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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