DTC Chair: Creating an Issue Out of Nothing

Submitted by Joe Angland, Chair, Greenwich Democratic Town Committee

Dan Quigley’s recent letter to the editor (QUIGLEY: Local Democrats Have Rejected Opportunities For Bipartisanship Sept 28, 2020) makes two principal points, one of which seeks to manufacture an issue out of nothing, and the other of which ignores the gravity of a real issue.

When Mr. Quigley, the Republican Town Committee Chair, asked me, his Democratic counterpart, to agree that the parties could post lawn signs on public property this year earlier than the traditional 15 days before election day because many people would be voting early, I agreed. That was precisely the type of bipartisanship that he claims to desire. When he then proposed that we issue a joint press statement about our agreement, I was not interested in doing so for one basic reason – it was not newsworthy, any more than other interparty agreements such as which party has the right to campaign on which train platform on each day. What Mr. Quigley now calls a lack of transparency I call a reluctance to bore the public with details about which I believe they have little interest. I know I didn’t have any interest in them until I got this job! And Mr. Quigley was free to publicize our agreement if he wanted to; I never asked him not to.

Mr. Quigley also notes that I did not respond for a couple of days when he suggested abandoning our agreement. He fails to note that during this period I was waiting for him to solve a very basic problem: one of the Republican campaigns (that of Joe Kelly) was already posting numerous signs in public places, in violation of both the original agreement and the new agreement that Mr. Quigley had proposed. It was difficult for Democratic candidates to agree to delay the date for public sign placement when one Republican campaign was simply posting signs without regard to any start date. But at least that situation provided some humor. When at my request Mr. Quigley raised the issue with the Kelly campaign, their risible response was that someone (presumably Democrats) must have taken the signs from private lawns (where they are permitted to be) and placed them at schools, train stations, and parks to make Mr. Kelly look bad. Even Mr. Quigley seemed to concur that it was ridiculous to think that Democrats would place Republican signs at such prominent locations. So much for the non-issue.

A more serious issue is the type of online behavior that has come from some Republicans and been tolerated by others. I am not talking about complaints relating to policy issues, or even “normal” trolling (if there is such a thing). Rather, I refer to deeply personal attacks on candidates that are beyond the pale. I and other Democratic leaders have addressed this issue at length in a separate submission to this paper, and I will not repeat that discussion here.

Our state races pose serious issues that need to be addressed, such as the Republicans’ (fortunately failed) attempts to use up half of the rainy-day fund in 2019, which would have left us unprepared for the revenue shortfalls brought on by Covid-19. Let the focus be on the issues, as it should be.

Joe Angland
Chair, Greenwich Democratic Town Committee