CTNewsJunkie file photo
Jonathan Pelto (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

Jonathan Pelto, a former state representative and education blogger, said Tuesday that he will seek the Green Party’s nomination to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney.

“I’m running for Congress as a Green Party candidate because this year’s election is so critical for sustaining the future of our democracy” Pelto said.

Pelto insisted he’s not running against Courtney, a Democrat who is seeking a sixth term.

“I’m not running against Joe Courtney, whose performance in Congress has been extremely admirable, but to ensure that a variety of key issues are raised in this political campaign cycle,” Pelto said. “Uncontested and under contested elections reinforce apathy,  and this year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, we need every voter to understand what is at stake and participate by voting.”

Republican Daria Novak is also running for a third time against Courtney.

Novak received the Republican Party’s support at the 2010 convention, but lost the primary to former news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh. In 2012 she failed to win enough support at the Republican convention. That year, state Sen. Paul Formica of East Lyme challenged Courtney and lost. In 2014, Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh, a real estate agent and failed New London mayoral candidate, lost her challenge by more than 61,000 votes. The last Republican to hold the seat was former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, who Courtney defeated by less than 100 votes in 2006.

The Connecticut Green Party holds a ballot line in the 2nd Congressional District and has nominated candidates for the seat since 2008 when Scott Deshefy became the first Green Party candidate to run for the seat.

“The Green Party is about educating and persuading voters to become better informed and more active in our democracy. Jonathan Pelto’s candidacy is a major step forward in our effort to reach more voters with our agenda of fairness, equity, social justice and grassroots democracy, which touched off the current progressive movement,” Deshefy said.

Pelto sought to run for governor in 2014, but failed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. He vehemently disagrees with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education policy and writes about it on his Wait, What? blog.

“As Connecticut approaches the critically important 2018 gubernatorial campaign, the party and its Congressional candidate must receive at least one percent of the vote in the 2016 election, in order to maintain ballot access and its minor party status in the 2nd Congressional District. I hope to be able to ensure that the Green Party gets those votes” Pelto said.

Pelto is 55 years old. He was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1984 and served five terms.