September 6, 2013 09:36AM
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — Looking forward to another chance to serve on the City Council, John Thorp was dealt a difficult blow to overcome if he was going to spend time campaigning this fall. Suffering what he thought was a minor injury to his knee at home, Thorp learned he would need a full knee replacement.
Thorp turned some heads when the former Democratic councilor joined the Republican party and announced his intentions to run for a City Council at-large seat after a two-year layoff. After learning about the knee injury, Thorp said members of the Republican party were concerned about his ability to campaign following surgery.
“I’m disappointed because I was looking forward to running and hopefully getting elected again,” Thorp said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to do any campaigning or door-knocking.”
Thorp said he was still considering running for the council seat, noting he did not do a lot of campaigning in previous elections. Thorp finished third in a four-way race in 2010, losing out to Republican Kevin Scarpati and We the People member Walter A. Shamock.
Republican Town Vice Chairwoman Liz Whitney said the party was “disappointed” that they would not have Thorp on the ballot in the November election, but still believe they “have an excellent team going forward.”
“Obviously John has to take care of himself first and we appreciate him wanting to run,” she said. “We look forward to hopefully working with him in the future.”
Rather than inserting a new candidate in place of Thorp, the Republicans opted to cross endorse Ron Perry, a We the People party member who was endorsed by his party for City Council At Large. Perry joins Republican Lenny Rich, Democratic City Councilor David Lowell and former Democratic City Councilor David Salafia as the other nominees for City Council At Large.
“When (Thorp) resigned, we met with Ron Perry,” Whitney explained. “We asked him about his goals in running for office and they met in line with our party. We thought it would be a good fit and a good opportunity for us and for Ron.”
It is not the first time Thorp has injured his knee, he noted. As a child, while riding a bicycle, Thorp said he was hit by a car and doctors had considered amputating his leg. Later, as a police officer, the same leg was hit by a car. The third injury to the leg, which came shortly after receiving the nomination, Thorp said, would be the last straw for his knee.
“It will be about a 10- to 12-week rehab,” Thorp said. “Hopefully I can get it back to 100 percent...I’m still only in my 50s, so we will see what happens in the future. I like being in the political scheme of things. I enjoy it.”