Stamford now looks to year's second special election
STAMFORD -- With the dust still settling from Tuesday's special election to fill the vacant District 27 state Senate seat, several candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring for the next race.
Democrat Carlo Leone beat Republican candidate Bob Kolenberg and Green Party contender Rolf Maurer on Tuesday to replace former state Sen. Andrew McDonald, forcing another special election for Leone's seat in the state House of Representatives. Leone, who has served in the General Assembly for eight years as state representative for District 148, was elected to a fifth term in November.
Three Stamford Democrats have announced their candidacies for the open seat, said Ellen Camhi, chairwoman of the Democratic City Committee. District 148 committee members will select one of the candidates within the next several weeks to run in the special election.
City Reps. Eileen Heaphy, D-8, and John Mallozzi, D-12, along with Stamford attorney Dan Fox, are the three Democrats in the running for the nomination. Heaphy has served on the Board of Representatives for five years; she is its deputy majority leader and chair of the Legislative and Rules Committee.
"I think I could be a good person on the issue of state employees," Heaphy said about what she would contribute to the district as state representative. "I think overall, it's good to have someone in that seat who can work with Gov. Malloy on all the issues. I'm also very interested in environmental issues and transportation, of course, because it's so important for this region."
Mallozzi said he would draw on his 26 years of experience serving on all three of the city's elected boards if elected to the General Assembly.
"As a leader on those boards, I've always tried to achieve something and bring change," Mallozzi said. "And I'd like to help at the state level, to continue to protect the safety net and at the same time prevent the taxes from getting too high."
Fox, who has never held elected office but serves on several boards and associations in the area, said he is eager to give back to the city he grew up in by serving as state representative.
"I think it's one of the most challenging and also exciting times to be involved in public service and serve on behalf of individuals here up in Hartford," Fox said. "The state of Connecticut is faced with some significant decisions, first and foremost is the budget ... and how the state should address its huge deficit."
The Republican Town Committee has not yet identified potential nominees for that special election, outgoing Chairman Chris Munger said Wednesday. Munger recently announced his resignation from the committee, which took effect Wednesday morning, to serve as a full-time consultant to Stamford Mayor Mike Pavia. The committee's vice chair, Tom Lombardo, will act as head of the party until the committee selects Munger's replacement.
The secretary of the state's office will establish the timeline for the District 148 election. The office must first certify Leone as the official winner of the District 27 race, which could happen as early as Friday, said spokesman Av Harris. Then Leone needs to resign from the General Assembly.
Once Leone notifies the secretary of the state of his resignation, the office will notify the governor that there is a vacancy in District 148, Harris said.
"The governor then has 10 days from the creation of the vacancy to issue a writ of special election to the city of Stamford that orders the special election," Harris said. "The special election then occurs 46 days after the writ is issued."
The upcoming race to replace Leone means there will be two special elections in Stamford in 2011, a rare occurrence. The last state special election the city had was in January 1988, when a race was held to fill District 148, Harris said. The year before, a special election was held to fill the 4th Congressional District, which includes Stamford, following the death of Republican Stewart McKinney, Harris said.
Final results from Tuesday's election in both Stamford and Darien put Leone over Kolenberg by 792 votes. The Republican candidate won the district's Darien voters, pulling in 480 votes to Leone's 223. Leone carried Stamford, however, winning 4,294 votes to Kolenberg's 3,245 votes. In total, Leone won 4,517 votes and Kolenberg 3,725 votes. Write-in candidate Maurer won 24 votes in Stamford and 1 vote in Darien.
The overall voter turnout for Tuesday's election for District 27 was 20 percent in Stamford and 17 percent in Darien.
Staff writer Kate King can be reached at email@example.com or at 203-964-2263.