Republicans make their choices for local state Senate seats

Hartford - Republicans in the region's four state Senate districts have endorsed candidates for the fall election. Their goal: unseat two Democratic incumbents and fill two vacancies.

18th Senatorial District (incumbent: Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington)

Theresa Madonna of Griswold received the GOP endorsement Monday. A private practice attorney, Madonna has served on Griswold's Board of Education and Board of Selectmen.

"Connecticut is the least friendly business state," Madonna said. "As a small business owner, I know that for a fact."

Maynard said he is running for re-election. His district encompasses Groton, North Stonington, Stonington, Preston, Griswold, Voluntown, Plainfield and Sterling.

19th Senatorial District (incumbent: Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia)

State Rep. Chris Coutu, R-Norwich, snagged the party endorsement Monday night by a unanimous vote. Another candidate, Steven Everett, dropped out of the race earlier in the day and lent Coutu his support.

This seat has belonged to Prague for nearly 17 years. She will retire at year's end. Democrats vying for their party's nomination for the seat are state Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard, and Sprague First Selectman Cathy Osten.

Coutu said he wants to bring balance to the 36-member Senate, which currently comprises 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Reining in spending and taxes are his big issues.

"I'm going to be out knocking on doors and meeting as many people as I can," Coutu said. The district includes part of Montville, Norwich, Lisbon, Sprague, Franklin, Lebanon, Columbia, Hebron, Marlborough and Ledyard.

20th Senatorial District (incumbent: Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford)

Mike Doyle, 51, of New London won his party's endorsement Monday night by a unanimous vote to take on Stillman, who confirmed Tuesday that she is seeking re-election.

For Doyle, the big issues are public safety and controlling spending and taxes. He vowed to fight attempts to cut the statutory minimum of 1,248 state troopers. Despite the minimum, there are only about 1,080 troopers.

"Our roads are completely unsafe," Doyle said. "We don't have enough troopers. We have fatalities almost every other day on our highways here."

The 20th District includes Old Lyme, East Lyme, half of Old Saybrook, Waterford, New London, Montville, Salem and Bozrah.

33rd Senatorial District (incumbent: Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook)

When Daily announced Tuesday that she would retire this year, the race opened up.

Republican Neil Nichols Sr. of Essex, who narrowly won his party's endorsement Monday, says he's anticipating a primary challenge from Art Linares of Westbrook, whom he edged out for the nomination in a 24-22 vote.

A former Air Force and commercial pilot who now does financial consulting work, Nichols said he would work to achieve lower taxes, a smaller state government and make Connecticut more attractive for employers.

"It's very, very difficult for bright, young and potentially major-income earners to find their type of job in the state," he said.

The district includes half of Old Saybrook, Lyme, Westbrook, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Chester, Haddam, East Haddam, Portland, East Hampton and Colchester.

j.reindl@theday.com

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