The Republican State Central Committee has asked a Superior Court judge to dismiss a complaint filed by five town residents claiming the state committee had no right to invalidate an Easton Republican Town Committee caucus.
June Chiaia-Logie, Beverly Dacey, Adele O’Kane, Elizabeth Maiorano and Shari Williams are seeking an injunction on the grounds that the state committee had “no jurisdiction or authority” to invalidate the Jan. 4 caucus, and by doing so, “violated their constitutional rights” in addition to “causing them harm by disenfranchisement.” Chiaia-Logie and the other plaintiffs are self-representing, meaning they did not hire an attorney to represent them.
They are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop a slate of nine Republican town committee members who took office on March 9, and to reinstate the 30 people who were nominated at the January caucus.
The state GOP has asked Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Chiaia-Logie and the other plaintiffs failed to properly serve a writ of summons. By state law, a writ of summons needs to be filled out correctly and served to notify a defendant in order to be legally valid.
Stevens was set to hear arguments in the case on Tuesday when the state GOP filed the motion to dismiss. He gave Chiaia-Logie and the other plaintiffs until March 14 to respond or object to the state committee’s motion to dismiss.
At the Jan. 4 ERTC caucus, Chiaia-Logie nominated 12 people to replace many long-time members. Williams and O’Kane were among the 12 who were elected.
Ten members who lost their seats successfully petitioned for a primary to win their seats back. A March 1 primary was scheduled but subsequently canceled. The state committee threw out the caucus results having determined that ERTC Chairman Wendy Bowditch changed the caucus venue without proper notification in a published legal notice as required in the party’s bylaws. Raymond Martin, one of the nine petitioning candidates, successfully filed a complaint with the state committee.
With the caucus invalidated, the 10 petitioning candidates became the only legal members of the town committee, according to GOP bylaws. One petitioning candidate dropped out of the primary, leaving only nine members.
On March 9, the nine petitioning candidates took control of the ERTC and elected 16 new members to the committee. Martin was named chairman and Bowditch vice chair.
Town Clerk Christine Halloran, Republican Registrar of Voters Dori Wollen, and Ben Proto, the chairman of the Republican State Central Committee are named in the complaint. The plaintiffs also include the Republican State Committee and the Dispute Committee as defendants. Halloran and Wollen are named in the complaint for wrongfully accepting the state GOP’s ruling and cancelling the March primary.