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Former West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka Endorses Derek Slap

Scott Slifka. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

State Rep. Derek Slap officially declared his intent to seek the 5th District State Senate seat being vacated by Beth Bye.

By Ronni Newton

Scott Slifka, who served as West Hartford mayor from 2004-2016, joined current Mayor Shari Cantor in declaring strong support for Derek Slap as the successor to Beth Bye in the State Senate’s 5th District.

Derek Slap. Submitted photo (we-ha.com file photo)

“In these uncertain times, we need leaders who are committed to protecting West Hartford’s schools, taxpayers, and great quality of life – and who can build consensus to achieve these goals,” Slifka said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“I was blessed to serve as your mayor for 12 years and I want to ensure that the progress we achieved continues. That cannot happen without a strong and visionary partner in the Senate. I’ve known Derek for more than a decade. He is a seasoned leader and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent advocate for our community. Derek has my full support,” Slifka said.

Cantor announced early Monday that is endorsing Slap for the seat, noting that Slap, 45, who was elected to his second term in the State House in November, will be able to step into a leadership role and represent the town at a high level on day one.

“He is a coalition builder and a leader who has fought every day for progressive values such as pay equity, workers’ rights, accountability for the MDC, job creation, and a stronger Connecticut economy that works for everyone. I enthusiastically endorse Derek Slap for State Senate,” Cantor said in her endorsement.

Slap declared his interest in the seat on Jan. 2, the same day that the announcement of Bye’s appointment by Gov.-elect Ned Lamont to lead the Office of Early Childhood was made. Bye has been a state senator since 2010, and prior to that was a member of the State House.

West Hartford Deputy Mayor Beth Kerrigan has also officially declared her intent to pursue the seat, and West Hartford attorney Janée Woods-Weber has also indicated interest. 

A special election will be held to fill the seat, with the date to be set by Lamont within 10 days of the resignation of the existing office-holder, Gabe Rosenberg, Communications Director for Secretary of State Denise Merrill, said Monday.

Rosenberg said that Bye will need to officially sign a letter of resignation before the elected members of the State Senate take the oath of office on Wednesday, Jan. 9. That will start the process.

The special election will be 46 days after it is called by the governor. That traditionally happens on a Friday, Rosenberg said, so that the special election will take place on a Tuesday. He anticipates that Lamont will call the special election either this week or on Jan. 18, and the special election will then be either Feb. 26 or March 5.

The same 67 Democratic delegates who nominated Bye in 2018 will reconvene to nominate her replacement. The district includes Farmington, Burlington, and a portion of Bloomfield, but 45 of the delegates are from West Hartford.

The nominating convention has not yet been scheduled, but according to Rosenberg it “can take place any time after the resignation, but not later than the 36th day before the special election.”

There have not yet been any declared Republican candidates. Mark Merritt, who ran against Bye in 2016, initially expressed some interest in the seat but in a statement Sunday night said he has decided not to pursue it.

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