Stratford Democrats censure town committee member
STRATFORD — Members of Stratford’s Democratic Town Committee have voted to censure one of their own.
More than 50 members of the committee voted unanimously to publicly rebuke Prez Palmer, Chairman Stephanie Philips said Wednesday. The vote took place at a monthly meeting Jan. 16.
“My message to my members is ignore him,” she said. “Don’t respond to him. He does not exist.”
Palmer angered Democrats when he ran as an unaffiliated candidate for 120th state House District race in November.
Democrat Phil Young has been sworn in after winning the race by 13 votes against Republican James Feehan, but the results are being reviewed by a committee of lawmakers.
Palmer tried to challenge Young for the Democrats’ spot on the ballot last year but failed to get enough signatures to force a primary. He ended up with 55 votes as an unaffiliated candidate in the race, in which some Democrats accused him of supporting Feehan.
After the censure, Palmer is now persona non grata among the Stratford Democrats, according to Philips, who said no one in the party spoke on Palmer’s behalf at last week’s meeting.
Palmer attended the opening of the meeting and would have been given an opportunity to speak, but said he left because he “had other things to do” — namely attending a meeting the same night of the Shakespeare subcommittee of the town’s Building Needs Committee.
He said Philips has a personal vendetta against him dating back beyond his challenge for the 120th District race. Over the weekend he e-mailed Philips asking her to point out where in the party’s bylaws censuring members was allowed. She did not reply.
Palmer said he was now considering what to do, including a possible legal challenge.
“You cannot just haphazardly censure someone,” Palmer said. “All options are being reviewed.”
Philips said Palmer is free to attend the committee’s meetings as a voting member, but will be replaced when a new slate is elected next January. She said she did not recall another instance of the committee censuring a member.
“He ran as a petitioning candidate with the purpose of seeking to prevent the Democratic candidate from winning, which violates our bylaws as a member of the Democratic Town Committee,” Philips said. “We’re here to elect Democrats, not to fight among ourselves to prevent one another from being elected.”
Palmer had previously run as the party’s endorsed candidate for the 21st State Senate seat in 2014 and 2016, but was soundly defeated in both efforts by incumbent Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford.