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Torres Attacks Merkle Voting Record

Rick Torres says Rob Merkle's voting record, or alleged lack thereof, should disqualify him from running. Merkle responds that since Torres cannot attack his policies, he is turning to personal attacks.

GOP candidate Rick Torres of Bridgeport said his opponent Republican Rob Merkle should be prohibited from running for Congress.

Torres said Merkle's voting record, or lack thereof, means he doesn't deserve to hold elected office. He maintains that Merkle has only voted twice in his life. Torres also said he plans to alert his supporters to this news later in the week.

Both Torres and Merkle are seeking the Republican nomination to run against Democratic Congressman Jim Himes in November. Dan Debicella, who is also running, couldn't be reached for comment.

According to the Norwalk Registrar of Voters, Merkle registered October 25, 2008, just before the presidential election. Records also indicated that Merkle voted in municipal elections in 2009. But that doesn't tell the whole story, said Stuart Wells, Norwalk's Democratic Registrar.

"Sometimes earlier records aren't in the computer system and if someone moved around their voting records can be lost," Wells said, adding that just because it's not on the computer doesn't mean a registered voter didn't previously vote. Typical voter records go back about 10 years.

In addition, Merkle lived in Florida between 1998 and 2002. According to the Secretary of State's office in Tallahassee, Florida, he registered to vote in February 25, 2001. However, there is no record of Merkle having voted.

Still, Torres said the lack of involvement is a red flag.

"I think that is a disqualification notice as far as I'm concerned," said Torres. "I'm almost 51 and since I was 18 I've not missed a vote except three times. Those who don't vote are basically thumbing their noses at this country."

Torres said he was out of the country on one occasion and out of state on the other two. He didn't get an absentee ballot.

Merkle makes no apologies for his record.

"Rick Torres can't approach me on my issues, so he is attacking me personally," Merkle said.

Merkle said he moved to New Canaan in 1992. In 1998 he moved to Florida before returning to Connecticut in 2002. He then moved to Georgia for a year and came back to Connecticut in 2004 at which time he was setting up his business, and, by his own admission, "was not every engaged" in politics.

Then came the 2006 race between Republican Christopher Shays versus Democratic Diane Farrell, which "as far as I'm concerned were both liberals. Then in 2008 I became re-engaged like the rest of the nation and registered."

"He doesn't have all the facts," Merkle said of his opponent. "He's a spoiler and he's angry."

