Some residents may have received full-color glossy flyers in the mail, sent by the Democratic Town Committee, explaining the accomplishments of the three endorsed candidates, Paul Turenne, Robert Blanchard and incumbent Dan Russo.
Wesleyan Professor Stephen Devoto is vying for one of three Democratic P&Z spots against Town Committee-endorsed candidates incumbent commissioner and former DTC Chair Russo, newcomer Blanchard and Turenne, associate registrar at Wesleyan.
Asked how common it is for the DTC to distribute political mailings for a zoning primary election, Chair Dan Pickett said, "a planning and zoning primary itself is unprecedented. It has not been an elected position for that long."
Such information cards, along with telephone banks, knocking on doors and other methods Pickett said, are standard for a well-organized political party.
Even though four individuals are running in the primary election, there is only a single slot on Middletown's Planning and Zoning Commission — Russo is the only Democrat up for re-election. That means the three candidates who prevail in Tuesday's primary election will still be vying for a single seat against Republican counterparts in the November election.
According to city charter, says Republican Registrar of Voters Janice Gionfriddo, the majority party may control a maximum of four of seven total seats on Middletown's zoning board. The board has seven members and three alternates, each serving a four-year term.
Her husband, Stephen T. Gionfriddo, was chair of the PZC for seven years. That's prior to the board becoming an elected one, which happened, according to the city's Director of Planning, Conservation and Development Bill Warner, in the mid-1990s.
"Coming off a huge construction boom of late 1980s," Warner said, "a group of people felt an elected commission would be more accountable to the public." The proposal went to the charter revision commission, he explained, which placed the idea on the ballot and it passed a town-wide referendum.
On Sept. 6, Devoto rallied with supporters outside Democratic headquarters at Main Street Market, in reaction to a Democratic Town Committee Facebook post urging party members to help call voters in support of endorsed primary candidates.
That same day, Ed McKeon asked citizens in an editorial to consider a bullet vote for Devoto so he comes out far ahead of other Middletown Democratic candidates in the primary election.
A 'bullet vote' for Devoto, McKeon wrote, "denies additional votes for his opponents. While voters are allowed to vote for three candidates (four candidates are running), they are not required to do so. A single vote for Devoto increases his tally without increasing the tally of his opponents."
Last week, Devoto earned the Realistic Balance party's endorsement for planning and zoning, which means if he does not prevail in the primary, he will be on the ballot in November under the Realistic Balance Party and has applied for the Working Families endorsement.
On Tuesday, polls will open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. See here to find where you vote for Sept. 10's primary election.