Election Day is more than nine months away, but some local legislative races are already shaping up.
Early campaign filings show there is at least a two-candidate race in the 103rd district, which covers parts of Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington.
Incumbent Democratic State Rep. Liz Linehan is seeking a third term. At least one challenger — Republican Pam Salamone, also a Cheshire resident — has also emerged.
Earlier this week, Linehan announced that in less than two weeks her campaign had reached the fundraising threshold to qualify for financing through the state's Citizens Election Program.
According to the State Elections Enforcement Commission's 2018 CEP guide, the threshold calls for raising at least $5,100 from no fewer than 150 residents of the municipalities in the candidate’s district.
Linehan said her campaign had raised around $6,300 from 175 constituents. She is not accepting any more campaign donations.
“I'm so grateful to all my supporters,” Linehan said. “... my priorities will be what they've always have been – to represent the people of my district and to do whatever I can for the middle class.”
Salamone, a first-time candidate, is a longtime participant in local GOP campaigns. She could not be reached for comment.
Guy Darter, who chairs the Cheshire Republican Town Committee, described Salamone as a worthy opponent.
“She knows the issues inside and out,” he said. “She's a very hard campaigner. Also a very caring person.”
Meanwhile, incumbent Republican State Rep. Craig Fishbein, who represents the neighboring 90th district covering parts of Cheshire and Wallingford, is running for a third term.
Fishbein's campaign is just getting started on fundraising. He said constituents have expressed “concern about the lack of stability of leadership in Hartford.”
Republican state Sen. Rob Sampson, who represents parts of Cheshire, Southington, Prospect, Wolcott and Waterbury, in the 16th district, is seeking a second term.
“I've been fighting to see a change in direction in public policy, to make our state a more attractive place to live, work and to retire,” Sampson said.
Sampson may have competition. Southington resident Jack Perry, a local business owner, has formed exploratory committees to determine whether to “make the leap” into a political campaign.
“Right now, all I am really trying to do is some meet and greets with the community to get a pulse on the issues,” Perry said. “Everybody complains that taxes are going up... We have to present other solutions, and not try to kick the can down the road.”