Christian Camerota July 21, 2010 at 04:06 AM
Alex- Thanks very much for weighing in. It's nice to have your opinion included, even if it is something of a personal matter for you.
jeff wright July 21, 2010 at 04:18 AM
Great job Alex, Your Dad is electrifying when he speaks. You can't fake it when your that passionate about something. A politician your Dad is not. Alex, do you think you could post something that shows Rick speaking? I know there is stuff on U-tube, but if you could post it directly, I think that would help those who haven't heard your dad speak.
jon Harrison July 21, 2010 at 04:26 AM
I am thrilled to see that Rick's son is as impressive on paper as his father is in person. Great comments on the role of a principled Congressman. I began supporting Rick after I heard him speak at the Westport debate. There was no doubt in my mind afterward that Dan was just another Chris Shays type. Since the passing of Mr. Merkle's candidacy it is clear that between Rick and Dan, there is no comparison in whom I would rather have represent me in Washington. I can trust Rick not to sell out to the special interests and lobbyists.
John Symon July 21, 2010 at 06:00 AM
I don't trust Merkle. Gut feeling. He smokes pot while his dad is US Attorney -- at age 32, no less. Has a child out of wedlock Doesn't vote (why bother, they all alike... will he bother in Congress?) Has filed bankrupcy Has a failed business Has raised $60k, but spent $90k (sounds like a democrat) What are his redeeming qualities? He is all talk, with no track record, IMHO.
Jay Zadeh July 21, 2010 at 05:31 PM
Jeff, I think you should care.........because Dan Debicella can and will win. Heres a fun filled factoid, if Rick and Rob run under the name of the Republican party, the same party which you claim cannot win Norwalk or Bridgeport, than what is the point of any one running? If Dan doesnt stand a chance (as you so falsely put it), what makes you think Rob and Rick stand a chance? Allow me to crack an egg of knowledge on you. When Chris Shays lost to Jim Himes, there was a democratic sweet across the country. Himes rode into washington on the Obama train. Now that the train is out of service, campaigning in the fourth district is a whole knew ball game. Republicans stand a great chance in taking back the seat and our party is accumulating a lot of support. Think about the logistics, if I had a dollar for every time I hear 'Rick who?', 'Rob who?', or 'whose that', I would have enough money to run your dogs campaign and buy half of Greenwich. The Debicella camp has the best ground game of all the races in the state of Connecticut. Rick may have had 44% of the vote, but the key is that he lost in his own home town, how can we expect him to take other towns throughout the district? When you think things through, you will learn that neither Rick or Rob stand a chance. On top of that, if 'no GOP candidate can win Bridgeport' then would it not make sense to pick the candidate who has extremely high name rec. through the rest of the district?Sorry Jeff, better luck next year
MargotCT July 21, 2010 at 09:02 PM
This is a problem with politicians – they would easily adjust their views in order to win an election. Himes’ vote records speak louder than any of his words – said or written, so is very telling the fact that Rob Merkle did not find time to vote. Regardless of how busy you are moving between states, working long hours, taking care of your family, every American citizen must vote. Voting does not mean to ‘be engaged in politics’ as Merkle said, but rather it is our civil duty! As William E. Simon, former Secretary of Treasury of the U.S. said, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.” I agree with Rick Torres, it is a big red flag warning us about another manipulative politician who lives by “Do as I say and not as I do.” How can Merkle ask people to vote for him if he himself did not bother to vote just a couple years ago? When do we start judging people by their deeds versus empty promises and sweet talk?
informed n. unafraid July 22, 2010 at 03:21 PM
Dan Debicella can't win because of his record and his policies. RECORD: He's voted for nearly a 10% increase in spending while in Hartford, voted to raise taxes, introduced and voted to have ALL CT CITIZENS PAY $200,000 for astroturfing a field in his district and $500,000 for a park rehabilitation in his district (can you says earmarks and pork) - why is it another Towns citizens responsibility for astroturfing his fields! And there's many examples of wild spending. He has all the earmarks (pun intended) of politics as usual - the very thing citizens across America are tired of. POLICIES: He wants to cap the "increase" in spending of the federal government - check out his own op ed in the Stamford Advocate in January. He doesn't want a border fence as he stated in the Westport debate, as noted above he wants to increase medicare payments which, by definition will increase spending. Dan fashions himself a moderate - "If Jim Himes were more like Joe Lieberman, a true moderate, I wouldn't be in this race" was his quote; moderates were in steady decline for the last 20 years and lost in the last election - RERUNS ALWAYS END THE SAME.
