Competition for state legislative seats reaches 12-year high.

There’s more competition for state legislative seats than in any election year since 1998, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced today.

Connecticut’s chief elections official reported that 54 of the 187 races for state House and Senate, or nearly 29 percent, lack a Democratic or a Republican candidate. That’s down from the 60 races that lacked major party competition two years ago.

It’s also the lowest ratio since 1998, when 26.7 percent lacked a major party candidate.

“This decline in uncontested General Assembly races means more Connecticut citizens are interested in the electoral process and running for office,” Bysiewicz said today. “Although some legislative districts still lack competition, I am very encouraged by these numbers and I am proud of those Connecticut citizens who have decided to get involved in the political process.”

Six of the 36 Senate districts, or 16.7 percent, lack major party competition. Among House contests, 48 of the 151 races, or 31.8 percent, lack either a Democrat or a Republican.

This year marks the second state election cycle under the Citizens’ Election Program, which allows candidates for state office to obtain publicly funded grants to finance their campaigns, provided they first raise a threshold amount of private money in small amounts from individual donors.