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Ritter wins Democrats' backing in 20th Senate District

By Tess Townsend

Publication: The Day

Published May 20. 2014 4:00AM   Updated May 30. 2014 11:43AM

Waterford - In the 20th state Senate District's first contested nomination in more than two decades, state Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, won her party's endorsement Monday by six votes.

New London Democratic Town Committee Chairman Bill Satti took home 22 votes, well over the 15 percent needed to run in a primary, which he said he may decide to do.

Ritter said after the vote, "Obviously, I was very pleased." She called the convention a "spirited contest" and referred to Satti as a good friend.

Ritter has served as the 38th Assembly District representative since 2004. Before going to Hartford, she held elected offices in Waterford including Registrar of Voters, Town Treasurer and Tax Collector.

The convention in the basement of the Waterford Public Library was the first in 24 years to be contested, according to Convention Chairman Ed Morris of Niantic (Editor's note: corrected).

"We always knew who the nominee was going to be when we walked in," said Waterford Democratic Town Committee Chairman John "Bill" Sheehan.

He said he was not surprised by the split of the vote.

In her acceptance speech, Ritter said that if elected she would focus on bringing jobs to southeastern Connecticut, improving public education and ensuring the security of the elderly.

Waterford Democratic Selectman Paul Konstantakis said Ritter was a natural successor to Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-20th District, who announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election.

"It's like a chain," he said.

Stillman gave the first nominating speech for Ritter on Monday.

East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica was endorsed last week as the Republican candidate for the 20th District, which covers Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.

Satti congratulated Ritter before the votes were counted, but said later that he may consider opting for a primary in August.

"We're going to sit down with my team and we're going to make a decision," he said.

Morris said he thought Satti stood a good chance of winning a primary because he carries New London.

"Waterford does not recognize that New London is the capital of the 20th District," he said.

t.townsend@theday.com

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