informed n. unafraid July 22, 2010 at 03:32 PM
How about these Rick Torres facts: 1. Torres has/had a PAC called Bridgeport Blue GOTV, working to get out the vote for Joe Lieberman. 2. Torres endorsed a Democrat for mayor in their primary while RTC Chair 3. Torres was removed from his Chairmanship by his RTC 4. Torres has advocated before the Libertarian Party to legalize all drugs 5. Torres wants to gift publicly owned housing to its' residents who live there more than 10 years 6. Torres decries the failure of Merkle to vote, and supports Schiff who's admitted voting record is even more scarce - sounds like a "double standard" Several of your points are off Sherry.. 1. Merkle was never "arrested" - he was issued a summons to appear. 2. A thorough review of the icaucus video shows he did answer all questions - thank you youtube 3. The GS-TPP didn't deny Rock speaking time, Rock never responded to their many emails asking if he was coming. Then he shows up and one of his supporters threatens to sue them on free speech issues - a similar threat was levied to the Bridgeport RTC when they removed him from office. 4. the GS_TPP leadership spoke w/all candidates and endorsed Merkle 5. Right Principles endorsed Merkle 6. Icaucus was forced to issue a correction after a "misleading" email was sent out by Torres
informed n. unafraid July 22, 2010 at 05:09 PM
Oh Jack...Jack, Jack, Jack. TP people don't dislike Hispanics, you've got to stop smoking whta Torres wants to legalize ;)
jeff wright July 23, 2010 at 05:18 AM
WOW, someones got their panties in a twist. I suggest that anyone who is interested in a thorough and highly entertaining response to the "informed n confused" rant , please see the article that begins with Dan Debicella's opus to his glory. Still waiting for your real name buddy. You can't hide behind your mommy's skirt forever. Politics is where the Big boys play.
jeff wright July 23, 2010 at 05:21 AM
Jay, The " Crack an egg of knowledge" crack is priceless.
informed n. unafraid July 23, 2010 at 08:00 AM
I would remind you re: Himes beating Shays, Shays had been on a steady decline of support for 20years as he moderated his message. He came in on the heals of Reagan w/ >70% of the vote and declined steadily with 60% of the vote in the 90's until his last several elections where he barely broke 51 & 52 %. His 48% loss wasn't an "Obama wave", it was inevitable conclusion of a moderate message that bore little difference between him and his opponent. In his debates against Himes I saw them fist bump on a number of occasions and on a number of topics. I would also note that over the last many years the R party has lost > 20,000 registered voters and hold a 3:1 super minority in Hartford. These factors all happening as the Party moved left to the center - allowing and supporting the income tax, expanded government and excess spending. Debicella was and is a part of that as he votes for budgets that raise spending nearly 10%, impose taxes that disproportionately efffect the poor and force all CT citizens to pay for pork and earmarks such as his sponsoring and voting for bonding projects suc as the astroturfing of football fields in his district - is it really Stamford's job to pay for a football fields re-turfing in Shelton?!?!?
CTPati July 23, 2010 at 08:07 PM
Interesting comments here. A Primary is a healthy, PRODUCTIVE part of the democratic process. I disagree strenuously with any who believe that only Debicella can win, because he has the most $$$ and name recognition, etc. I also disagree strenuously that the primary battle is a waste of resources. To those I say balderdash! We have an incompetent congress (most of the members, that is) precisely because most of us Americans were not paying enough attention---and let the 'politics as usual' and *party powerful* operate in their secluded chambers to select the most "electable" candidates for us, ie McCain and Obama. :-( Post Tea Parties and other grassroots conservative movements, and the elections of Chris Christy and Scott Brown (OUCH---that one hurts right now), and the ousting of Sen. Bennett from the GOP ticket of Utah---we have a new game with millions of Americans having become awake, informed and involved! Any candidate who cannot survive a vigorous primary and prevail based on HONESTY about his own record and background, as well as the strength/rightness of his policies---well that candidate should not be on the ballot against the Democrat opponent in November. It's as simple as that!
CTPati July 24, 2010 at 03:38 AM
