As lawmakers shift their focus from the legislative session to the November elections, a race many expect to be among the state’s most contested is starting to take shape.
Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, filed his paperwork Wednesday to seek re-election for the 13th Senate District. Democrats, meanwhile, will convene Monday to decide whether to endorse Mary Daugherty Abrams or Alex Tiktinsky, both of Meriden.
Suzio defeated former Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, by less than 900 votes. Prior to that, Bartolomeo twice defeated Suzio by even smaller margins.
Suzio and Meriden Republican committee Chairman Guy Beeman couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Suzio, a banking consultant, has been among the legislature’s most visible opponents of highway tolls. He’s also been a lead critic of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, saying it hasn’t effectively reduced recidivism and allowed dangerous criminals out of prison early.
Voter registration in the district leans Democratic.
On the Democratic side, both Abrams and Tiktinsky will vie for the endorsement Monday. Abrams has been in the race since early March, while Tiktinsky announced Thursday that he will convert his exploratory committee into an official candidate committee.
Tiktinsky said he expects Abrams to secure the endorsement and that he’ll fall short of qualifying for the primary, meaning he’d have to petition his way onto the ballot.
“I expect to need to petition to get on the ballot, and that’s not something I’m worried about,” said Tiktinsky, adding he needs more than 900 signatures from registered Democrats to qualify for the August primary.
Abrams, meanwhile, said she’s been “energized” by the campaign so far, and that she welcomes a primary challenge as part of “the democratic process.”
“I’m focused on my campaign and look forward to a spirited race,” she said.
Abrams, 59, a former teacher and assistant principal, has had the early support from the Democratic town committees in Meriden, Cheshire, Middletown, and Middlefield. She is the wife of James Abrams, who represented the 83rd House District from 1994 to 2005, when he left office and became a Superior Court judge.
Tiktinsky, 24, moved to Meriden earlier this year as he explored a run for the district. The former Fairfield resident worked on Susan Bysiewicz’s exploratory committee for a 13th district run before she shifted to running for statewide office.