Green Party of Connecticut officials said Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz’s release earlier this week regarding the increase in uncontested races between Democrats and Republicans was a “backhanded” slap to minor party candidates.
“The Secretary’s press release lists figures for “major” party races and she implies that she thinks they are the only ones who really count!” Tim McKee spokesman for the Green Party said Tuesday. “Showing numbers for 12 years of only Democrats and Republicans races does not treat all candidates equally.”
Bysiewicz denied the implication that she doesn’t treat all candidates equally.
She said since 1999 her office has been releasing numbers about contested General Assembly seats.
She said at the moment the only Green Party candidate seeking a state Senate seat that has qualified for the ballot is Colin Bennett, who is running in the 33rd Senate District against Democratic Sen. Eileen Daily and Republican Neil Nichols. She said the deadline for minor party candidates to receive their endorsement isn’t until Sept. 1.
But Mike DeRosa, who is running for Secretary of the State as a Green Party candidate, said, “It is not the Secretary’s job to decide or label which parties are competitive and which are non-competitive.”
Bysiewicz begs to differ with DeRosa’s characterization of her feelings toward minor party candidates.
“I have always been a strong proponent of ballot access for minor parties in Connecticut, and indeed members of these parties have had considerable success of late getting candidates on the ballot and elected on the municipal level,” Bysiewicz said.
She cited the success of the Working Families Party to get two councilmen and one Registrar of Voters elected in Hartford in 2009.
DeRosa said the new public campaign finance system, which the Green Party is challenging in federal court, makes it even harder for minor party candidates to qualify for the ballot and it makes it even harder for them to raise enough money to compete with the major party candidates.
Bysiewicz said she’s an advocate of treating minor party candidates fairly under the new public campaign finance system.
“I have also strongly supported campaign finance reform that gives fair access to public, clean campaign funds to minor party candidates and have repeatedly called for a legislative fix to our current clean elections law that will pass constitutional muster and be fair to all parties in Connecticut,” Bysiewicz said.
But the Green Party also took exception to Bysiewicz’s remarks regarding the increased participation due to the public campaign finance system, also known as the Citizens‘ Election Program.
“If all election officials treated all candidates equally, and the Citizens’ Election Fund gave all candidates money fairly, The Greens Party believes that more races would be competitive,” McKee said.