I hope Alex Torres will post a link to one of his dad's inspiring speeches, interviews, or him answering questions. In the meantime, here is a less than 3 min. video of Rick Torres, the candidate with the most compelling history, having lived under socialism in CUBA, and truly 'living the American Dream' right in Bridgeport! www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCrzFs-l1FE Rick and wife Michele (27 yrs. married) have 5 children, and have built a successful small business, Harborview Market, in Black Rock, very near their home---all of which they love very much, which is why Rick will never become a 'career politician'. In the view of my husband and myself, Rick Torres is one of the most unique and exciting candidates for Congress this year---from anywhere in our nation---especially from Connecticut. Beside that, we and other Tea Party/grassroots types love Rick's principled dedication and determination to restore the Constitutional *limited government* which has always allowed our nation and people to PROSPER!
Steve Symonds July 24, 2010 at 08:37 PM
I am an Independent, and follow the "Political Hippocratic Oath": Elect folks who will ' first do no harm'. I've not been following this race so far, am just starting to get educated. I would find it incredibly useful and informative if this discussion focused on specific policies (or changes) that would institute "limited government". I was horrified by the incredible Federal power grab during 2000-2008. That trend has continued, unfortunately. Ok, so what are the definitive policies or platform the contenders espouse in seeking to "limit government"? Frankly, I get turned off by ad hominem attacks -- sadly this discussion seems littered with them. How about, as the saying goes, light a candle (i.e., focus on policies/positions) instead of cursing the darkness (e.g., telling us that a candidate's mother wears combat boots)? And, it also seems to me incumbent on office seekers not only need to state their opinions -- but ground them in facts. I note that Mr. Debicella said "the stimulus had no impact." Well, that's a bunch of hooey. For heaven's sake, even Fox Business News correctly noted that the CBO's impact analysis clearly concluded the stimulus has had constructive outcomes. As the saying goes, you are welcome to your own opinion...but not your own facts.
CTPati July 25, 2010 at 04:27 AM
Steve---I agree with your comments from this afternoon. Since you are "just starting to get educated" about the 4th district race, let me just give you a little background as someone who has been involved for over 6 months. Merkle and Torres both have very dedicated volunteers who come from the Tea Party and other grassroots movements of common sense people who, like you, are "horrified by the incredible Federal power grab" of recent years, as well as the current regime. The dedicated efforts of volunteers in the two campaigns are *splitting the support* that is not going for Debicella---whom we grassroots folks see as a professional politician type, and also a self-proclaimed "moderate" who probably won't always stand true to Conservative, "limited government" PRINCIPLES. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some of the "ad hominem" rather than policy stuff emphasis in the last week or so, and Merkle distorting Torres' positions to try to distract from the unsavory facts that have recently come to light about Merkle's history.
CTPati July 25, 2010 at 04:36 AM
Those of us engaged right now on these forums, about the coming primary elections, are mostly those dedicated to helping particular candidates get elected. We're mostly just 'talking amongst ourselves' frankly. To those dedicated, loyal campaign workers in the Merkle campaign, all of whom I respect a lot, and many of whom are valued friends of mine: We are all engaged in the battle to restore our "Liberties" as enumerated in our Founding Documents. I admire your zeal and hard work to help elect a conservative. It is because of that enthusiasm, and your willingness to put your money where your mouth is, that you were eager to get to work defeating Himes. Rob Merkle engaged in the 4th district race early, and some of my good friends jumped onto his campaign as early as last November, when they had basically not even heard of Rick Torres. I too was quite favorably impressed with Merkle, when we first met him on Dec. 15th. However, since I am by nature cautious, and like to research thoroughly all the options BEFORE I make a decision---my husband and I did not immediately join Rob's campaign. A few days later I met Rick Torres at Peter Schiff's campaign headquarters open house in Milford. When Rick told me he was also running for the 4th district, my first thought was probably something like "good luck with that", because Rick was a very low-key, soft-spoken guy in a one-on-one initial meeting (in contrast to the more powerful, polished Merkle 'sales' personality).
CTPati July 25, 2010 at 04:51 AM
