Cassano undecided about Senate re-election bid

·3 min read

Jun. 15—State Sen. Stephen T. Cassano, D-Manchester, said Tuesday he is unsure about running for re-election in November representing the 4th Senate District, which covers Manchester, Glastonbury, Bolton, and Andover.

"Right now I haven't made up my mind," Cassano said. "I'm looking at if I want to run again. I should know within the next week or so."

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: State Sen. Stephen T. Cassano is undecided about running for re-election in the 4th Senate District.

WHEN: Cassano missed the June 7 deadline to force a Democratic primary.

NEXT: Cassano could still run on the Working Families Party ticket if he's endorsed by them in July, or run as a petitioning candidate without his name appearing on the ballot.

Because Cassano did not file petition signatures by the State Elections Enforcement Commission's June 7 deadline, he will not challenge MD Rahman, who local Democrats unanimously endorsed at a party convention last month, in an August primary.

Cassano has at least two other options to get his name on the ballot in November, both of which he said he is considering. He could run on the Working Families Party ticket, as he did in 2020 when he was a dual party candidate.

Or he could run as a petitioning candidate by collecting signatures from 3% of constituents who voted in the 2020 election — regardless of their political affiliation, election officials said.

Sarah Ganong, state director for Working Families Party, said last week that Cassano had not yet applied for an endorsement or reached out to the party. The deadline for candidates to apply for an endorsement is late July, she added.

Cassano, 80, has long been the face of Manchester politics. He was first elected to public office in 1977, and served a combined 26 years as the town's deputy mayor and mayor. He has been a state senator since 2011.

If Cassano chooses not to seek re-election, he said he could retire or find a different job.

"There are some things that might be actually more interesting, so I'm in the process of looking at the options I have right now," he said.

When asked about Rahman's endorsement, Cassano said local Democrats were "lead on a leash" and blindly threw their support behind him.

"I don't think it was an open process, that's the most troublesome part," he said. "All of it was done without any knowledge on my part at all."

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Michael Pohl refuted those claims, saying Cassano did not get any votes during the convention because he failed to contact delegates to ask for their support.

"I have not heard of one person who received a phone call from Steve Cassano asking for their support in any one of the four towns," Pohl said.

In March Cassano said he intended to run for re-election in November, but Pohl at the time said he likely wouldn't get the Democrats endorsement for a seventh term. Pohl publicly called on Cassano to keep his promise to retire at the end of his current term and "step aside" for the next generation of leaders.

Cassano in March said he never got official notice from the Democratic committee that he wouldn't have their support for the first time in 45 years, nor did Pohl ask him to not run.

Meanwhile, local Republicans last month unanimously endorsed Jacqueline Crespan for the 4th Senate District. Crespan is the minority leader on the Manchester Board of Directors.