Governor Dan Malloy today announced that special elections to fill the vacancies of two legislative seats in the city will take place February 24. So the process has now officially started to fill the State Senate seat of Andres Ayala, the new commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the State House seat of Auden Grogins, who’s been nominated for a state judgeship.
Under state law, the governor must issue a writ for a special election within 10 days of a vacancy in the General Assembly and a special election must take place 46 days after it is issued.
Democrat and Republican town chairs will now set a date for an endorsement of respective candidates. Challengers may petition onto the ballot by securing signatures from one percent of total votes cast for those seats in the districts from the last general election. No primaries in this process. It’s one wide-open special election.
Candidates may also participate in Connecticut’s system of publicly financed races. Under the program candidates must raise citizen donations between $5 to $100 to trigger a larger public grant. For State Senate roughly $11,000 from 225 donors in Bridgeport and Stratford combined to secure an approximate $70,000 grant. Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District covers about two-thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford.
For Connecticut’s 129th State House District candidates must raise approximately $3,750 in small donations from 113 Bridgeport residents for a grant of roughly $21,000. The district covers Black Rock, the West Side and portions of the North End and West End. The program factors in cost of living adjustments so the grant thresholds may be increased by the State Election Enforcement Commission.
Within the next few days candidates will be making formal declarations and forming candidate committees. Former Democratic City Councilman Steve Stafstrom and Republican City Councilman Enrique Torres say they will run for State House. Others may jump in.
Ed Gomes, who was defeated by Ayala in an August 2012 primary, says he will seek his old State Senate seat. Others will join him.
Special election calendar, according to the Connecticut Secretary of the State:
Final date for nomination by political parties, January 16.
Final date for submission to Town Clerk by circulator of nominating petitions (for nominating petition candidates, January 16. The Town Clerk or assistant town clerk must be in office between 1 and 4 p.m. on January 16 to accept petition pages.
Final date for Town Clerk to file nominating petition pages with office of the Secretary of the State, January 20.
Absentee ballot become available January 23.
Final date for write-in candidates to register with Secretary of the State, February 10.
Election Day hours, February 24, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.