Like her Democratic opponent Chris Murphy, Republican Linda McMahon’s name will appear twice on the ballot in November, once as a Republican and once as an Independent.
The Secretary of State’s office confirmed Tuesday afternoon that McMahon garnered the 7,500 signatures necessary to appear on the Independent Party ballot line.
Kie Westby, the Republican attorney from Southbury had also been vying for the Independent Party’s endorsement, but he did not receive enough support to secure the ballot line.
If Westby had received enough support, it’s likely neither he or McMahon would be able to appear on the line because of a legal dispute been two factions of the Independent Party.
McMahon sought the endorsement through the Independent Party faction run by Dr. Robert Fand of Bethel and Westby was being backed by the faction run by Mike Telesca of Waterbury.
The two factions of the Independent Party are fighting for control of the party in court. Asked earlier this year to settle the dispute, the Secretary of the State’s office remained neutral and told the two sides they would have to take the matter to a judge.
Fand filed the lawsuit against Telesca’s faction in Danbury Superior Court on June 4.
More recently, Telesca’s faction of the Independent Party filed a lawsuit against Fand on Sept. 6 regarding its endorsement in the 16th Senate District race between Sen. Joseph Markley and Democratic challenger Corky Mazurek. The lawsuit also addresses the dispute in the 106th House District race where one faction of the party cross-endorsed Republican Mitch Bolinsky and another faction endorsed Bruce Walezak.
If the two sides can’t figure out who controls the party then the names of the candidates in races where factions have endorsed both sides won’t appear on the Independent Party ballot line. That means candidates like Walezak may not have their name appear on the ballot at all since he was seeking only the third party endorsement.
In 2010 the Independent Party endorsed 30 candidates for statewide office, including Warren Mosler for U.S. Senate.
Receiving the cross-endorsement of the Working Families Party was crucial to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s victory in 2010. It has become part of the strategy for many campaigns.
Third parties are nothing new in Connecticut.
In 2006, the last time U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman ran for the seat he ended up forming his own party the “Connecticut for Lieberman” Party in order to run as an independent if he lost the Democratic nomination.
Prior to the primary, former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays alleged that McMahon was seeking the third party endorsement in order to make sure she remained on the ballot even if she lost the Republican nomination.