By Jeff Weiss
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Why Join The RTC?
Republican Town Committees (RTCs) are the building blocks of the Republican Party. RTC members:
- Typically, either directly endorse, or elect delegates to endorse candidates for ballot access
- Elect local Party officers;
- Elect delegates to elect State Central members, who in turn elect the State party officers and
the National Committeeman and Committeewoman; and
- Set the rules for local processes within the constraints of State Law and State Party Bylaws.
All these people play key roles in the process of getting candidates elected to office, so a well-run town committee can have a big impact on outcomes.
Party town committees are elected in the first quarter of every even year and serve two-year terms. This year, for the local parties that will hold caucuses for endorsements to their town committees, those caucuses will be held between January 9th and January 16th. Interested persons not receiving party endorsement can petition onto the ballot by collecting signatures from 5% of their party's active voters in their districts before January 30th for a primary which will be held on Tuesday March 5th, but at least 25% of the seats in the district (or town if applicable) must be challenged for a primary to go forward.
So, How Do You Become A Member Of Your RTC?
RTC terms are two years, starting in March of even years. If there are vacancies, the RTC may fill those vacancies based upon the procedures found in their local bylaws. Here, I’m just going to discuss the process on how a new Town Committee is seated every two years. Here’s what you need to know:
- I suggest you obtain a copy of your RTC Bylaws. The current Bylaws are, by law, on file with the Secretary of the State (860-509-6200). If the RTC has made changes to their bylaws but has not filed them with SOTS in the past 60 days, the copy on file with SOTS is considered the current one. You can, of course, ask your RTC Chair or Secretary for a copy, but in the event of a discrepancy, the filed copy is the valid one.
- Those RTC Bylaws may be woefully out of date and out of compliance with State Law or State Party Bylaws, so obtain a copy of the State Party Bylaws as well. The latest CT GOP bylaws are available by clicking here. State Party Bylaws take precedence over RTC Bylaws, and State Law supersedes Party Bylaws.
- Does your RTC consist of town-wide At large members or is it organized by local electoral districts? This is important in understanding how many seats are available and how to focus your efforts. You can find this authoritatively in your local RTC Bylaws.
- RTC members are generally endorsed at a Caucus per the RTC Bylaws and if there are more candidates than seats, there is a process to petition onto the ballot for a Primary. Some towns may go directly to Primary without a caucus, so everyone interested would have to petition onto the ballot, even if there were ultimately no contested seats.
- The endorsement caucuses, this year (2024), take place between January 9th and January 16th. The RTC chair must publish notice in a local paper at least 5 days prior.
- The procedure for setting caucus rules are per the RTC Bylaws or Robert’s Rules of Order. In the event of a tie, the presiding officer of the caucus breaks the tie.
- Anyone who did not obtain Party endorsement and is still interested in pursuing an RTC seat can petition onto the ballot, but at least 25% of the seats in the district (or town if applicable) must be challenged for a primary to go forward. To petition successfully, you need to obtain valid signatures from 5% of the registered Republicans in their district (or town if At Large) by 4:00 pm on January 30th. Petition forms and a current voter list are obtained from the Registrars of Voters. Check on the office schedule because not every office is full time, or even open every day. Completed forms for RTC primaries are turned into the Registrars of Voters after the circulators have had their forms notarized. Pay attention to the details as it is not unusual for entire pages to be disqualified for not following procedure (copy both sides – legal size paper, notarize, only get Republicans in the district/town as applicable, only Connecticut Republican can circulate the petition and their Registrar must certify that on the form, get actual signatures (covid email rules are long gone)).
- Any Primaries will be held on Tuesday, March 5th.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
CTRA New Haven County Chapter President