September 11, 2013 02:00PM
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — The Democratic candidate running for a City Council Area 4 seat has dropped off the Democratic ticket, but he is remaining in the race under a different party.
Wayne Kalmick had been endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee to run in Area 4 in July, but filed a letter requesting he be removed. Monday, the Working Families Party announced it was endorsing Kalmick for the same council seat, party spokesman Taylor Leake confirmed in an email.
While Working Families has a history of endorsing candidates for state elections, including most recently state Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, the party does not have a history of endorsing candidates in local Meriden races. If Kalmick is able to obtain at least 1 percent of the vote in that area, however, Working Families would be considered an established party in the city and could endorse or nominate its own candidates in future municipal elections.
Leake said he was still waiting for answers from a party official as to why Kalmick was endorsed and did not know the history of Working Families’ involvement in local elections in Meriden. Kalmick was not available for comment.
Kalmick’s endorsement by Working Families means the Democratic slate has an opening for the first time in recent years. Democratic Town Chairwoman Mildred Torres-Ferguson said the party would still consider endorsing a candidate if it were approached.
“We did have somebody who showed some interest, but then they had to have a medical procedure done and so it wasn’t a good time,” Torres-Ferguson said. “We would still definitely consider running someone, but it is late in the game to start approaching and interviewing candidates...Hopefully somebody will come forward.”
Torres-Ferguson said Kalmick withdrew his name due to time concerns. Kalmick, a resident of South Meriden, is a teacher at Platt High School.
The Area 4 seat is held by Bob Williams, who narrowly won in 2009. Williams, a We the People member, is cross-endorsed by the Republican Party, as he was in the 2009 elections. Williams said Monday that he had heard Kalmick had possibly been moved off the Democratic ticket, but had not heard about the Working Families endorsement.
Because the Working Families and Democrats share many political views, Torres-Ferguson said, the party’s attempt to become established could end up working in favor of the Democratic party.
“It could prove beneficial in the future,” she said. Working Families “gets involved in a lot of local races, but usually in towns like Hartford ... If they are established in Meriden, it opens up the door if We the People continue to serve as a partner to the Republican candidates where they are endorsing one another, Working Families could endorse Democrats or Democrats could endorse Working Families candidates if they agree with the what the party wants.”
Republican Town Committee Vice Chairman Liz Whitney was critical of the Working Families endorsement, especially if the intention of Kalmick running was for the party to be established and not for him to win.
“It’s a misuse of an election,” Whitney said. “That’s not what elections are supposed to be about. Candidates should enter races because they legitimately want to run for office and want to serve the community, not so they can get one percent so the party can endorse someone next time.”
We the People Town Chairwoman Lois Demayo could not be reached for comment, Monday.
Leake said he was not aware of the time issues that Torres-Ferguson mentioned, but said the endorsement process is “pretty extensive” and includes a written and interview portion.
In 2009, both Williams and Republican City Councilor Dan Brunet won seats after being cross-endorsed. Two years earlier, Brunet had been unsuccessful when We the People ran its own candidate and a Democrat, Brian Daniels, eventually won.