STAMFORD — The Republican Board of Representatives primary in District 13 got personal last week when incumbent candidates Harry Day and Ralph Loglisci sent out campaign mailers challenging their opponent’s Republican record.
The political postcard does not mention Day and Loglisci’s primary challenger by name, referring to him instead as a “lifelong Democrat.” The flyer urges recipients to vote for Day and Loglisci in Tuesday’s primary election.
“On September 10th, a lifelong Democrat – who will have been a Republican for just six days — is opposing Harry and Ralph in the Republican primary. Really…,” the campaign mailer reads.
The candidate, Akbar Road resident Dominick Lacerenza, rejected his opponents’ characterization of his political affiliation history and accused Day and Loglisci of running a smear campaign against him.
“For the record I was a registered Republican for a number of years, I became a Democrat so I was entitled to sign my wife’s petition to run for the Democratic Town Committee,” Lacerenza said in a written statement sent to the Advocate Monday. “One of the many reasons I’m running for the Republican Board of Representatives in the 13th District is to bring honesty and integrity back to Stamford Govt. Harry and Ralph should know better and the voters of the 13th District deserve better.”
Voter registration records provided by the Republican Registrar of Voters confirm Lacerenza, a lifelong Stamford resident, enrolled in the Republican Party when he first registered to vote as a University of Bridgeport student. He then switched to the Democratic Party on Jan. 13, 2004.
Lacarenza again changed his political affiliation — back to the Republican Party — on June 4, 2013, according to Registrar of Voters records. He is challenging Day and Loglisci in Tuesday’s primary election for a spot on the November ballot in the Board of Representatives District 13 race.
Day and Loglisci paid for the campaign mailer. Loglisci said the error was inadvertent.
“When you see somebody was a Democrat and then you find out all of the sudden they changed to Republican in order to run against you — Harry and I thought he had always been a Democrat,” Loglisci said. “When we sent it we certainly thought we were telling the truth. I guess I could have looked a little deeper.”
Loglisci said Lacerenza’s fickle political affiliation history does call into question his commitment to the Republican Party, however.
“If you leave the Republican party for a number of years and then conveniently decide to become a Republican again so you can run – I don’t think that makes you a Republican other than in name,” he said.
Lacerenza said he switched to the Republican Party to support his wife’s bid for the Democratic City Committee and has no regrets about his decision.
“I’d rather be a closet Republican and have to live with that than not be able to sign my wife’s petition,” Lacerenza said.
Day said he assumed Lacerenza was a lifelong Democrat because his wife was a longtime member of the Democratic City Committee.
“It does appear there appears to be a mistake here,” Day said. “All I can say is I relied on information provided by the Registrar’s office. I regret if there was a mistake, but the point is he’s been a Democrat for 10 years. He became a Republican six days before this primary.”
Voters who switch their political affiliations from one party to another must wait 90 days before they are eligible to vote in a primary election, said Republican Deputy Registrar of Voters Terry Bivona.
“The cut-off date was June 10 because that was 90 days before the primary,” Bivona said. “He changed his party on June 4 which gave him six extra days. But he literally didn’t have party privileges to vote in a primary until Sept. 4.”
Check back here later for full coverage of Tuesday’s Board of Representatives primary races.