Locals battle in primary, seeking support for higher office

Rep. Stephanie Thomas of Norwalk won the party endorsement for secretary of the state at the Democratic convention in Hartford on May 7, 2022. She’s being challenged by Maritza Bond of New Haven. (Joe Amon, Connecticut Public)

The 2022 Election is Nov. 8. A primary is being held Tuesday, Aug. 8.

NORWALK, Conn. — A State primary Tuesday will feature three local names, experienced politicians seeking state-wide offices.

  • Stephanie Thomas, who is in her first term as District 143 State Representative, won the Democratic endorsement for Secretary of State but is being challenged by Maritza Bond of New Haven.
  • Former Darien first selectman Jayme Stevenson easily won the Republican endorsement for Fourth Congressional District but is being challenged by Michael Goldstein of Greenwich.
  • State Rep. Terrie Wood (R-141) fell short in a bid for the Republican Secretary of State endorsement but is challenging Dominic Rapini of Branford.

Democrats also have a choice of treasurer candidates, Dita Bhargava, Karen Dubois-Walton, and Erick Russell.

Republicans are voting on an opponent for U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Themis Klarides, former Connecticut House GOP leader, won the endorsement but is being challenged by Leora Levy and Peter Lumaj.



State Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D-143). (Ilir Bajraktari)

Thomas has pounded the pavement for months seeking the Democratic endorsement for Secretary of State, in addition to visiting the far corners of the state via Zoom.

She reportedly wasn’t favored to win the Democratic convention vote. After three rounds of voting, she defeated an accomplished list of candidates including Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown, Rep. Hilda Santiago of Meriden, Rep. Joshua Elliott of Hamden and Bond, New Haven’s Health Director.

Democrats say anything can happen Tuesday as a primary held in August turns on who is motivated to come out to vote. It could come down to a Norwalk vs New Haven dynamic, but Thomas supporters say her hard work in contacting people across the state might make the difference.

Both candidates qualified for a $484,125 grant from the Citizens Election Program

(CEP).  Thomas raised the necessary funds to qualify for the grant from more than 1000 individual contributions from over 115 towns across Connecticut, according to her campaign. Bond’s campaign said she submitted the required documents first but, according to the New Haven Independent, Bond’s paperwork inspired extra scrutiny before she qualified.

As of July 26, the Thomas campaign had spent more than $195,000 while the Bond campaign had spent nearly $350,000, according to online documents.

Some of that went to an ad the Thomas campaign said ended with a “highly misleading graphic that suggests {Bond}, not Thomas, was endorsed by the Connecticut Democrats.”

“Our democracy and rights are under assault, facing the greatest threat in any of our lifetimes and needing leaders to work together to protect it. While Stephanie Thomas is out talking to voters every day about her plans to protect voting rights, increase civic engagement and improve the state’s business records, her opponent’s only plan is to mislead voters and spread mistruths,” Kay Anderson, Campaign Coordinator for Stephanie Thomas for Secretary of the State, said in a news release.

Last week, the Thomas campaign announced that she’d been endorsed by 128 state, legislative, municipal and Democratic leaders and town committees as “the best candidate to fight for our democracy.”

“Stephanie has a clear, deep understanding of the issues and will defend our elections and voters every day, in Connecticut and at the national level,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in the release. “This job is not for the faint of heart, and I am confident that Stephanie will be ready on day one.”

The endorsements come from:

Constitutional Officers

Comptroller Natalie Braswell

Denise Merrill, former Secretary of the State

Joe Suggs, former State Treasurer

House Of Representatives 

Majority Leader Jason Rojas (9)

Rep Raghib Allie-Brennan (2)

Rep. Aimee Berger-Girvalo (111)

Rep. Jeff Currey (11)

Rep. Mike D’Agostino (91)

Rep. Lucy Dathan (142)

Rep Hubert Delany (144)

Rep. Mike Demicco (21)

Rep. Josh Elliott (88)

Rep. Tammy Exum (19)

Rep. Kate Farrar (20)

Rep. Jaime Foster (57)

Rep. Dan Fox (148)

Rep. Jane Garibay (60)

Rep. Bobby Gibson (15)

Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (18)

Rep. Anne Hughes (135)

Rep. Eleni Kavros DeGraw (17)

Rep. Jennifer Leeper (132)

Rep Cristin McCarthy Vahey (133)

Rep. Amy Morrin Bello (28)

Rep. Mary Mushinsky (85)

Rep. Anthony Nolan (39)

Rep. Corey Paris (145)

Rep. John Michael Parker (101)

Rep. Chris Perone (137)

Rep. Robyn Porter (94)

Rep. Michael D. Quinn (82)

Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (136)

Rep. Travis Simms (140)

Rep. Brian Smith (48)

Rep. Gary Turco (27)

Rep. Mary Welander (114)

Rep. Kerry Wood (29)


Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (25)

Sen. Saud Anwar (3)

Sen. Jorge Cabrera (17)

Sen. Christine Cohen (12)

Sen. Mae Flexer (29)

Sen. Will Haskell (26)

Sen. Pat Billie Miller (27)

Sen. Marilyn Moore (22)

Sen. Derek Slap (5)

Municipal Officials 

Bloomfield Mayor Danielle Wong

Bloomfield Kenneth McClary, Town Council

Bridgeport City Council President Aidee Nieves

Derby Marc Garofalo, Town Clerk

East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh

Ellington Lois Timms-Ferrara, Registrar of Voters

East Lyme Jason Deeble, Planning Commission

Guilford Matt Hoey, First Selectman

Guilford Veronica Wallace, Board of Finance, State Central Committee

Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett

Hamden Karimah Mickens-Webber, Town Clerk

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin

Hartford City Council President Maly Rosado

Hebron Tiffany Thiele, Selectwoman

Milford Cindy Wolfe Boynton, Board of Education

New London Mayor Mike Passero

New London Martha Marx, City Council

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling

Norwalk Josh Goldstein, Common Council

Norwalk Dominique Johnson, Common Council

Norwalk Donna King, former City Clerk

Norwalk Alex Knopp, former mayor, former state representative and chair of GAE

Plainville Rebecca Martinez, Board of Education

Stamford Lyda Ruijter, City & Town Clerk

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor

West Hartford Carol Anderson Blanks, Town Council

West Hartford Adrienne Billings-Smith, Town Council, State Party Vice-Chair

West Hartford Leon Davidoff, Town Council

West Hartford, Ben Wenograd, Town Council

West Hartford, Liam Sweeney, Town Council

West Hartford Essie Labrot, Town Clerk

Westport Candice Savin, Selectwoman

Westport Sal Liccione, RTM

Wilton Peggy Reeves, former Registrar of Voters, State Rep. & state Election Director

Windsor Mayor Don Trinks

Democratic Leaders 

Avon Eliza Massaro, DTC Chair

Brooklyn Ailla Wasstrom-Evans, 2020 Emerge Classmate

Colchester Megan Kehoegreen, State Central Committee

Darien Theresa Voight, DTC Chair

Enfield Ian Graves, DTC member

Fairfield Steve Sheinberg, DTC Chair

Goshen Audrey Blondin, Secretary, State Central Committee

Greenwich Joe Angland, DTC Chair

Hamden Sean Grace, DTC Chair

Hartford Arunan Arulampalam, DTC member, former state Treasurer candidate

Hebron Town Committee

Killingworth Annie Stirna, DTC Chair

Madison Joan Walker, DTC Chair

Milford Nija Phelps, DTC Vice Chair

Monroe Patricia Paniccia, DTC Chair

New Canaan Shiva Sarram, Activist

New Canaan Christina Fagerstal, DTC Chair

New Haven Lisa Bassani, Ward 18 DTC Co-Chair

New Haven Janice Underwood, Ward 25 DTC Co-Chair

New Milford Hilary Ram, DTC Chair, New Milford

Norwalk Eloisa Melendez, DTC Chair

Norwalk JJ Byron, DTC Vice Chair

Norwalk Tina Duryea, political activist

Old Lyme Mary Jo Nosal, DTC Chair

Oxford Niki Dykstra, DTC Chair

Redding Diana Carlino, DTC Chair

Rocky Hill Tejal Vallam, DTC Chair

Ridgefield Carina Drake, DTC Chair

Sharon Jill Drew, DTC Chair

Simsbury Town Committee

Southbury Michael Carrington, DTC member

Stamford Robin Druckman, Democratic City Committee Chair

Trumbull Tom Kelly, DTC Chair

Wallingford Alida Cella, DTC Chair

Watertown Jeff Desmarais, DTC Chair

West Hartford John Bailey, DTC Chair

West Hartford Tiffani McGinnis, DTC Vice Chair

West Hartford Marsha Adell, Chair, District 6 

West Hartford Rosemarie Tate, State Central Committee

Westport Town Committee

Westport Mark Friedman, DTC Chair

Westport Melissa Katz Kane, former Selectwoman, State Central Committee

Weston Gayle Weinstein, DTC Chair

Wilton Town Committee

Wilton John Kalamarides, 2020 Presidential Elector

Winchester Bill Hudock, DTC Chair

Winchester Nick Teeling, State Central Committee


Higher Heights for America and Elect Black Women Political Action Committees, both dedicated to electing Black women to federal, state and municipal offices, have also endorsed Thomas, according to the campaign.

Bond has attracted labor support.

  • Bond has been endorsed by Connecticut Employees Union Independent, said to have 7,000 active and retired members of CEUI SEIU Local 511.
  • Delegates to the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s Fourteenth Biennial Political Convention in June endorsed Bond.
  • UAW Region 9A Connecticut endorsed Bond. UAW is the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America.


