Awaiting decision from Santiago, local parties set to nominate state candidates

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MERIDEN — Local town committees will formally nominate candidates seeking their parties’ endorsements for state representative district and senate seats this week. 

In the mix are the 82nd, 83rd and 84th House District seats as well as the 13th Senate District. 

On the Democratic ticket, candidate committees have been formed for three out of four of those races. A candidate has not emerged for the 84th District as party leaders await a decision from incumbent Hilda Santiago on whether she will seek reelection to that seat or primary to run as a Democrat in the Secretary of the State race. 

According to a state election calendar, certificates for candidates — like Santiago — who receive at least 15% of the vote during their parties’ state conventions, thus qualifying them to primary in their respective races, must be filed within 14 days after that convention. State Democrats held their convention on Saturday, May 7. 

Santiago, reached by text on Monday, stated she had not decided whether to continue in the Secretary of the State race or to pursue reelection to her current seat. She and other legislative and community leaders had a meeting with Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday afternoon. 

It wasn’t immediately clear if the race for Secretary of the State had been a topic raised during that meeting. 

Monday, area Republicans were scheduled to gather at the Cheshire Senior Center to formally nominate Meriden resident Joseph Vollano in his bid for the 13th Senate District seat. 

Meriden Democrat Jan Hochadel won that party’s nod in the 13th district last week, but candidates from Middletown and Cheshire qualified for an Aug. 9 primary.

Hochadel received 31 delegate votes at the convention held at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden last Tuesday, while Anthony Mangiafico of the Middletown Common Council and principal of the East Hartford Adult Education & Continuing Education Program, garnered 13 votes and Michael Ecke of Cheshire received 10.

A convention to formally nominate Republican Lou Arata in his bid for the 83rd District seat is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Four Corners Pizza on Hanover Road in Meriden. 

Arata said positioning his campaign for the Republican nomination prior to the convention was “a huge bonus.”

Arata explained his campaign has been focused on “getting my message out and fundraising — that’s the most important thing.” 

On Wednesday, Republicans will hold a nominating convention to endorse candidates for the 82th and 84th district races. That convention will be held at 7 p.m., at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center on East Main Street.

Democrats will hold their convention at the same location at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. 

As of Monday, no Republicans had formed candidate committees in either the 82nd or 84th district races. Democrats, awaiting a decision from Santiago, do not have a candidate who has established a committee yet in the 84th.  

Meriden Republican Town Committee chairwoman Elain Cariati said party leaders are working on identifying candidates in those races. 

“Some people are interested,” Cariati said. It appeared likely that candidates would be named and nominated during the convention itself. 

Democratic State Rep. Michael D. Quinn is seeking reelection to a second term representing the 82nd District. 

Quinn said, “It will be interesting to see what happens” during the Republicans’ convention. 

“I can’t imagine that I won’t be challenged,” he said, adding, “my campaign goes forward, regardless of what occurs on the other side.”

Reporter Michael Gagne can be reached at


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