Ten members of the Easton Republican Town Committee who lost their seats in a recent caucus submitted enough verified signatures on Wednesday to force a March 1 primary.

Town Clerk Christine Halloran said the group handed in 134 signatures, all of which were submitted for verification through the Connecticut Voter Registration System. A total of 81 signatures were required to successfully petition for a primary. Of the 134 signatures, 123 were accepted, said Halloran, adding that in the next few weeks she’ll be working with the registrar of voters to follow state guidelines for town committee primaries.

The primary will be held on Tuesday, March 1 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Samuel Staples Elementary School. All registered Easton Republicans are eligible to vote.

Ray Martin, a 20-year town committee member who lost his spot on the committee during the Jan. 4 caucus, said it’s important that Republican voters return the long-time moderate members to the committee and give them a solid majority vote on all local issues and appointments.

“Appointments to the school board, commissions, and candidates for local and state elections are all done through the town committee. We need moderate voices on the committee. That’s the reason I chose to lead the charge for a primary. I’ve been on the committee for 20 years, and in a few years when I leave I want to make sure it is in good hands with a solid structure of moderates who can outreach to new and young Republicans,” Martin said.

Many of the names on the petition to primary in addition to Martin were long time members of the ERTC, and were ousted after June Logie, the treasurer of Citizens for Responsible Government, challenged the town committee’s slate of 30 candidates with a list of 12 alternative nominees. You can read more about the Jan. 4 caucus and ouster of 10 longtime members here: Ousted Republican Town Committee Members Petitioning for Primary.

All 12 of the nominated candidates from Logie’s slate received more than the required 40 votes and were elected by a majority. They are: Blaise Ancona, Doreen Esposito, Salvatore Giardina, Katherine Kuhns, Michael Kot, Daniel Lent, Glenn Maiorano, Adele O’Kane, Joseph Samon, Robert Santangeli, Dwight Senior, and Shari Williams.

In a prepared statement Logie said, “The newly elected members represent a diverse group of Easton Republicans who are dissatisfied with the current ERTC leadership and the direction of the party under its former control. The new individuals represent a broad spectrum of Republicanism and who are committed to inclusive leadership that will represent and work with all Easton registered Republicans.

“They will stand up for smaller government, excellent schools, lower taxes, protecting our water, and home rule. The new members are committed to the tenets of the ERTC platform in practice, not just in theory, and will work to keep all Republicans informed and engaged on the issues that face Easton.”

Wendy Bowditch, Easton’s Republican Town Committee chairman, said the ERTC always welcomes new faces. “We worked hard vetting candidates prior to the caucus. The endorsed slate included several new members who became involved over the last year. ERTC meetings are open to all registered Republicans in Easton and people could have come forward expressing interest in becoming committee members. I support people’s rights to petition for the primary. The primary is a tool to give all Republicans a chance to decide who will best serve the party,” she said.

The 10 members who petitioned for the primary are: Martin, Richard J. Colangelo, Thomas Bladek, James Riling, Alison Sternberg, Scott Centrella, Ray Ganim, Ray Martin III, Jake Martin and Kevin Rodrigue.

The March 1 primary will give all registered Republicans in Easton the opportunity to elect the 30 members they want to sit on the committee for a two-year term. The ballot will list the 30 candidates elected at the Jan. 4 caucus, as well as the 10 Republicans filing the petition.

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