A judge has given the Waterbury faction of the Independent Party sole control of valuable political real estate: A line on the 2018 ballot that allows it to cross-endorse major-party candidates or choose its own nominees for statewide offices, including governor. The competing Danbury faction plans to appeal.
The decision by Judge Trial Referee A. Susan Peck comes as the Waterbury faction prepares to hold a nominating convention Sunday, when at least three candidates are expected to compete for the gubernatorial nomination: Bob Stefanowski, the Republican nominee; Oz Griebel, a petitioning candidate; and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, a Republican.
Waterbury and Danbury factions of the Independent Party have been fighting in court for two years over which group controls the ballot line. The inability of the factions to agree left the line unclaimed in the U.S. Senate race two years ago, as Danbury cross-endorsed Republican Dan Carter and Waterbury nominated John R. Price of Wallingford.
In her decision, Peck rejected the Danbury group’s request for an injunction blocking Waterbury from nominating candidates for statewide office and concluded that Michael Telesca and Rocco Frank Jr., the Waterbury leaders, had properly filed bylaws in 2010 that establish its faction as a statewide party.
“This will be appealed tomorrow,” said Matt Grimes, a lawyer for the Danbury faction.