Signs outside a polling place in Somers. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

The 2022 election is less than 30 days away, absentee ballots are available here in Connecticut, and voters are beginning to tune in. So where do the candidates stand?

Of course, there’s the top of the ticket with races for U.S. Senate, Congress, and the Governor’s office, but while those might set the tone the candidates that do a lot of the heavy lifting are running for state representative and state senate. There’s a chance that you don’t know who those candidates are, but at CTNewsJunkie we want to make sure you know at least a little bit about them before you head to the polls.

As part of our mission of public service journalism, we are once again offering our voter guide, underwritten by AARP Connecticut. We think it’s important that candidates tell voters where they stand before an election, and it’s equally important for voters to do their research. 

This comes at a time when America’s oldest continuously published newspaper, The Hartford Courant, has announced that it will no longer endorse candidates, explaining in an editorial last week that “As America’s political divide continues to deepen, the role of traditional news media as impartial providers of a common set of facts is more vital than ever,” and the “increasingly acrimonious” nature of public discourse “with misinformation and disinformation on the rise.” 

The editorial went on to say that the “partisan selection” inherent to endorsing political candidates “is counterproductive to achieving the essential goal of facilitating healthy public debate and building trust in our journalistic enterprise.”

Rep. Christine Palm, D-Chester, said that’s an “abdication” of the responsibilities of a newspaper.

She said it’s like caving to a child having a tantrum and assumes the public can’t be bothered to learn about the issues. 

That’s one of the reasons she participated in CTNewsJunkie’s Voter Guide and will encourage other candidates to do the same. 

If all candidates participate, then it gives the voters an opportunity to compare them side by side. Even though Palm’s opponent hasn’t participated in the survey, she welcomes his participation.

“I’d like to win, but I’d also like to earn people’s vote,” Palm said.

There are 151 House seats and 36 Senate seats up for grabs, but 39 of the House seats and three Senate seats are uncontested. Currently, the Democratic Party controls both chambers.

Even with the baseline for legislative pay increasing to $40,000, it might not be enough for a part-time legislature that seems to monopolize members on a full-time basis. 

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said that when it comes to voter surveys, the candidates are bombarded by these things and they get lost in email.

“It’s not apathy on the part of the candidates,” he said. “It’s overwhelming.”

Palm pointed out that most of those surveys for endorsements are never made public.

Candelora said things have changed and candidates now have their own platforms so they don’t need to rely on third parties to get their message to the voters.

Candelora said door knocking has been helpful, but he admitted that it’s impossible for candidates to reach every door.

That’s part of the reason CTNewsJunkie developed the voter guide – so that voters can share their endorsements of the candidates they plan to vote for on their social media accounts.

Candelora said more often than not, voters are associating these candidates with their party and not as an individual. He said that would be a mistake.

So take a moment and look at the voter guide. If your candidate hasn’t filled out their survey, encourage them to do so and if they have completed one, please share it on social media. Note for them that this is a survey from the Connecticut news organization that specifically covers the state legislature and executive branch –