Part 2 to my Merkle campaign friends: As I said, I was initially favorably impressed by Merkle. However, when I was part of the Independence Caucus team interviewing Rick Torres on Feb. 2nd (we interviewed Merkle on Jan. 14th), we were most pleasantly thrilled with Rick's unique background and compelling life story, as well as with his answers to the questions! (See interview on youtube, ICaucus & Torres) I viewed Merkle & Torres both as fiscally conservative and as good candidates (far better than Debicella or any others). But Rick Torres has a sincerity, a knowledge first hand of living under socialism, and an ability to CONNECT immediately with the PEOPLE, and their concerns that to me made him the most compelling and electable candidate! Everything I have come to know about Rick since then has only reinforced those impressions, while (sadly) I cannot say the same for my impressions of Rob Merkle. I now have serious concerns that HIMES would easily make hay over the lack of honesty from Rob in the Independence Caucus vetting interview (see youtube, ICaucus & Merkle Part 6), about his past, especially the lack of voting, a basic duty and privilege of citizenship. I sincerely believe it would be a tragic outcome for all of the dedicated grassroots conservative volunteers, if Merkle were to somehow get the Primary victory and then come up short in November against Himes, because Merkle will be readily characterized as an opportunist who did not even vote until 2008.
Steve Symonds July 25, 2010 at 01:15 PM
Thanks for the reply...but I'm still looking for some real substance here. I don't care whether a candidate is a Libertarian, Moderate, Montessorian, or a Zoroastrian. I'm not going to vote in the Republican primary for a candidate who merely asserts s/he is for "limited government" because that's way too fuzzy. And honestly I don't give a fig for which special interest group , no matter how iconic or touching their moniker, has endorsed a candidate. Special interest groups are a big part of the problem, for my money. I will vote for a Candidate to represent the 4th District who will meaningfully contribute to constructively moving our country forward whose positions on the major issues facing our country such as: • Financial regulation and reform • Budget and Tax reforms • Environmental regulation • Privacy rights and National Security • Marriage rights • Medicare • Healthcare • Social Security • Immigration • War in Afghanistan • Defense Department budget • Educational policies • Energy policies Candidates for this office have an obligation to enlighten us voters about their positions on these (and other issues). No voter should settle for anything less than a clear understanding about where a candidate stands on the issues which will make (or continue to break) our country. Well, at least this voter isn't settling for anything less.
Kenneth J. Dartley July 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Uninformed and afraid sounnds very much like A.A. Could it be another stealth attack??
jeff wright July 26, 2010 at 12:13 PM
Why not? That's my thoughts. Go look at all of his posts. All Negative. All attack Rick or Dan. All he talks about is how bad everyone else is. Life is not supposed to filled with that much negativity. Be uplifting, bring something positive to the table. Sam Rayburn once said. " any Jackass can kick down a barn door, but it takes a carpenter to re-build one" Well if I could point out that Rick Torres IS a trained carpenter. Folks have a great day. Golf for me.
CTPati July 28, 2010 at 06:28 PM
Want to meet Rick Torres and ask your questions *directly* about his positions on public housing, taxes, health care and anything else? Well, here are 2 of many opportunities to do just that: (For others see his website www.ricktorres2010.com) Rick is holding a Town Hall tonight (Weds. July 28th) in Fairfield: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Room of the Fairfield Library, 1080 Old Post Road If you happen to have the time available tomorrow a.m., Rick will be joined by *Senate candidate Peter Schiff* at the Trumbull Library on Quality St. (by Town Hall) from 10 a.m. to noon. Sponsored by Ladies for Liberty, the town hall style forum will start with Rick Torres at 10 a.m. in the community room of the Library.
CTPati July 28, 2010 at 06:28 PM
Great NEWS for Rick Torres! Rick has received another endorsement. It is from the National Republican Liberty Caucus. His picture is already up on their website at http://www.rlc.org/endorsed-candidates-2010/#9. "Candidates endorsed by the RLC share our commitment to the ideals of individual rights, limited government, and free enterprise and are working to implement those principles within the Republican Party." This endorsement was originally given to Rob Merkle, but for reasons unknown it was revoked and awarded to Rick. This is all very exciting and reminds us, once again, that Rick truly is a strong candidate with a resounding message to bring to Washington, and the only one who can beat Jim Himes in November.
Kenneth J. Dartley August 01, 2010 at 10:25 PM
And Merkle cant win because of his non record of votes
