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Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford each keep 2 Senate seats in new map

Chion Wolf
Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore, Martin Looney D-New Haven.

Connecticut’s bipartisan Reapportionment Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a state Senate redistricting map that puts Stamford, the second-largest and fastest-growing city, in three Senate districts.

Nearly all of the state’s growth came in Fairfield County over the past decade, necessitating significant changes to a half-dozen districts in the state’s southwest corner, though none seemed to dramatically tip the balance of power.

The commission made modest changes elsewhere in the 36 Senate districts, maintaining maps that center two districts in each of the other three largest cities: Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. It adopted a state House map last week.

The panel will miss the Nov. 30 constitutional deadline to produce a congressional district map, meaning that its work must be completed next month under the supervision of the state Supreme Court.

Passage of the Senate map came without debate in an 11-minute meeting conducted via Zoom, a reflection that the maps in Connecticut are resolved by negotiation. The statewide map and district maps are available on the commission’s web site.

Unlike many other states where control of the state legislature yields the ability to dictate new districts, the process in Connecticut is bipartisan, regardless of which party controls the General Assembly.

“I think this is the way. It’s truly a bipartisan effort. We had great collaboration, cooperation and coordination,” said Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, a co-chair of the commission.

“We have a much better approach to this … potentially fraught political process. We have a much better approach than most of the country does on this,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.

While Stamford now will be in three districts instead of the two in the current map, only one district is drawn in a fashion that favors a candidate from within its borders.

Sen. Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford, now represents the 27th District of southern Stamford and a slice of Darien.

The northern portion of Stamford is in the 36th District, with all of Greenwich and about two-thirds of New Canaan. It has been competitive, with a Democrat winning the seat in the past two regular elections and Sen. Ryan Fazio, R-Greenwich, reclaiming for the GOP in a special election this year.

The new map puts more of Republican New Canaan in the 36th, a boost for Fazio’s reelection, though not necessarily enough to make it a safe GOP seat. Once a GOP stronghold, Greenwich has been trending Democratic, like much of Fairfield County.

“It’s not the Greenwich of years past,” Kelly said.

The nearby 26th District district of Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, loses Bethel and will snake through a narrow corridor of Republican Darien and New Canaan into Democratic Stamford. Like Stamford, Darien now will be in three districts.

“It’s reflective of the huge growth in Fairfield County, but especially in Stamford, and the need for some districts to be reworked to accommodate that growth,” Haskell said.

Haskell said his current district generally lies on a north-south axis, while the new one will be more east to west.

“That’s actually how people commute in Fairfield County,” he said.

Hartford lost population in the 2020 Census. As a result, the 1st District of Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, whose political base is the city’s South End, now reaches well into the North End and further south into Wethersfield.

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