Updated 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21
Contrary to what Andre Ely told Stratford Patch yesterday, Emma Brooks will not be replacing him as the Stratford Democratic Town Committee's endorsed candidate for the Town Council Fourth District in the fall municipal election.
"(Brooks) has been 'redistricted' out of the district she once represented and now resides in the Third Council district," Democratic Registrar of Voters Rick Marcone said in an email this morning.
Marcone added that the search is ongoing for a replacement for Ely, who pulled out of the race amid a disclosure that he owes the town about $10,000 in back taxes (full story below).
"Once a replacement has been identified, a special (Stratford Democratic Town Committee) meeting will be called by the chairman to endorse the replacement," Marcone said.
Our original report follows.
A month after winning the nomination from the Stratford Democratic Town Committee to run for Town Council, Andre Ely says he’s ended his campaign.
Ely’s withdrawal comes amid a disclosure that the political newcomer owes the town of Stratford nearly $10,000 in back taxes.
“I came to a conclusion a couple days ago,” Ely said Tuesday of his decision to drop out. “I had been fighting with it.”
The 45-year-old retired United Illuminating employee received the party endorsement over current Fourth District Councilman Jason Santi, who many Democrats saw as siding with the Republican majority too often on Town Council votes.
The incumbent, however, petitioned successfully to force a party primary in September.
On Tuesday, Santi emailed Stratford Patch a statement saying Ely owed nearly $10,000 in back taxes to the town. Tax collector records online show Ely with an outstanding balance of $10,401 in real estate taxes and about $1,250 in motor vehicle dues.
“Those who decide not to pay their fair share and not follow the rules cost you and I an increased tax burden,” Santi said in the statement. “This unpaid money does not go to education, street improvements, public safety and other services that we count on.”
Read Santi’s full statement here.
When Ely got the Democratic nod at a party caucus in July, he read the following from a prepared statement:
"Unlike our current Fourth District Councilman, I will not ignore the hardship of raising a family caused by extreme tax increases, or allow my tax dollars to be misused while town services are reduced."
On Tuesday, Ely said the real estate taxes he owes relate to a deal that
has been “dragging on for too long.”
“Basically, the house I have on the market has been sitting there and I’m waiting on a closing date to finish the transaction,” he said. “I have a buyer for it.”
Ely said with the pending deal he can’t give a full effort to the campaign so he decided to drop out.
“If I can’t give 100 percent I should let someone else who can,” he said, adding that that someone is Emma Brooks.
Brooks, who was Santi’s predecessor on the Town Council, confirmed she is expected to challenge the incumbent in the September party primary as the endorsed candidate, according to a report today in the Stratford Star.
“I believe is bipartisanship, but there is a limit,” she told the newspaper.
In a Democratic primary for the same Fourth District seat in 2011, then-incumbent Santi beat challenger Michael Singh by a slim three-point margin, 101 to 98.
This year's party primary will be held Sept. 10 at Franklin Elementary School, 1895 Barnum Ave., Stratford.