Want to run? Number of uncontested races fewer than last year
“I am very encouraged to see so many candidates stepping up and running for office, especially in a year when there are numerous retirements from the Connecticut General Assembly,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “The decline in State Senate and State House races not contested by a major party means more Connecticut citizens are becoming involved in our elections. We would still like to see even less seats left unchallenged by a major party. It is probably not a coincidence that the sharp decline in uncontested General Assembly seats since 2008 has happened with the introduction of clean campaign financing of legislative races through the Citizen’s Election Program. It is clear that public campaign financing is having its intended effect, which is to motivate more of our citizens to take ownership of the political process. Connecticut must continue to be a national leader when it comes to clean election laws.”
In State Senate races, five of 36 (13.9%) contests lack a major party candidate, the lowest since 1998 when again just five of 36 races went unchallenged. In races for the State House, only 27 of the 151 district races (17.9%) are uncontested, the lowest percentage of unchallenged elections in that same time period.
The number of General Assembly races uncontested by a major party for 2012 has decreased significantly from those of the past several election cycles. The number of races in which a major party has not fielded a candidate for the State Senate has diminished considerably from 2006 when nine of 36 races (25%) went uncontested. In 2008, seven (19.4%) State Senate races were uncontested by Republicans or Democrats and in 2010 that number dropped to six (16.7%). The most dramatic decline in races uncontested by a major party, however, can be seen in elections for the State House of Representatives. In 2006, 62 races for house seats (41%) lacked a major party candidate, while in 2008, 53 races (35%) remained uncontested. In 2010 the number of uncontested races by a major party was still high at 48 (31.8%). This year, however, that percentage has been cut significantly to 27 (17.9%). In 2008, public campaign financing for Connecticut General Assembly races became available for the first time through the Citizen’s Election Program. That year some 250 of 343 General Assembly candidates, equivalent to 73% of those running, elected to use the clean elections program to finance their campaigns. In 2010, 252 of 362 General Assembly candidates, equivalent to approximately 70% of those running, elected to use the program. Thus, the vast majority of sitting legislators came to office free of special interest money.
Secretary Merrill is also reminding voters that statewide primaries for registered Democrats and Republicans are quickly approaching on August 14th. To register to vote by mail, voter registration cards must be received by the local Registrar of Voters by August 9th. The last day for in person registration at town offices is Monday, August 13that 12:00 p.m. Unaffiliated voters face those same deadlines if they wish to register with a major party and vote in the primary. Voters can go to www.sots.ct.gov to learn how to register to vote, find polling locations, and download absentee ballots and candidate lists.