Maynard is unable to debate challenger in Senate race

Stonington — With four weeks to go until Election Day, Democratic state Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, will not be able to participate in an Oct. 30 debate, raising new questions about whether he will be able to carry out the duties of his office if elected to a fifth term.

Adam Joseph, director of communications for Senate Democrats, said Tuesday that Maynard, who suffered serious brain trauma and other injuries in a fall at his home July 21, “is not at a point in his recovery where he can participate.”

Maynard is a patient at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, where he is continuing physical and occupational therapy, according his family, which last issued an update on his condition on Sept. 9. At that point, Maynard’s sister Denise Mahoney said he could answer “yes” or “no” to questions and was working toward regaining full speech.

“There has been no diagnosis in Andy’s case that would preclude a full recovery, and his progress has been very encouraging,” she said at the time, adding there was no reason to believe he would be unable to fulfill the duties of his office if re-elected.

She said Maynard had regained consciousness, was awake and aware, and was participating in physical and occupational therapy.

Last week, Mahoney said she would consider a request by The Day to visit Maynard and ask him some questions. She said the family would not give The Day access to Maynard’s doctors or therapists because of privacy concerns. She added there was no prognosis for her brother, as that would be determined by how much progress he eventually makes.

Mahoney could not be reached to comment in recent days. The Day submitted questions to her through Joseph on Tuesday.

When asked whether Maynard would be able to serve if elected, Joseph said he “could not speculate about future events.” He pointed out that the new term does not begin until January. Maynard, however, has not been able to perform his duties since his July accident.

“It’s his family’s intent for him to be on the ballot,” Joseph said, adding that “it’s been a very difficult time for his family.”

Maynard, 52, needs to complete one more term to be eligible for early retirement, reduced pension and medical benefits, at age 55, according to rules that apply to all state employees. His seven years of service makes him eligible for a full pension once he turns 65.

Maynard had been slated to debate Republican challenger Kevin Trejo of Groton at the Stonington Community Center. It was to have been the lone debate in the race, which has had a non-existent campaign so far.

The Day and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut had scheduled the debate as late as possible to accommodate Maynard’s recovery.

According to a police report of the July 21 incident, Maynard was helping a fellow tenant at the two-family home where he lives on Grand View Park carry a chair from his first-floor apartment to the second floor unit at 2:39 a.m.

The police report is heavily redacted in sections, which police have said was done to remove Maynard’s personal medical information.

The report states that tenant Keith Vandal told them he was holding the front of the chair and Maynard the rear. As they neared the top, Maynard lost his footing and tripped backward. He then fell over the side rail and landed head first on the concrete below.

Police estimated he fell about 8 feet.

Vandal told police Maynard was giving him some chairs because he wanted to make room in his first-floor apartment.

j.wojtas@theday.com

Twitter: @joewojtas

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