Special elections to fill three legislative vacancies are scheduled for Feb. 28, but the identities of the successors to Eric Coleman of Bloomfield and Rob Kane of Watertown in the Senate and Stephen Dargan of West Haven in the House probably will be known by Jan. 23.
That is the deadline for party nominating conventions, which tend to be the final word in special elections in districts dominated by one party. No primaries are possible in special elections, leaving petitioning as the only other way to get on the ballot.
Coleman and Kane resigned simultaneously from the evenly divided Senate before the opening of the 2017 session to avoid a bar on legislators accepting a job elsewhere in state government once their terms begin. Dargan resigned the day before.
Coleman is seeking appointment to the bench, while Kane is the Republicans’ choice for state auditor. Dargan is being named to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Whatever happens on Feb. 28, the Senate is expected to stay evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats. Kane’s district is solidly Republican; Coleman’s, solidly Democratic. Democrats have an advantage in Dargan’s district, but the GOP hopes to make it a contest.
Rep. Eric C. Berthel, R-Watertown, is seeking Kane’s seat. Rep. Douglas McCrory, D-Hartford, and Joseph M. Suggs Jr. of Bloomfield, are competing for the Democratic nomination for Coleman’s.
Suggs has experience filling vacancies: He was appointed as the state treasurer on March 3, 1993, completing the final 22 months of Francisco L. Borges’ second term after Borges resigned.
The 2nd Senate District covers the North End of Hartford and most of Bloomfield and Windsor. The 32nd Senate District consists of Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Oxford, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington, Watertown and Woodbury, plus portions of Middlebury and Seymour.
The 115th House District covers a portion of West Haven.