September 11, 2013

Party ties don't mean all that much nowadays

Part of the reason for the Republican Party's success in Bristol in recent years may be that it's reaching across the aisle to snatch candidates who haven't been connected to the GOP before.
Its latest choice for City Council, Jim Albert, was a registered Democrat in Massachusetts. But he registered as a Republican last week in Bristol, joining the party's ranks immediately.
As Democratic Registrar Mary Rydingsward pointed out, Albert's not the only one.
On the GOP ballot this year, three of the six council candidates became Republicans so they could run for office.
In addition to Albert, incumbent Republican Henri Martin also switched from the Democrats to the GOP.
Board of Finance Chairman Rich Miecznikowski was an unaffiliated voter for half a century until he switched this year to the Repubublicans so he could run with Martin for a 2nd District council seat.
The man Albert replaced on the ballot, incumbent David Mills, was also a Democrat until he signed on with the Republicans and won a council race in the 3rd District back in 2009.
Of course, it goes two ways.
Chris Wilson, the Democratic mayoral candidate, was elected to the Board of Education as a Republican. He switched parties this year so that he could secure the Democratic nomination for the city's top office.
The long and short of it? It's hard to see, given what the parties and candidates actually do, just how it matters a whole lot on the local level whether an individual has a D or an R beside his or her name. Heck, next time they're on the ballot they might have a different party entirely.

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