June 2, 2020

Essex Republican Neil Nichols Forms 2012 Campaign Exploratory Committee

Mr. Neil Nichols

Essex Republican Neil Nichols has formed a 2012 campaign exploratory committee, signaling his plans to run again for a legislative seat in the November 6 state election.

Nichols Monday declined to confirm which area legislative seat he would be campaigning for this year, either the 33rd Senate District seat held by ten-term Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook, or the 36th House District held for the past year by Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller, a former Essex first selectman. Nichols said he would probably make a formal announcement of his 2012 campaign plans by the end of April.

But Nichols choice for the treasurer of his exploratory committee, East Haddam Republican Paul Maxwell, would seem to indicate he has set his sights on a rematch with Daily in the 12-town senate district. East Haddam is in the 33rd District, where Nichols challenged Daily in 2010 and lost on a vote of 21,069 to 17,851. Nichols carried Haddam in 2010, with Daily winning in all of the other district towns.

A retired airline pilot who currently serves on the Essex Planning Commission, Nichols ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for the 36th House District seat, losing to former Democratic State Rep. James Spallone of Essex. Nichols also represents the 33rd Senate District on the Republican State Central Committee.

Daily, a former Westbrook first selectwoman, has already signaled her plans to seek a record 12th term in the 33rd District this year, forming a 2012 campaign committee late last year.

Miller, who served as Essex first selectman from 2003 to last November, is expected to seek election to a full term in the 36th District this year, but as of Monday had not registered a 2012 campaign committee with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Miller defeated Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, the former television news anchorwoman, in a special election held last February. Spallone, who was re-elected in 2010, had resigned the seat to take a job as deputy secretary of the state.

The 36th House District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam. Democrats and Republicans will pick 2012 legislative candidates at district nominating conventions in May.