State Rep. Stephanie Thomas

Rep. Stephanie Thomas, D-Norwalk, filed papers Tuesday that make her the first Democrat to declare a candidacy for Secretary of the State, a statewide office that will be open in 2022.

Thomas, a first-term lawmaker who advocated for early voting and no-excuse absentee ballots as vice chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, scheduled a formal announcement Wednesday morning in Norwalk.

She joins a field of two Republicans with candidate committees, Dominic A. Rapini and Brock L. Weber, and a growing list of Democrats with exploratory committees.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, is not seeking a fourth term.

The Democratic explorers for the office include three other lawmakers, Rep. Hilda Santiago of Meriden, Rep. Josh Elliott of Hamden, Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown.

Others are Rob Simmelkjaer of Westport, a former television executive who is chair of the Connecticut Lottery, and Maritza Bond, the director of public health for the city of New Haven.

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.