Poulos decides against primary for Southington council

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SOUTHINGTON — Democratic Town Councilor Chris Poulos won’t petition for a primary after his party didn’t nominate him for reelection.

Poulos is finishing his second term as a councilor. He wasn’t chosen for November’s slate by the Southington Democratic Town Committee’s nominating committee.

Democrats hold three of the nine council seats. Other incumbents Chris Palmieri and Val Depaolo were nominated for reelection.

Poulos said he was urged by supporters to petition for a primary but said the move could cause division and decided against it.

“I’m not a rabble-rouser,” Poulos wrote in a statement Friday. “I am a proud Democrat. I have served transparently with integrity during the two terms for which I was elected to the Council, and that is the legacy that I hope will follow me.”

Newcomers replace Poulos on Democratic ticket

In addition to the two incumbents, Democratic leaders endorsed four candidates who are looking to take spots on the council for the first time.

Jack Perry will run again for council in November, his second run for the position but his first as a Democrat. He nearly took a council seat as an independent in 2017. Perry also ran unsuccessfully for state Senate as a Democrat against Republican Rob Sampson last year.

Christina Volpe, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, is also on the Democratic council ticket.

Two former STEPS members, Kristen Guida, a former STEPS president, and Kelly Leppard, the town's former youth prevention coordinator, will be running for council. STEPS, or the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success, is the local substance abuse prevention coalition. 

Poulos came in ninth of nine council candidates during the municipal election two years ago.

No reason cited 

Poulos’ omission from the Democratic council slate puzzled him as well as some other town leaders.

Poulos was nominated from the floor during the Democrat’s meeting Tuesday but didn’t receive enough votes to get on the ticket. He said Friday that he hasn’t had communication with party leadership since then or received an explanation as to why he wasn’t nominated.

Byrne wrote in a statement this week that the party doesn’t comment on the decisions made by its nominating committee.

Victoria Triano, council chairwoman and a Republican, said it’s unusual for a party not to nominate an incumbent for council.

“We lost a great councilperson and I’m very disappointed that Chris has chosen not to seek a primary,” she said Friday. “I want to thank him on behalf of the town of Southington for his years of courage and service and his willingness to serve on the highest elected board in the community.”

Avoiding division

Despite urging from supporters, Poulos said he decided against petitioning for a primary. He said the decision was a well-informed one made with advice from those who have helped guide his political career.

“In many ways our community is divided and it would be contrary to my leadership style to model anything but collaboration and unity,” he wrote.

The Democratic party released a short comment following Poulos’ announcement Friday.

“We thank him for his service to the town and we look forward to working with him in the future,” Byrne wrote.

Poulos would have had to gather signatures of five percent of current registered Democratic voters. There were just under 9,000 active and inactive party members in Southington last year, requiring a primary petitioner to gather about 450 signatures.

Town Clerk Kathy Larkin said the signatures would have to be submitted by Aug. 11 to trigger a primary. During a primary, Democratic voters would choose six candidates from seven on the ballot — the six nominated by the party and Poulos.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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