Finizio to seek Formica's state Senate seat
Former New London mayor Daryl Finizio announced Monday he will be seeking the 20th District state Senate seat in the 2022 election.
Finizio, an attorney, became New London’s first elected mayor following a City Charter change that replaced the position of city manager in 2011. Current Mayor Michael Passero defeated Finizio in the Democratic primary in 2015.
The state Senate seat is currently held by Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme. He has not said whether he will be running for reelection.
“I, should I run, look forward to the opportunity to discuss the body of work I’ve been able to have over the last three-and-a-half terms,” Formica said Monday. “I feel very confident that I’ve worked hard for the betterment of the 20th district and its residents and the state of Connecticut, and I look forward to a campaign with anyone that wants to have a discussion on those issues.”
Finizio said he has been thinking about running for the position for the past year after gauging reaction from liberal political stakeholders in the area.
"After thinking about it enough and talking to my husband, to my family, to people in the area, I decided I would make the run,” he said Monday. “I have called around to many party leaders and party activists over the last couple of months, and I did not hear of anybody else having any interest in the race.”
Finizio highlighted three areas where he believes he and Formica, if Formica does run again, are at odds: minimum wage, paid family leave and health care.
“On a lot of these economic issues there are significant differences between Senator Formica and myself. He’s opposed raising the minimum wage, whereas I was the first mayor in Connecticut to raise the minimum wage when President Obama asked mayors to do so for city employees and city contractors,” he said. “Formica has opposed paid family leave, and it’s something I support. I support enhanced health coverage in the state including through a potential public option, which I think Senator Formica opposes.”
Formica and Finizio know and like each other from working together in the past at the municipal level, and both said, if Formica runs again, the campaign would focus on policy and would never be personal.
“Mr. Finizio’s comments about keeping this about policy and issues is refreshing,” Formica said. “We are friendly, and I look forward to the opportunity should it arise.”
On Monday, Finizio was optimistic about flipping the seat. He emphasized his reputation as an outsider and said that could appeal to voters of the seven towns outside of New London. The 20th District includes New London, East Lyme, Waterford, Montville, Salem, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme and Bozrah.
“I primaried to be elected mayor, I did not have support of the established party, and when I ran for reelection I didn’t have the party’s endorsement,” he said. “When I take my message broader throughout the district I can say, ‘Look, I’m not the usual politician, not a New London politician, but not the usual Democratic politician, period. And I think my record speaks to that. And I think people will view this campaign based on the issues and not based on the hometowns of the candidates.”
Although the entirety of each of the eight towns doesn’t vote in the 20th District, the total number of registered voters in all eight towns includes 15,423 Republicans, 25,726 Democrats, and 32,065 unaffiliated voters.
Finizio’s campaign filed campaign paperwork with state officials late last month.
Formica has defeated back-to-back challenges from Democrat Martha Marx, who was elected to New London’s City Council last week. Reached by phone Monday, Marx said it’s too early to comment on the race at this point.
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