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Ritter Faces Republican, Independent In State House Election

Democrat Says He's Going To Campaign Hard For The Seat

By JENNA CARLESSO

October 07, 2010

HARTFORD After defeating incumbent state Rep. Kenneth Green by the narrowest of margins in the primary, Matthew Ritter said he's taking nothing for granted as he prepares for the Nov. 2 election.

He faces Republican Kenneth Lerman and independent candidate Emanuel Lorenzo Blake for the 1st House District seat.

With less than a month until Election Day, Ritter, a city councilman, said he continues to knock on doors and encourage Democrats in Hartford and Bloomfield to vote.

"It's a different race. A large part of it is getting the word out and getting Democrats to go to the polls," he said.

Ritter initially lost the primary to Green, an eight-term incumbent, by two votes. But a recount put Ritter two votes ahead of Green. Green filed a lawsuit disputing the outcome and claimed that numerous mistakes made by elections officials made it impossible to determine who won the primary. Superior Court Judge A. Susan Peck later ruled Ritter the winner.

"It was a bizarre few weeks and certainly nothing you ever predict when you run for office," Ritter, 28, said. "At the end of the day, we were happy to have moved on from there."

Ritter now faces Lerman, a lawyer, and Blake, a self-described community activist. Blake is also running on the Connecticut for Lieberman ticket.

Lerman said his goals are to cut taxes and government spending and regionalize government.

"There's a lot of duplication in services and personnel. Regionalizing would help Hartford," Lerman, 49, said.

He said he envisions eliminating municipal property taxes and the state sales tax in favor of a flat income tax.

"I'm not a politician and I'm not trying to be a politician," said Lerman, a member of the Hartford Republican Town Committee who also serves as a commissioner on the city's zoning board of appeals. "I'd be willing to take more risks than someone with a more political background."

He acknowledged, however, that in a largely Democratic district, the odds are stacked against him.

"It's going to be a significant challenge," he said.

Blake, 41, could not be reached for comment.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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