A spokesman for the State Elections Enforcement Commission says a complaint against City Councilman Richard DeJesus, a candidate for State Senate, involving a variety of campaign violations including improper collection of petitioning signatures to qualify for the ballot and challenging DeJesus’ voting residence in defiance of the City Charter is still open and under investigation. Read the complaint here. Asked what he would tell potential supporters who may be concerned about the ongoing probe, DeJesus said, “I’m here and willing to serve. I’ll let that iron itself out.”
DeJesus is seeking the Democratic endorsement Thursday night in the February 24 special election for State Senate. He’s considered a leading candidate to fill the vacant seat of Andres Ayala.
The elections complaint was brought more than a year ago by former City Councilmen Angel DePara and Carlos Silva who lost a September 2013 Democratic primary in the 136th District to DeJesus and Alfredo Castillo.
From the City Charter:
At the city election in the odd-numbered years, two council members shall be elected from each aldermanic district by the electors of the city residing in such district and council members shall be residents and electors in the district which they represent. No resident of one council district shall vote for a council person of any district other than that in which he/she is registered.
DeJesus, according to local election voting records, moved into the 136th District that includes the East Side and The Hollow neighborhoods after the September 10 primary and before the November 5 general election.
In a story published in the Connecticut Post July 15, 2013 DeJesus said although he was a resident of the adjoining 137th District he would move into the district he sought to serve if he won. Connecticut law requires winners of state office, for instance State House and State Senate, to move into respective districts once they are seated. They need not reside in the district office they seek as challengers. The complaint brought by DePara and Silva claim a different standard applies to candidates for City Council, according to the City Charter.
This gets into a fuzzy area. Does the intent of the City Charter language apply to primaries, or just general elections?
The complaint brought by DePara and Silva also claims voting records show a pattern of DeJesus’ voting addresses conflicting with districts in which he’s required to cast a ballot. Such a situation led to pending criminal charges against former State House member Christina Ayala. The myriad voting addresses of her cousin, former State Senator Andres Ayala, now commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, had also come under question.