MERIDEN — Days after securing the Democratic nomination in the 13th Senate District, Mary Daugherty Abrams said she wanted to run against Republican incumbent Len Suzio because he “doesn’t reflect the values of this community.’
“I think he has
a very different vision for what our community is about,” Abrams said. “I think his agenda is a more aggressive agenda and similar to what the national Republicans have and I don't think that reflects what this community is about.”
Abrams, running for her first public office, handily defeated 24-year-old Fairfield transplant Alex Tiktinsky in a primary Tuesday by garnering 73 percent of the votes.
Suzio said he wasn’t able to comment on Abrams as a candidate because she has no voting record and “hasn’t been any kind of a high-profile person.”
“She has no public record for me to comment on, so there's not much for me to say,” he said. “I’m going to learn a lot more about her in the next few months.”
Abrams is a retired educator and the wife of former state lawmaker James Abrams, now a Superior Court judge. In 2000, Suzio ran against James Abrams in the 83rd House District, which covered parts of Meriden and Wallingford at the time. Suzio lost to Abrams by about 2,400 votes.
Mary Abrams disagrees with Suzio’s stance on women’s reproductive rights. Last year, Suzio supported a bill that would require parental notification for minors seeking abortions.
Suzio said during the campaign he will focus on the state’s projected $4.7 million budget deficit, opposing highway tolls and continuing to criticize the state’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program which allows for early release of convicted criminals.
Suzio won election in 2016 by defeating Democratic incumbent Dante Bartolomeo by less than 1,000 votes, despite the fact the district has a higher number of registered Democrats than Republicans. Suzio attributed his success to his work ethic and the knowledge he demonstrates on important issues.
The 13th Senate District covers all of Meriden, along with parts of Middletown, Cheshire and Middlefield.
Abrams said she wasn’t involved with Bartolomeo’s 2016 campaign, so she can’t comment on lessons learned.
“I think we’re looking at this as a new, fresh campaign,” she said.
Both parties view winning the 13th Senate District as important to gaining control of a split Senate. The district has gone back and forth between Republican and Democrat over the past decade, with most races won by razor-thin margins.
Abrams is encouraged by her overwhelming primary victory, but adds that she got into the race to defeat Suzio, not Tiktinsky.
“I think winning by over 70 percent is an excellent start and it shows that Democratic voters in this district are paying attention and they really want a change and willing to come out and vote for that,” Abrams said.
Having to campaign in the primary, Abrams said, was a blessing because it gave her a chance to get her message out earlier in the campaign.
“I’ve already made a lot of contact with people and people have at least some idea of who I am and what I stand for and I think that will be a huge benefit going into the fall,” Abrams said. “I’m not saying I wouldn’t have worked at all during summer but that” made me work more than I would have.
Suzio said he wasn’t surprised by Abrams’ large win and said it would have been a “huge upset” if she lost to Tiktinsky, who only moved to the district this year and petitioned to force a primary after not receiving the party endorsement.