Dem Leader Says No Retaliation Against Bourne

But Town Chairwoman Lisa Santangelo says Christine Bourne wasn't re-elected to the town committee because she didn't play by the group's rules when she challenged Dan Drew for the mayor's job.


The is denying claims by Christine Bourne that she and her husband were “thrown off” the committee during a local party caucus last month.

Bourne, the former longtime Democratic city treasurer unsuccesfully challenged Dan Drew, the party's endorsed candidate, last year for the mayor's job.

At the Jan. 17 caucus the DTC nominated 70 members, but Bourne and several others, including her husband Robert, Hope Kasper and former Deputy Registrar of Voters Ann Tommassi, were not among them.

“Anybody who disagrees with them gets thrown out,” Bourne said recently about the caucus. She said party leaders are “overbearing" and pursue a policy of "believe me, follow me or we’ll get rid of you."

DTC Chair Lisa Santangelo acknowledged that Bourne's recent run-ins with the local party, including her challenge of Drew, the party's endorsed candidate, played a role in her not being re-elected to the DTC. But she rejected Bourne's characterization that she and her husband were thrown off the committee.

“That’s not true. Neither Christine nor Bob attended the caucus. Her term ended and she was not selected for the next slate. It’s a very clean process.”

While she said the DTC's move was not political payback, she said Bourne did not play by the local party's rules and shouldn't be surprised by the outcome.

“If you look at the preamble to the (committee's) bylaws and you read the last sentence, it talks about being part of the committee,” Santangelo said. “Our purpose is to elect a Democratic candidate.”

The section reads, “We shall strive … to nominate, work for, and elect Democratic candidates who believe in these principles … and to work together to strengthen our local, state and national Democratic Party.”

Bourne didn’t do so, Santangelo said.

“She chose to primary against duly nominated and selected candidates and her husband supported her in that. How is that consistent with the preamble? It’s like the Yankees going into the field wearing Red Sox caps.

“It’s strange to be part of this thing and not want to work for its goals and missions,” she added.

Last November, Bourne was passed over by her party for the city treasurer nomination. She says the snub was "payback" for her support of former Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano in a dispute over spending practices by the Democrat-controlled Board of Education.

In September, Bourne, who says she is a lifelong Democrat, against Drew and lost. She then ran in the general election as a petitioning candidate for mayor, but came in a very distant third, garnering less than 200 votes.

Bourne serves on the Democratic State Central Committee of Connecticut, 13th District, and is past president and vice president of AFSCME Council 4, Local 466.

Every two years, a Democratic caucus is held to elect 70 representatives to the DTC and a chair and secretary are selected. If no nominations are made from the floor, a vote is taken,” Santangelo says. “I asked three times, ‘are there any other nominations from the floor?’” And there were none.

“I didn’t go,” Bourne said, “because I expected this to happen.”

Tommassi, Santangelo said, "was not asked to return [to the DTC]. She did not contact us prior to the caucus and has not spoken to us after."

As for Kasper, Santangelo said, “Hope and Jack, they are just buried with commitments with their family.”

Kasper said this year she and her husband chose to still participate, but in a smaller capacity.

“I serve on the Common Council and I take it very seriously. It does take a lot of time. I didn’t feel I could continue as a member but I asked Lisa to put us on the advisory board so we’d still be able to participate.”

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Christine Bourne February 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Cassandra, I want to clarify at least one point in the article - NONE of the others that were removed from the town committee were supporters of mine - they have always been very loyal to the democratis and the endorsed candidates. Ann Tommassi has been very active in our party -organizing fundraisers, serving as Vice Chair and stepping up to cover for Sandra Faraci as Acting Registrar of Voters while Sandra was recuperating from a lenghty illness. In fact, during the election Ann Tommassi was criticized for being fair and including all candidates running for office in the election process. She was treated poorly by the democrats for not running the election the way the dems wanted but instead sought legal advice from the Secretary of State's office for guidance in running the election. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that was not appropriate, but it was never with Ann. Ann was completely above-board and extremely capable during the primary and general election. .
Christine Bourne February 10, 2012 at 11:01 PM
For that, she was fired from the deputy registrar's position by this Democratic Town Chair and Democratic Registrar in January. In fact, during the election I worked with Darlene in the registrar's office to keep Ann from being in the middle of two democrats running against each other. Also, Annabelle Malone was "dumped" from the town committee. Annabelle has been a loyal, active member for as long as I can remember. She is active at the Senior Center, serving on the Senior Commission. It is my understanding she wasn't aware that she would not be renominated. This Democratic Town Chair did not require exisiting members to contact her if they still wanted to serve. I've been renominated to that committee, as have the others, over and over again without this requirement. It's been a pleasure to serve the democrats in Middletown and I'm sure I will be active again in the future. I wish Dan Drew and the other elected officials well. I know they will work hard to see that Middletown moves forward in a positive way
Darrell Lucas February 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Independent thinking... Not allowed.? Just go with the flow.... *whisper* go with the flow.
Jess Sayin February 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM
How come this article fails to mention Gabriela D. and Ben Forsheim the Wesleyan students who wrote about Seb Giuliano and caused him not to get the job he was being considered for and accused members of MRTC of felony voter suppression were not mentioned in this article as being new members of the DTC- this is a huge thing- During the campaign Drew and Lisa Santangelo claimed that Wesleyan contacted them to support the Town Committee but now its the other way around!
Anne Tommasi February 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
In response to the statement made by the Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman on 2/10/12, I indeed made attempts to contact her prior to the caucus and received no response. The evening of the caucus I approached the Chairwoman and, in the presence of the Democratic Registrar of Voters, asked why she had not returned my calls. She said, "I was too busy." Shortly thereafter, I received a certified letter signed by the Democratic Registrar of Voters, containing only one sentence stating, "Effectively immediately your services as Deputy Democratic Registrar of Voters for the City of Middletown are terminated." It contained no explanation as to why my services were terminated. In seeking an explanation, I attempted to contact the Democratic Registrar of Voters, followed with a voice message for the Majority Leader of the Democratic Party. To date, I have received no response from them.
I Did Your Mother February 13, 2012 at 01:55 AM
The Middletown Democratic Town Committee is a cult. If you don't drink the kool-aid and go along with the status quo- and god forbid you question wrong doing as Christine Bourne did- you get the axe. It is true, some mammals really do eat their young. The whole thing operates on the favor system, you scratch my back I will scratch yours. It is follow the leaders- the Serras & Santangelos or bub-bye!


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