Elections Government Politics

5th District State Senate Nominating Conventions to be Held at West Hartford Town Hall [Updated]

West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Republican and Democratic delegates will meet this week and each party will nominate a candidate to run in a special election for the 5th District State Senate seat vacated by Beth Bye. [Updated, Jan. 15.]

By Ronni Newton

Republicans and Democrats will convene this week, and each party will nominate a candidate to run in the special election to fill the 5th District State Senate seat vacated by Beth Bye on Jan. 9.

On Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont issued a proclamation announcing that the special election for the 5th District of the State Senate, which includes all of West Hartford and Burlington, as well as parts of Farmington and Bloomfield, will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Bye resigned her seat on Jan. 9, before legislators took the oath of office to begin the current session. On Jan. 2,[now] Gov. Ned Lamont announced that Bye had been appointed to lead the Office of Early Childhood.

West Hartford Republican Town Committee Chair Dennis Swanton said that Republican delegates will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m., in Room 217 of West Hartford Town Hall. 

Swanton said that Bill Wadsworth is currently the only declared candidate for the seat, but there are two other possible candidates.

Wadsworth is an 11th-generation Farmington resident and former state representative. He is currently a member of the Land Acquisition Committee and a commissioner of Economic Development in Farmington, and has previously served on the Farmington Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Planning and Zoning Commission.

Democratic party delegates will meet on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in the West Hartford Town Hall Auditorium, West Hartford Democratic Town Committee Chair Jonathan Slifka said.

State Rep. Derek Slap of West Hartford, who represents the 19th State House District, declared his interest in the State Senate seat on Jan. 2.

West Hartford Deputy Mayor Beth Kerrigan has also officially declared her intent to pursue the seat. 

Michael Daly, chairman of the Farmington Town Committee, announced his bid for the seat, but on Tuesday released a statement that he was withdrawing his name from consideration and would instead support Slap. “I am confident Derek will make a fine Senator and will represent the entire district with distinction,” Daly said in his announcement on Tuesday.

The same 67 Democratic delegates who nominated Bye in 2018 will nominate her replacement. Forty-five of those delegates are from West Hartford, 13 are from Farmington, six from Burlington, and three are from Bloomfield.

Any other party that did not have a line on the ballot and/or receive at least one percent of the vote in the November 2018 election can nominate a candidate but needs to obtain the signatures of 1 percent of the votes cast in that election. According to Gabe Rosenberg, communications director for Secretary of State Denise Merrill, 472 signatures are needed.

The Working Families Party has announced plans to meet on Friday, Jan. 18, at 10 a.m., at 30 Arbor St. in Hartford “to endorse candidates for the February 26, 2019 Special Elections in the 3rd, 5th, and 6th Senate Districts, and the 39th and 99th Assembly Districts.”

The Working Families Party did not have a line in the 5th Senate District election in November 2018, and if they do choose a candidate the 472 signatures will be required, West Hartford Town Clerk Essie Labrot said. She said that signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office by Jan. 22.

A spokesperson for the Working Families Party did not have information available about whether or not a candidate will be nominated in the 5th State Senate District.

Unionville resident Jeff Przech has indicated his intent to run for the seat as a Libertarian.

According to Connecticut General Statutes, party-endorsed choices are not subject to a primary in a special election.

Absentee ballot applications for the special election are available online on the Town of West Hartford website, or can be picked up in the Town Clerk’s Office. Ballots will be mailed out beginning Jan. 25, Labrot said, or can be picked up in person beginning Jan. 25.

“If you will be out of town or not able to make it to the polls on Election day due to illness, disability, military service, election duties or religious reasons, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot,” Labrot said in an email. Voters should be aware that each application for an absentee ballot must include the applicant’s original signature, and parents cannot sign for their children, nor can spouses sign for each other.

The Town Clerk’s office is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., and Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-noon.

For further information on registering to vote, please call the Registrar of Voter’s office at 860-561-7451, and for absentee ballot information, call the Town Clerk’s office at 860-561- 7430.

The 5th District encompasses the entire town, and all registered voters, from any party, are eligible to vote in the special election. All nine of the town’s polling places will be open from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. on Feb. 26.

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