Democratic primary in 13th Senate district approaches

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MERIDEN — Voters casting absentee ballots in the upcoming Aug. 9 primary need to get ballot applications soon if they are relying on the mail. 

Connecticut does not have no-excuse absentee voting but lawmakers did loosen restrictions earlier this year to include caregivers and commuters. The last day to pick up or request an absentee ballot is Aug. 8. All ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on election day, according to Meriden City Clerk Denise Grandy.

State law allows voters to receive an absentee ballot if they cannot appear at their assigned polling place on election day because of active service in the military, absence from the town, sickness, religious tenets that forbid secular activity on the day of the election, duties as an election official at a polling place other than their own, or physical disability. To receive an absentee ballot complete and sign an application and return it to Town Clerk or apply online at

Democrats in the 13th Senate District, which covers all of Meriden and Middlefield, and parts of Middletown and Cheshire, have a choice between party-endorsed candidate Jan Hochadel of Meriden and Anthony Mangiafico of Middletown. State Sen. Mary Daugherty Abrams, a Democrat, announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection. The primary winner faces Meriden Republican Joseph Vollano, a local businessman and podcaster who has made previous runs for state and local offices.

Hochadel is the state chapter president of the American Federation of Teachers and a former vocational high school teacher. Supporters point to Hochadel’s experience working with state lawmakers and advocating for union members, students and healthcare workers. 

As AFT-CT President, Hochadel has worked closely with legislators, including serving on the negotiating team for the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition. 

“I know the process of how things happen in the Capitol, and I want to use that experience to hit the ground running to deliver results for families across the 13th district,” she said in a statement on her campaign website. “I know the issues, I talk to workers every day about their hardships and what the state could do to make their lives a little easier.”

Mangiafico, a member of the Middletown Common Council, was recently hired as Wallingford’s adult education director. He was named Outstanding Administrator of the Year for 2022 by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education.

A third Democrat candidate, Michael Ecke of Cheshire, has filed candidacy termination papers with the state Election Enforcement Commission.  

Hochadel received 31 delegate votes at the May 10 district nominating convention, while Mangiafico garnered 13 votes and Ecke won 10. Meriden has the most electors among the four towns in the district, and many electors voted for candidates within their own municipal borders. 

According to the most recent campaign filings from April to June 30, Hochadel raised $15, 127 to Mangiafico’s $5,201. Vollano reported total contributions of $8,895. 

Most of Mangiafico’s support comes from Middletown and Middlefield. He’s been going door to door, using phone banks, attending functions and using social media ads targeting voters in the district. 

Voters top concerns include gun safety, regulations, school safety, women’s reproductive rights, the environment and inflation, Mangiafico said.

“It’s hitting people particularly hard in Connecticut, because the state is already expensive,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the primary to see what the voters have to say. I’m working in a school building every day, working with students and teachers. It gives me a sense of what people are concerned about. I have three years on the Common Council in Middletown, and it will help me hit the ground running once I’m in the Senate.”

Hochadel has the support of statewide labor leaders and Democrat party leaders. She was endorsed by the Connecticut AFL-CIO Friday. 

Middlefield voters may want to check their district status after the State Redistricting Commission changed district lines.

Registered voters who live on the west side of Jackson Hill Road to the Meriden town line will remain in the 13th State Senate District.

Registered voters who live on the east side of Jackson Hill Road to the Middletown town line will now be in the 12th State Senate District.

Republican candidate Vollano could not be reached for comment.

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz


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