NEW BRITAIN — At least four members of the city's legislative delegation are seeking re-election this year, but it's not yet clear how many will face challengers in November.
Republican leaders this week announced first-time candidate Desiree Agosta is running for the 26th House District seat held by Democratic incumbent Peter Tercyak. Otherwise, though, the GOP has not signaled who it will support to challenge the remaining Democratic incumbents.
The harshest contest so far is shaping up as a struggle between Democratic Sen. Theresa Gerratana and school board President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra.
The city's Democratic Town Committee is sending pro-Gerratana delegates to the May 23 nominating convention; a far smaller number of delegates from Berlin and Farmington will also vote. If the convention backs Gerratana, Beloin-Saavedra said she will force a primary.
New Britain's Democratic Party is highly loyal to Gerratana and recruited her in 2011 to come out of political retirement when Democratic Sen. Donald DeFronzo gave up his 6th District seat to become state administrative services commissioner. Democrats wanted a strong candidate against Republican Timothy Stewart; Gerratana beat him by a healthy margin in New Britain's precincts, and that fall he decided not to seek another term as mayor.
Beloin-Saavedra was among the top vote-getters on the ballot in her most recent re-election, and is popular with parents and much of the school faculty. By keeping the presidency of the school board, Beloin-Saavedra retained at least some political power for Democrats last year when their entire municipal slate suffered a crushing loss.
Three of the city's four representatives in the House are running again. Rep. Robert Sanchez, D-25th District, is seeking a third term; he easily won a four-way race in 2014, defeating a Republican, a Green Party challenger and a petitioning candidate.
Rep. Rick Lopes, D-24th District, recently notified supporters that he's seeking re-election. Republicans ran Corporation Counsel Gennaro Bizzarro against him in 2014; Lopes, who was also endorsed by the Working Families Party, beat him 2,995 to 2,489.
Tercyak, who has held the 26th District seat for 13 years, will face the 25-year-old Agosta in November unless another Republican seeks the party's nomination.
GOP Town Chairman Daniel Davis said in an email that Agosta has his support.
"Desiree is the ideal candidate for our proven New Britain model of candidates and winning elections. Desiree came to me late last year and expressed interest in becoming a Republican," David wrote. "This was music to my ears because it again dispels the notion that Republicans are rich, white racist bigots."
In the 22nd District, longtime Democratic Rep. Betty Boukus has not announced whether she's running again. She could not be reached Friday.