. The measure would largely block cross-endorsements by minor parties.

The measure would also allow state central committees, and town committees, legislative caucus committees, among others, to create advertising books that could accept ads from individuals up to $50 and businesses up to $250. 


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19 thoughts on “GOP Concerned About Potential Removal Of Independent Party of Connecticut

  1. Steve

    The headline and lead paragraph of this article are very misleading. Nobody is eliminating the Independent Party, the proposal would simply require the party to change its name so that it is not misleading to voters. I don’t think there is any question that some voters are completely unaware of the difference between Independent and unaffiliated. The bill would end voter mistakes and confusion at the ballot box. It’s no different than preventing a company from running false or misleading advertisements.

  2. RW

    How about eliminate the useless Working Families Party which is a union based Smokescreen and a 2nd way to corrupt the system and elect Lousy Democrats.

  3. Don Pesci

    By way of legislative rejoinder, Republicans should introduce a bill prohibiting the use of the word “democratic” in any state party because the word suggests the people so named favor democratic processes which, observed in both spirit and letter, would allow people to enjoy their first amendment rights of assembly by calling themselves “independent’ or variations thereof.

  4. dan

    Maybe the Democrats should be forced to change the name of their party to Communist party,that would put truth into their name.

  5. peter

    Hey, they did it on guns, so why would one believe they would stop there. Absolute power, and there’s no stopping them with more State workers joining the roles every day. Bide your time, plan for your departure and you’ll be a free citizen again.

  6. David G. LaPointe

    The Winsted Independent party is alive and well and will fight these communists who parade as democrats. They who think only they can rule…the party of one democrat/ communists. WE WILL WIN at the SUPREME COURT if they invoke their majority rule of illegal laws.

    1. Timothy L. McKee

      i am not a Democrat but calling them Communist is whack!! a high school student could tell the difference better than that!

  7. Rich

    Why do politicians like Musto always refer to voters like helpless, confused children? do they really think the people of Connecticut are stupid? It’s really getting annoying. This is a classic move to suppress opposition to the One Party Democrat state.

    1. John Q. Public

      They are planning ahead for all the illegals who will be coming here to get licenses. The next thing the state will do is give them the power to vote!! They want no confusion for those just learning the language!!!

  8. Palin Smith

    Senator McKinney should just join the Democrat Party. He’s already Donald Williams’ gun grabbing pal. The Dems know full well that sooner or later a real Independent will come along and whip the Republicrats. Banning a political party is par for the course of a political club that abhors logic and despises freedom of choice except for killing innocents.

    Mr. McKinney “It is a disgusting, arrogant power grab. It is unconstitutional, and it is something that all people of good conscience in this legislature should reject immediately.” Well, that’s just fine and dandy for the dandy from Fairfield who never gave a 2nd thought to law-abiding gun owners in Connecticut.

    The call for “John McKinney Must Go” is resonating all over the Constitution State. Any thought he had of running for governor was dashed the day he climbed into Dannel Malloy’s hip pocket on April 4, 2013. Nobody pays any attention to this two-faced miscreant trampler of the Bill of Rights!

  9. Mike Telesca

    It would be nice if they at least let the leadership of the Independent Party know what they were going 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. They will sometimes pick a candidate that is running on a different line already if those candidates enter our caucus and present themselves. We have an open caucus system, anyone can try and get our nomination.
    Mike Telesca, Chairman, Independent Party

    1. Timothy L. McKee

      “They were our own candidates and not cross-endorsed Major party candidates.”
      what the hell??? sure you do !!

  10. Kim

    To be fair (from a Democrats’ position), the name Independent should be replaced with the word DEMOCRAT. Then everyone would be happy.

    They have the votes to make it happen – and they can do it in secret.

    How’s the Second Amendment starting to look now? Are any anti-gunners getting the picture yet?

  11. Pingback: Ballot Access News - Connecticut Bill Drafted to Forbid Parties from being Named “Independent Party”

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