Democrats divided in Somerville alderman race

August 21, 2011

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Joan Whitney Puglia said she was stunned to see an Aug. 10 report on candidates being endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of Somerville.

At the time, the group’s chairman, Marty Martinez, was quoted as saying that Whitney Puglia, running for the Board of Aldermen’s Ward 7 seat, had not responded to a questionnaire sent by the group. Martinez later clarified his statement, saying he was responding to the question of who had sought its endorsement, not who had returned the questionnaire.

The Progressive Democrats endorsed Katjana Ballantyne in the Ward 7 race, which also includes incumbent Bob Trane.

Barry Rafkind, chairman of Whitney Puglia’s campaign committee, stated in an e-mail that his candidate had responded before the group’s endorsement meeting, “although she did not seek the PDS endorsement because we believe PDS displayed a bias in favor of her opponent.’’ According to a copy of an e-mail provided by Rafkind, Whitney Puglia had informed the Progressive Democrats on the morning of Aug. 8 about her suspicions.

“Another candidate in this race is a PDS member who is actively supported by a number of prominent PDS members including the chairperson, and the steering committee has already shown a bias in favor of her by announcing only her candidacy on the PDS website,’’ the e-mail states. “I therefore have no doubt her endorsement by PDS is a fait accompli, so I have decided not to seek the PDS endorsement.’’

Her answers to the questionnaire are on her campaign website,

Danielle Dreilinger