Statchen to run again for 18th District state Senate seat

Democrat Bob Statchen, who was defeated by Republican Heather Somers in the race for the 18th District state Senate seat in 2018, has announced he will run again for the seat this fall.

Statchen, a Stonington resident, defeated Somers in Stonington and her hometown of Groton, but lost to her in the other six towns that comprise the 18th District.

“I’m excited because I think there’s a path to victory. But it will take a lot of hard work,” he said.

Statchen said that while he worked hard two years ago, “I made every rookie mistake.”

While he is known in Stonington and Groton, Statchen said the people in the district's other towns — North Stonington, Preston, Griswold, Voluntown, Sterling and Plainfield — did not know him as well. “I need to get out more up there,” he said.

Overall Somers had 3,000, or 9.4%, more votes than Statchen in 2018.

Statchen said he looked at the numbers and found that the average margin of victory in the 18th District race over the past 20 years has been 22 percent, while his margin was less than half of that. In addition, he said no party has ever put up the same challenger twice during that time frame.

Somers' spokesman Adam Liegeot said Tuesday that Somers had not made an announcement about seeking reelection. “She’s focused on the upcoming legislative session and delivering more positive results for the people of the 18th Senate District,” he wrote in an email.

Statchen called running again “the right thing to do.”

“There’s a real lack of honor and integrity in politics. We have to get back to the point where we have people who do what’s right for the state and what’s honorable,” said Statchen, who has served in the Air National Guard.

For the past 13 years, he has directed the Small Business Clinic at Western New England University School of Law, where students assist small businesses with various types of legal issues. Before that, he worked as an attorney and taught in the law department of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He also works as the staff judge advocate for the Connecticut Air National Guard.

Statchen said eastern Connecticut also needs a voice in the General Assembly. He pointed out that over the past 61 years, there has been only six years when the state Senate was controlled by Republicans, which is not the case now. “If we’re going to have a minority senator, it puts us at a disadvantage. We’re not in the room when policy is being made,” he said.

If elected, he said he would like to address issues such as what he called regressive taxes and the achievement gap in education.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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