Kenneth J. Dartley August 03, 2010 at 11:51 AM
Go to www. Ricktorres2010.com and watch Ricks short and to the point videos on various subjects then decide. Rick does not spend time on what The Dems are doing wrong--That we already know--He has solutions
Lisa Richards August 04, 2010 at 10:43 PM
I'm campaigning for Rick Torres, because I watched him from afar for years fighting locally and saw a guy who fought corruption on th elocal level and had the guts to stand up for what is right. I also know for a fact that Rick is not trying to or fighting to legalize pot or any drug. He wants to decriminalize. That is completely different than making pot legal. We have pot smokers serving time while pedophiles are living among us. Would you rather send someone to prison for pot smoking or decriminalize the sentence and fine the pot smoker? Wouldn't we be better off doing that and putting rapists and other violent thugs behind bars than a pot smoker? Rob Merkle and his campagin have come out on this issue and lied, when they know full well Rick does not seek to legalize any drug. And Rick is spending a lot of time on what the dems are doing wrong. Go to the town meetings, go to his house on thursdays and ask him, watch the videos of the debates, the town hall meets. Don't go by what you read by reporters who are really liberal Himes lovers and will never tell you the truth about any campaign. I have not bothered to get out and campaign for anyone since Reagan ran, but when Rick announced he would run, I called his store and asked if I could help get him on the team, because he truly has a great record. If you want to know the truth, go to a meet and hear for yourself. That is how I decided, as well as others on the team.
Lisa Richards August 04, 2010 at 10:51 PM
I would add to all that if you want ot know the candidates, go meet them. I met Rick years-ago and asked him questions about his stance. This was after his mayoral run, which would have been a win had ACORN not bought off people in the projects. That bit of info is public knowledge; $20 dollars and cigarretts to vote for Rick's opponent, who never did anything but take the city of Bridgeport down further in tax hikes. Rick is the only person who truly understands how tax hikes kill jobs and government spending keeps people poor and in projects, because he grew up in them and had to work his way out or remain there and become a generational slave to government as so many are thanks to the Dems of this state who need poor people for votes, but then ignore them, leave them in the hood until the next election. Rick knows this first hand. I've asked Rob Merkel questions and he does not seem to be able to answer anything without his campaign manager doing the talking for him, plus he never gives a straight answer. Ask Rick a question and he answers it straight up without beating around the bush. Rick will be at a Norwalk Tea Party Saturday, go, ask. Go to his home tomorrow and meet him and ask him where he stands on anything and he will tell you honestly. Go to his store and talk to him, he does not hide from anyone or any question. I don't say this because I'm on the team, I say it because I asked and I got answers from Rick, but not the others, who just talk.
Lisa Richards August 04, 2010 at 10:55 PM
As for Peter Schiff, I met him at a meet and asked hard questions and he answered truthfully and the guy is definately smart on economics and the Constitution, jobs, taxes, Homeland Security, supports Israel as Rick does. Schiff is definately the guy we need in the Senate. Again, go meet these guys and ask questions and stop listening to the papers or childish mud-slingers who have nothing better to do than trash Rick and Peter because Rick and Peter are what CT need. But only you can figure that out and decide for yourself by not sitting home and getting up and going to a town meet.
Alex Torres August 05, 2010 at 06:46 PM
Again, to be open and honest, I'm Rick's son...and again, I'm still just another concerned citizen. I was asked to post a video of my father's words.  Check out this video. It shows Mr. Debicella to be exactly what we know him to be and what he eventually proclaims himself to be, a MODERATE. It also shows what happens when we elect RINO Republicans and Rick's pledge to fight against it.  Vote Torres! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZkm2WtbqOI
CTPati August 09, 2010 at 09:22 PM
I have been registered as a Republican ALL of my adult life, which comprises four decades now of adulthood and *voting history*. I am proud of that record, and to be a responsible American citizen, fulfilling my civic duty. I don't believe I've ever missed voting in an election. Hmmmm---I have no desire to be a politician, but maybe I am more qualified to serve in Congress than Rob Merkle. ;-0 Just joking! RICK TORRES is the man we need in congress for the 4th District, and the only one who can *beat HIMES!!!*

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