With Sen. Dan Champagne, R-Vernon, saying Friday he is not seeking reelection from the 35th District, at least four of the Republican minority’s 13 seats in the 36-seat Senate will be open and most likely in play this fall.
His announcement comes a day after Sen. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, said he will not run in the fall from the sprawling 14-town 30th District of northwestern Connecticut.
Republicans have held the 13-town east-of-the-river 35th District for 30 years. Tony Guglielmo unseated a Democrat in 1992 and was succeeded in January 2019 by Champagne, a retired police officer and the current mayor of Vernon.
Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, and Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, also are leaving the Senate after the current term. Only one Democrat, Sen. Will Haskell of Westport, has announced an intention not to run this fall.
Three of the four retiring Republicans were reelected last year with less than 52% of the vote: Champagne, 50.6%; Formica, 50.6%; and Witkos, 51.4%. Miner won with 53.4%.
Republicans won 18 of the 36 seats in 2016, though the tie-breaking ability of a Democratic presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, gave the Democrats nominal control. Democrats gained seats in 2018 and 2020.
The GOP caucus shrunk to 12 in 2020, though Republicans won a 13th seat in a special election last year after the resignation of Sen. Alex Kasser, D-Greenwich.