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Recount announced in Republican race for the 2nd Congressional District

The Secretary of the State’s Office has announced that there will be a recount in the Republican race for the 2nd Congressional District, which was thrown into chaos at the eleventh hour due to endorsed candidate Tom Gilmer’s arrest on felony charges on the eve of the primary election. 

Theodore Bromley, the state's director of elections, informed registrars of voters and town clerks in the sprawling 2nd District of the recount in an email Friday morning, explaining that the vote tallies — 9,225 for Gilmer and 9,199 for Justin Anderson — met the threshold because the difference between the votes is less than 0.5% of all the votes cast.

The recount, which each municipality will handle individually and will be initiated by the respective town clerks, must happen on or before Aug. 18.

Wethersfield police arrested Gilmer on Monday night on charges of second-degree strangulation and first-degree unlawful restraint stemming from a 2017 assault on a former girlfriend. After his arrest, he said he was withdrawing from the race, but still has not formally notified the secretary of the state of his intent to do so.  

If Gilmer is declared the winner in the race after the recount, and he formally withdraws from the race, the vacancy would be filled by the Republican State Central Committee.

If he doesn’t formally withdraw from the race and wins the primary, his name will be on the ballot in November.

Word of the domestic violence allegations against Gilmer had circulated among Republicans, including party leadership, for months.

The victim contacted Anderson in the spring and eventually provided him with a 30-second video clip that captured part of the 2017 assault. She told him he could show the video to Republican Party leaders so that they were aware of the allegations but was adamant that she did not want to go to the authorities and wanted to remain anonymous, he said. 

Anderson said he offered to show Romano the video but he refused, saying if it revealed a criminal act, then he would have been put in a position where he couldn’t say anything or notify the authorities, per the victim’s request. Instead, he told Anderson to turn over the video to police and he provided the name of a domestic violence specialist to pass along to the victim.

Anderson ultimately gave the video to Wethersfield police on July 22, after receiving other information about Gilmer from the victim and after the video and allegations began circulating on social media, with some accusing Anderson of holding onto the video for political gain.

Since the news broke of Gilmer’s arrest, some Republicans, including delegates who voted to endorse Gilmer without knowing about the claims against him, have criticized Romano’s handling of the situation, saying he should have done more.

j.bergman@theday.com

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