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Maynard's recovery from injury leaves status of his Senate seat unclear as election nears

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: The Day

Published August 06. 2014 4:00AM   Updated August 12. 2014 2:58PM
State lacks precedent for what to do if he is unable to withdraw

With Election Day 13 weeks away, state Sen. Andrew Maynard's name continues to be on the ballot although he remains hospitalized after suffering a serious head injury at his Stonington home 15 days ago.

While residents, friends and party officials have been hoping the popular Democrat recovers from his injuries, some have begun to privately ask what happens to his 18th District seat if Maynard can't run in November or can't perform the duties of the office.

"These are uncharted waters," said Av Harris, the spokesman for the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office on Tuesday.

He said that under state law, the only person who can remove a candidate's name from the ballot is the candidate.

Sources have said over the past two weeks that Maynard has not been communicating with the friends and relatives who have been keeping a 24-hour bedside vigil at Rhode Island Hospital.

His sister, Denise Mahoney, released a statement Monday thanking people for their support and saying Maynard continues to recover at the hospital from a number of serious injuries, including a head injury he suffered while carrying a large object up an outside staircase to his second-floor apartment. She said his medical team is "confident in a positive recovery."

Harris, who said everyone in state government is praying that Maynard recovers and can return to his duties, said that if Maynard were to withdraw, the 18th District nominating convention would have until three weeks before Election Day to replace him on the ballot with a new candidate.

Harris said there are some other possible scenarios if Maynard is unable to withdraw himself.

He said the nominating convention could ask a Superior Court judge to declare a vacancy because having a candidate on the ballot who cannot serve would hurt the voters and the party.

Harris said his family could also have a probate judge remove his elector status because he is incompetent, which means he would not be able to be a candidate.

But neither of these options has been used before, he said.

If Maynard stays on the ballot and defeats Republican Kevin Trejo of Groton but can't serve, there is no provision to replace him unless he states his desire to step down. If he did that, a special election would be held to replace him.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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