Maritza Bond seeking the endorsement for secretary of the state at the Democratic convention in Hartford on May 7, 2022. (Andrew Brown, CTMirror.org)

Labor unions are typically well organized in getting out the vote.

“Bond is the only candidate in the Secretary of the State’s race with the executive experience to lead the office from day one, protect our right to vote and work with local officials to make it easier to cast ballots in Connecticut. And she is the only candidate who knows first-hand what the office can do to help our small business economy grow and create good-paying jobs, pointing out that 75% of all registered business entities in Connecticut have less than 10 employees, so small business is BIG business in Connecticut,” her campaign states.



Jayme Stevenson. (Contributed)

Only one Connecticut Congressional district has inspired a primary contest. Though Michael Goldstein didn’t win enough votes at the Republican convention to qualify for a primary, he subsequently collected about 2,000 signatures to get onto the ballot and challenge Jayme Stevenson, former Darien First Selectman.

The winner will challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich), who is seeking a seventh two-year term.

Michael Goldstein, as shown on his website. (Courtesy photo)

“I have been a Connecticut Resident for Over 30 Years.  I have moved up to Greenwich Connecticut in 1987 to escape taxes and mismanagement of government. I have watched Connecticut become as bad if not worse than New York and many of these wrongs have been while Jim Himes has been in office,” Goldstein states on his website. “…I am running for Congress as I am tired of seeing the Democrats of this Constitution State not abiding by the constitution and will do everything I can to prevent the state from becoming the next Detroit.”

Stevenson won 90% of the convention votes, according to her campaign.

“Jayme Stevenson is an experienced servant leader. For more than ten years as Darien’s First Selectman, Chairman of WestCOG, Southwest Region MPO, CIRMA and First Vice President of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, she advocated for citizens and businesses throughout Connecticut,” her website states. “Working collaboratively with her bipartisan peers, Jayme helped set policy standards and sought funding approvals for transportation infrastructure and regional service delivery while prioritizing municipal governance and local decision making.”

The Stevenson campaign has released statements concerning Himes, while not mentioning Goldstein.

After the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its 2nd Quarter 2022 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures last week, Stevenson called it “clear evidence that the United States is suffering from an economic recession.”

The release quotes her as saying:

“Families and businesses are hurting like never before as they try to recover from the pandemic. Historically high inflation, skyrocketing energy prices, rising tax rates and runaway government spending are doubling down on the financial pain. Meanwhile, just last night Himes and his allies announced even more tax increases on Americans when we can least afford it.

“Himes has failed for 13 years to show leadership on our core pocketbook issues. Instead, he chose the easy path of spending more, borrowing more, and blaming Russia for this economic disaster that could have been prevented. It’s time for a common sense, pragmatic approach to federal spending and economic policy that puts the interests of Connecticut residents and businesses over party politics and Jim Himes’ empty promises.”




State Rep. Terrie Wood (R-141). (Courtesy photo)

Both Rapini, the endorsed Republican candidate for secretary of state, and Wood qualified for a $484,125 grant from the Citizens Election Program (CEP).

As of July 26, the Wood campaign had spent $84,603.22. The Rapini campaign had spent $405,301.81.

Rapini is a lifelong resident of New Haven County, where he lives with his wife, their three grown children and their adopted family, according to his website. “Now in his 25th year in Apple, Inc.’s Consumer Electronics Division, Dominic has enjoyed a successful career and has twice been named Salesperson of the Year.”

He ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 and was “dismayed” by election irregularities, it states.

Dominic Rapini, as shown on his website. (Courtesy photo)

“Dominic Rapini is an optimist, a principled conservative and a businessman with 35 years of technology experience. Since 2019, he has immersed himself in fighting for election integrity, exposing weaknesses in Connecticut election systems and fighting for elections that we can trust and be proud of,” the website states.

Wood has been endorsed by former Republican Secretary of the State Pauline Kezer, according to the campaign’s website.

Wood is currently serving her 7th term in the Connecticut House of Representatives where she has shown leadership and an ability to work in a bipartisan way to get things done,” the campaign states. “Secretary of the State is the third highest position in state government, and Terrie Wood is ready to step into this responsibility.”

Wood has a “100 Day Plan to Secure Connecticut.” It includes working with National Secretaries of the State “to identify the best voter database system for our town clerks and registrars” and meeting with “both the Registrar of Voters Association of Connecticut and the Connecticut Town Clerks Association to ensure proper compliance and training for secure elections.”
It would be an “administration run like a business.”

“The Secretary of the State’s Office is meant to serve the people and not the government,” the plan states. “Terrie Wood’s experience as a legislator and successful business owner make her the ideal executive to serve Connecticut’s businesses and voters.”
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