Connecticut Independent Party leaders said Tuesday that they collected 11,000 signatures, which is more than enough to get a full slate of statewide candidates on the ballot for the November election.
“This is a great day,” said John Mertens, a U.S. Senate candidate who is seeking the endorsement of the Independent party. Mertens has already received the Connecticut for Lieberman Party endorsement.
“This day will mark the day the game has changed,” he said as he stood on the steps of the state Capitol.
The 30 Independent Party candidates want voters to know there’s more than two parties on the ballot this year.
“To think out of the box, you look in the middle and that’s where the Independent party stands,” said Cicero Booker Jr., the Independent candidate for lieutenant governor. Booker currently serves as the minority leader of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen.
Mike Telesca, the State Agent for the Independent Party and Waterbury Town Chairman, said Connecticut’s Independent Party began in the Waterbury area in 2003.
“We found a need to offer more than two choices,” he said. “There was a middle ground that needed to be filled.”
Thirty Independent candidates for statewide office will qualify for the November ballot if the Secretary of State’s Office verifies the signatures in early August. Town clerks across the state will validate the signatures before they’re handed over to the Secretary of the State for certification. State law requires 7,500 validated signatures of registered Connecticut voters.
U.S. Senate candidate Warren Mosler said collecting signatures allowed him to better hear Connecticut citizens.
“Most people seemed eager to help with the signings,” he said. He said they continued to encounter people who felt frustrated with the two major party options. Mosler started out his campaign seeking the Democratic nomination, but changed his mind before the convention in May.
“While my national agenda to fix the economy was very well received by Democratic Town Committee meetings, meetings with Democratic State Representatives and Democratic Party leaders, the basis for the selection of the Democratic nominee was dominated by other considerations,” Mosler said in a May 19 press release.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Thomas E. Marsh described the Independent party’s constant struggle to receive adequate media coverage. He said he also hopes to capitalize on the support of unaffiliated voters in the state.
“It’s going to take some old fashioned hard work,” he said. He plans to set out handshaking and using new media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to make the Independent party’s message widely available.
“I’ll even be kissing babies,” he joked. “That is, if people want a guy like me kissing their babies.”