Some Favorite Sites
Government/ Community Links
Missing: Candidate For Alderman In Bishop Woods
by Melissa Bailey | Oct 4, 2013 1:31 pm
Posted to: Politics, Bishop Woods, The Heights, Campaign 2013
After scoring a spot on the November ballot as his party’s nominee, first-term Alderman Mark Stopa has decided not to run for reelection after all—leaving Democrats scrambling to find a replacement.
Stopa, who serves Ward 12 in the Quinnipiac Meadows/Bishop Woods neighborhood on the east side of town, is nearing the end of his first two-year term. He faced no challengers in the September Democratic primary. He petitioned his way onto the ballot and emerged from the primary as the official Democratic nominee.
Then Stopa changed his mind. Last Friday, he submitted paperwork asking the city to remove his name from the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election, according to Deputy City/Town Clerk Sally Brown. Now the Democratic Party has until Oct. 14 to appoint a replacement candidate to the ballot, according to Brown. That person won’t have to collect signatures, Brown said; he or she will replace Stopa as the party nominee.
Reached Friday, Stopa, who is an attorney, explained his decision this way: He took a new job in August reviewing contracts for a federal agency. (He declined to say which one.)
“Because of the new job, they’re telling me that I can’t run,” he said.
The conflict stems from the Hatch Act, which prohibits people whose jobs are funded by the federal government from running for office. (They can hold office; they just can’t run for office, according to the law.) Stopa said before the primary, he was told there was no conflict with his campaign.
“It’s unfortunate. I thought everything was going to be OK with the new job,” Stopa said. “I had discussion with HR [human resources] about it. But I came to find out after the fact that it was an issue. They told me that I couldn’t run.”
Former Ward 12 Alderman Gerry Antunes, who’s now serving as Democratic ward committee co-chair, said neighborhood Democrats have been searching for a replacement.
“We’re seeing if we can find somebody,” he said.
No candidates have emerged so far, he said: “Too many dreamers and not enough doers.”
Antunes, a retired city police captain, said he does not plan to run.
Stopa said a couple of people had inquired with him about the job. “Nno one has really stepped up and said that they’re going to do it.”
Stopa said he plans to meet with interested candidates, along with the two ward co-chairs, then forward a recommendation to the Democratic Town Committee.
He said he does plan to serve the remainder of his term, which ends Dec. 31.
There are no Republicans running for alderman in Ward 12, nor any unaffiliated candidates.
Stopa’s last-minute departure has left a blank hole on the ballot, according to Brown.
She said she ordered a first round of absentee ballots to be printed on Friday.
“When the ballots go out [on Friday], there’s no one” in Ward 12.
She said the ballots do have the names of two petitioning aldermanic candidates who lost Democratic primaries, Ella Wood in downtown’s Ward 7 and Maureen Gardner in East Rock/Newhallville’s Ward 19. Wood and Gardner signed up to run in the general election as unaffiliated candidates. Brown said neither has requested that their names be removed from the ballot.
Brown said she will have to reprint ballots if a candidate emerges in Ward 12, or if Wood or Gardner decide to drop out of the race.
Tags: mark stopa, democrats, sally brown
Post a Comment
Maybe Ella Wood can break another lease and grab the ward 12 seat.
If Ella Wood moved again it would the most epic moment in an already amazing season in local politics.
Quite frankly she ran on a platform of being able to move into a ward and help them feel more connected and represented in government from day 1. I can’t think of a place in the city that feel less connected then the folks up in that neck of the woods.