Shortly after November’s city election, state Sen. Tom Colapietro declared that he would continue to see reelection “as long as those Republicans keep calling me names.”
Colapietro’s comment to The Bristol Press, which came during a long discussion of the budget situation, was reported within months on the Bristol Blog and later in a piece in the newspaper.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Last month, the chair of the city Republican Party, T.J. Barnes filed an election law complaint against the longtime senator for allegedly failing to establish a campaign committee within 10 days of his declaration of an intent to seek reelection.
Barnes said in a December 7 letter to the state’s Elections Enforcement Commission that he believed Colapietro violated election law and should be punished accordingly.
Colapietro said recently he was flabbergasted at the complaint.
“I didn’t announce. That’s an outright lie,” Colapietro said.
The senator said he made an offhand remark to a reporter who passed it along to readers accurately.
But, he said, he never made any sort of formal declaration of his intentions.
“Enough is enough,” the veteran senator said. “This is really ridiculous.”
“After 17 years, this is all they could find? I must be pretty pure,” Colapietro said.
He said he couldn’t believe the GOP was so desperate to nail him within something that it would force the commission to squander its time and the taxpayers’ money on a complaint that is so clearly frivolous.
Kevin Ahern, a staff attorney for the commission, wrote to the senator on December 17 that its staff would review the complaint to see if there was “legal sufficiency” to pursue it further.
He told Colapietro there was no need to take any action yet.
Ahern said that if the commission believed that it needed to gather more facts, it would let Colapietro know.
If the commission decides a violation of election law occurred, it may assign a hearing officer and schedule a date to probe the facts of the case.
State law requires that candidates for state office establish a campaign committee within 10 days of announcing their intention to run. Colapietro has not yet done so.
He said that when he makes a clear, formal announcement, he’ll follow the law as he has always done.*******
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