Republicans were outraged Wednesday by a Democratic-written bill that would effectively eliminate the Independent Party of Connecticut. The bill, which is a working draft, says that the word “independent” would be removed from any political party in Connecticut. The reason given is that “independent” is often mistaken with the word “unaffiliated,” which is how hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents are registered. But the potential switch has huge political overtones in Connecticut because the Independent Party has most recently cross-endorsed Republican candidates, including Linda McMahon in her run for the U.S. Senate and conservative Republican Michael McLachlan in his three successful races for state Senate in Danbury and surrounding towns.
The bill, written without any Republican input, ”demonstrates the power and arrogance of the Democrat majority more than any bill I’ve seen in now my 15th year in the General Assembly,” said Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield.
McKinney added, “It is a disgusting, arrogant power grab. It is unconstitutional, and it is something that all people of good conscience in this legislature should reject immediately.”
But Sen. Anthony Musto, a Democratic attorney who is co-sponsoring the bill, rejected the notion that the measure is unconstitutional and said it would withstand a court challenge.
He said he is concerned about “voter confusion’’ among independent and unaffiliated voters. He said that the word “Connecticut’’ should also be banned from political parties, but that was not included in the bill’s latest version. As such, Musto said he would ban A Connecticut Party that had been created by independent Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. in 1990 in his successful run for governor.