October 29, 2008
Green Party Fills Vacuum Left by Republican Withdrawals
STAMFORD, CT - Most of Stamford's Democratic delegation to the state legislature is up for re-election next Tuesday, but they will find themselves alone on the ballot. The Republican Party is not fielding candidates this year in the 27th State Senate race or in four out of six State Assembly races. However, local members of the Green Party have filed write-in candidacies for these seats, offering voters an alternative to the incumbents.
Officially recognized by the Secretary of the State's office, registered write-in candidates' names are posted in the polling places where they are running, and votes for these candidates are tabulated and reported in official election results.
Richard Duffee, 60, is running as a write-in candidate in Assembly District 144 against Jim Shapiro. He is also the Green Party candidate for Congress in the 4th District. Mr. Duffee reflected on the shift in party power: "We've seen the Republicans losing support nationally and locally, due in large measure to the disastrous and criminal policies of the Bush administration. Greens take the Constitution seriously."
David Bedell, 47, is a write-in candidate for two offices, in State Senate District 27 against Andrew McDonald and Assembly District 148 against Carlo Leone. Bedell, who is also the Green Party candidate for Registrar of Voters, explained, "We're using the new electronic voting machines for the first time in state elections. These Stamford races will be an important test of the system, to make sure that all votes, including write-in votes, are counted."
German Tedesco, 55, is running in Assembly District 146 against Gerald Fox III. "It is so important to have a free choice of candidates in every election," he said. "In my native country, Uruguay, there is always a choice of several parties. In fact, the last election was won by a coalition of minor parties." Mr. Tedesco studied law in Uruguay and has lived in Stamford since 2002. He has been a citizen since 2004.
Brent Yarnell, 18, is running in Assembly District 147 against William Tong. He will be voting for the first time this year and feels it would be a disappointment to go to the polls only to find he had no choice who to vote for. "Every politician deserves at least token opposition," he said. Both Tedesco and Yarnell have been active in the Duffee for Congress campaign.
While the Republicans are not challenging any of the incumbent Democrats, the Democrats in turn are not challenging the sole incumbent Republican, Livvy Floren, in Assembly District 149. The only contested races on the ballot will be for the two open seats being vacated by retiring members: Assembly District 145, which is being sought by Democrat Patricia Miller and Republican Fritz Blau, and State Senate District 36, which will see a three-way race among Republican Scott Frantz, Democrat Mark Diamond, and the Green Party's Zaac Chaves. Chaves will be on the ballot with the major party candidates.
# # #