Williams Drops out of Race for CT-5, Calls on Donovan to Step Down from Redistricting Panel

Democrat Mike Williams is dropping out of the race for congress in CT-5.     The New Preston Ph.D made the announcement this morning on Face the State, citing “the best interests of the Democratic party.”    His fundraising had lagged behind the other Democrats in the race, and said he didn’t want to waste money.

As he departed the race, Williams made a courageous call regarding the powerful Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan, the perceived frontrunner in the race for the seat now held by Congressman Chris Murphy.         

First some background:  every ten years a committee of state lawmakers  redraws the congressional districts, to reflect the most recent census.   This year one of the members of the committee redrawing the district is  Speaker  Donovan, who is from Meriden.

Anyone who looks at the current congressional map might question some of the quirky lines.   Some cities and towns are split, others jut out into other districts.   Murphy said on Face the State earlier this year that he think the cities should be united.   Congressman John Larson has echoed that sentiment.

There are a few scenarios for redistricting, and one could certainly make a strong argument Meriden should  belong in the 1st or 3rd districts, especially if Torrington and Waterbury were put completely in the 5th.    What would the Speaker’s reaction be if anyone suggested that?

Citing an obvious conflict of interest, Republican Mark Greenberg called on Donovan to recuse himself from the redistricting process; Donovan refused.   The state’s largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant, also called on Donovan to step down from the committee, calling the speaker “ethically oblivious” if he thinks it is appropriate to remain on that panel.

Some Democrats have privately said Donovan should go, but none publicly until this morning.   On Face the State, Williams said Donovan needs to step down from the committee for the good of his party. 

“The Democratic party stands for transparency. We are supposed to stand for inclusion and fairness and the Speaker has fought for that throughout his career in Hartford. .   By staying on the committee he is damaging himself and the Democratic party.  It is clearly a real ethical issue to stay on the committee.  The speaker keeps saying there is no reason to step down because there is nothing in it for him, well, then why not step down?

The complete interview with Mike Williams can be seen beginning Monday afternoon on www.wfsb.com.

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