Candidates Spar Over Rodgers' Independent Endorsement
Candidates Spar Over Rodgersâ Independent Endorsement
By John Voket
Chris Lyddy, the endorsed Democratic candidate for the 106th District legislative seat, is taking his challenger Will Rodgers to task regarding the Republicanâs recent acceptance of an endorsement from the Independent Party.
In an August 20 release from Mr Lyddy, the candidate referenced a previous article in The Newtown Bee, in which Mr Rodgers stated he will not seek solicitations nor submit to surveys issued by organizations that are qualifying candidates for possible endorsement.
The release from Mr Lyddy states: âLess than a week after telling The Newtown Bee he wasnât seeking organizational endorsements, Will Rodgers has sought the support of The Independent Party. The memo goes on to state: âIn the August 14th edition of The Bee, Rodgers responded to the AFL-CIOâs recent endorsement of Mr Lyddy by saying that endorsements from groups created a âperception of influenceâ and that he would not be seeking any.âÂ
Mr Lyddy said the people of Newtown deserve representation whose actions match their words.Â
âWillâs hypocritical flip-flop is troubling, as it directly contradicts his statementâ¦as he most certainly had to seek and accept the groupâs endorsement,â the release says. âClearly the enticement of an additional ballot placement was too much for Will to pass up.âÂ
While Mr Lyddy states in the release that âgetting on the Independent Party ballot required consent from Rodgers to appear on the ballot,â a letter to the editor submitted by Mr Rodgers on August 22 contradicts the Democratic candidateâs assertions.
In his letter, Mr Rodgers says that the Independent Partyâs endorsement âwas not the product of any solicitation on my part.
âThe process began when I was called repeatedly by a party official,â Mr Rodgersâ letter states. âI neither made any promises nor answered any questions/surveys.â
Mr Rodgers further states that the Independent Party leadership reportedly based its endorsement on its perception of Mr Rodgersâ stance on issues âand favorable words from outgoing Rep Julia Wasserman, who has accepted the Independent Partyâs endorsement in the pastâ¦â
The Registrars of Voters office confirmed Tuesday that in previous state legislative elections, Rep Wasserman has held a ballot position on the Republican line, as well as a second position on the Independent Party line, because of the minor partyâs cross endorsement.
Mr Rodgers said he has promised not to solicit anybody, and will not âjump through any hoops to solicit endorsements.â
âItâs another thing for someone to come forward saying âwe endorse you,â and are seeking my acceptance of that endorsement,â Mr Rodgers said. âI think they can still endorse me and run me on the line. As far as I know, thereâs no consent required on my part. The contact to inform me, I believe, was a courtesy.â
Mr Rodgers added that the Independent Party endorsement comes from a qualified minor political entity, not a traditional special interest group.
In a follow-up call, Mr Lyddy questioned where Mr Rodgers stands on the Independent Partyâs issues.
âIf heâs going to accept a political partyâs endorsement, he has to justify that,â Mr Lyddy said. âThe fact that the endorsement was given to him as a gift because [Rep] Wasserman previously received it is evidence of the kind of behind the scenes activities that have been going on for some time.
âJust because people call themselves independent doesnât mean they donât have an agenda,â Mr Lyddy continued. âI feel [Mr Rodgersâ endorsement] acceptance creates much more of a perception of influence. There has to be some sort of mutual agreement that one supports the other, and if thatâs the case, come out and say that.â
In his letter, Mr Rodgers states his presumption that the Independent endorsement resulted from âan undeniable independent character that I believe the party found appealing.
âIn short, the Independent Partyâs decision was based on my record and reputation to date in the public arena,â Mr Rodgers says in his letter.
The Independent Party is not affiliated the Independent Party of Newtown, which currently holds qualified elected positions on the local Legislative Council and Police Commission. Mr Lyddy and Mr Rodgers are also members of the Newtown Legislative Council.