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Friday, March 4, 2011

Charlestown is a very liberal - even progressive - town

For the past several election cycles, Charlestown voters generally voted for the most liberal or progressive candidates.

In 2010, Charlestown Democrats supported Patrick Lynch over Frank Caprio for Governor and the late Joe Fernandez over Peter Kilmartin for Attorney General.

In the general election, when Republican John Robitaille swept most of South County, Charlestown went comfortably for Chafee. Charlestown has overwhelming voted for Donna Walsh for state rep over Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA)-backed Matt McHugh in 2008 and the Moderate Party candidate in 2010.

Charlestown’s 16 point margin for Democrat Larry Valencia helped him eke out a razor-thin victory in House District 39. Of course, in 2008, Charlestown went overwhelming for President Obama.

The largest bloc of Charlestown’s 5420 registered voters are independents (56%), followed by Democrats (27%). Bringing up the rear are the Republicans (16.5%) and Moderates. The Moderates have only six registered voters (0.1%) but they have a registered town committee, a treasurer (Deborah Lynn Stokes) and $50 in the bank.

The Charlestown Republican Town Committee went into the 2010 election holding the Town Council majority and enough cash and fund-raising potential to defend them. But inexplicably, the CRTC told the Board of Elections in a January 2010 declaration they would raise no more than $100 per donor and spend no more than $1000 on the campaign. Oddly, all three Republican council incumbents filed the same self-limiting declaration.

Then last June, the CRTC members forgot to file their declarations and endorsements to maintain their seats as the official party committee, essentially putting themselves out of business.

When it looked like their three council incumbents were going to lose to the CCA onslaught, the CRTC finally started to spend to help their incumbents survive. They spent $2500 but lost two of their three seats to the CCA. But by raising and spending more money than they were allowed under their Board of Elections declaration, the CRTC left itself open to a BOE complaint by the ever-vigilant CCA stalwart Cliff Vanover.

How did the CCA come to control Charlestown? Who is the CCA? What do they want to do with Charlestown? And who is calling the shots from behind the curtain?

Stay tuned to this blog for more analysis including all the juicy details.

Author: Will Collette