What if Chris Donovan were to leave 5th District race?
An image from a TV ad released by the Chris Donovan for Congress campaign
By Jordan Fenster, Staff Reporter
During a Friday interview on WNPR’s “Where We Live,” state Democratic Party Executive Director Jonathan Harris was asked, “What if?”
What if Chris Donovan were to win the primary, and what if he then had to resign from the race?
Eight people have so far been arrested in an alleged cash-for-legislative action scheme that involved, among others, Donovan’s former campaign manager, Josh Nassi, and campaign finance director, Robert Braddock Jr., according to federal investigators.
Donovan has not been charged, and has reaffirmed that his vote was not and cannot be bought.
But the Democratic Party has to plan ahead and, to some extent, has been doing so.
The question of “what if” was raised soon after Braddock was arrested, Harris said, and they had to look at the rules.
The rules, Harris confirmed during an interview Friday afternoon, say that, should Donovan win the Aug. 14 primary and then if he were resign as a candidate, the Democratic State Central Committee members from the 5th Congressional District would decide who would take over as a candidate.
And it could be anybody.
“It doesn’t have to be someone from the pool of candidates,” Harris said.
Get that? Donovan faces Elizabeth Esty and Dan Robertiin an Aug. 14 primary, but if were to win and then had to leave the race, it could be that neither one of the remaining candidates would be chosen to take his place.
And, as Harris said to “Where We Live” host John Dankosky, if Donovan were to leave the race before the primary, his name could still appear on the ballot.
Though Harris has had the “these are the rules” conversation with the party chairwoman, Nancy DiNardo, and the party’s lawyer, he has not had it yet with the central committee members whose job it might be to pick Donovan’s replacement.
“I think it’s all very hypothetical,” said Audrey Blondin, a central committee member from Litchfield. “I don’t have any reason to believe that’s going to happen. Nothing to date has implicated the speaker in any way.”
Blondin is a Donovan supporter and, short of the speaker withdrawing his candidacy, something she does not expect to happen, she will remain so.
“I’m sticking by my man,” she said.