Special elections were scheduled today for Tuesday, Feb. 22 to fill vacancies left by the resignations of nine Democratic legislators, three in the Senate and six in the House.

Six legislators resigned to take positions in the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, while two others quit to take other government jobs. The ninth, Sen. Thomas P. Gaffey of Meriden, resigned after pleading guilty to larceny charges in connection with double-billing for legislative travel.

“We have a sea change in state government with a significant number of state lawmakers leaving the legislative branch to serve the Malloy administration,” said Denise Merrill, the secretary of the state. “The timetable for these special elections is very compressed: major parties now have until January 18th to endorse candidates for these State Senate and House seats.

“Petitioning candidates must also turn in nominating petitions to town clerks offices or the Secretary of the State’s office by that same day. I urge eligible voters in these districts to register as soon as possible so you can cast a ballot and choose someone to represent you in Hartford. The deadline to register is Monday February 21st, the day before the special elections.”

Andrew J. McDonald of Stamford, Donald J. DeFronzo of New Britain and Gaffey are the senators who declined to begin their new terms on Wednesday.

The House members vacating their seats are: Christopher Caruso of Bridgeport, Michael P. Lawlor of East Haven, Deb Heinrich of Madison, David McCluskey of West Hartford, John Geragosian of New Britain and James F. Spallone of Essex.

Spallone is Merrill’s new deputy. Geragosian is the Democratic state auditor. The rest joined the administration.

Democrats won 100 of 151 House and 23 of 36 Senate seats, but they opened the session Wednesday with 94 House and 20 Senate seats.

Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the following communities:

Senate district 6, covering Berlin, New Britain, and part of Farmington;

Senate district 13, covering Meriden, Middlefield, and parts of Cheshire and Middletown;

Senate district 27, covering parts of Darien and Stamford;

House district 20, covering part of West Hartford;

House district 25, covering part of New Britain;

House district 36, covering the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam;

House district 99, covering part of East Haven;

House district 101, covering the town of Madison and part of Guilford;

House district 126, covering part of Bridgeport.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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