AREAWIDE– Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook announced Tuesday that she will not seek a new term in the Nov. 6 election, throwing open the race in the 12-town district Daily has represented for ten terms.
Daily’s decision to retire, which comes after she had formed a 2012 candidate committee earlier this year, was confirmed only one week before the Democrats district nominating convention on Monday in Essex. A former first selectwoman of Westbrook, Daily has represented the large district since 1992, defeating a series of Republican challengers by wide margins in each legislative election.
The district currently includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook. During portions of Daily’s tenure, Durham, Killingworth and Marlborough were also in the district.
Lon Seidman, an Essex resident who serves as a Democratic State Central Committee representative for the 33rd District, said more than one prospective candidate is likely at the nominating convention where he is expected to serve as convention chairman. “We want to make sure it’s a fair and open process,” he said. Seidman, who serves on the Essex Board of Education, said he would not be a candidate for the senate seat.
One likely candidate is 36th District State Representative Phil Miller of Essex. A former first selectman of Essex, Miller won the seat representing Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam, in a February 2011 special election. A longer serving legislator in the district is State Representative Linda Orange of Colchester, who has represented Colchester and abutting towns, including East Haddam, since 1997.
District Republicans have set up a likely Aug. 14 primary contest for the party nomination after Neil Nichols of Essex, the unsuccessful GOP challenger to Daily in 2010, edged 23-year-old newcomer Art Linares of Westbrook on a 24-22 delegate vote at the party nominating convention Monday. Nichols Tuesday wished Daily well, recalling that he and Daily had each run positive campaigns in their 2010 contest that Daily won by 3,818 votes. “I respected her enough that I concentrated on the issues,” Nichols said.
There will also be a Green Party candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot. Melissa Schlag of Haddam, an opponent of the controversial but now cancelled Connecticut River land swap that Daily supported last year. Schlag has the Green Party ballot line and is currently collecting petition signatures in an effort to qualify for public financing for her third party campaign.
See related Press Release: Sen. Daily to Retire from Legislature upon Completion of Current Term