Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Republicans produce no candidate against Janowski, endorse Ackert

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:09 PM EDT

VERNON — For the last two decades local Republicans have always put forth a candidate to run for the 56th House District seat — except for this year when it appears incumbent Rep. Claire Janowski, D-Vernon, might run unopposed for a fifth term.

The GOP caucus Wednesday failed to produce a contender, campaign manager John Anderson said.

“It’s a little disconcerting. This is the first time we haven’t had someone to field since the early 1990s,” he said, adding that the party still has until the June 10 deadline to find a nominee.

Two years ago Janowski soundly defeated Bill Campbell, a Republican member of Vernon’s Town Council, taking nearly 77 percent of the votes cast.

The district is entirely within the town of Vernon.

Anderson said that he had a few good, strong leads for people to take on Janowski, but many said this was not the year, citing lack of time to campaign and unwillingness to take a pay cut should they win the district seat.

“It’s too bad, because I think the voters deserve a choice,” he said. “There’s a lot of us who like Claire personally, but not her policies or plans” for the future, Anderson said.

Republicans do have a challenger for the 8th House District seat, however, as Coventry businessman Tim Ackert will square off for a rematch against incumbent Rep. Joan Lewis, D-Coventry, this November.

Two years ago Ackert tried to unseat Lewis, who is running for a fourth term representing the district that includes Coventry, Columbia, and parts of Vernon. He lost, however, taking 40 percent of the vote.

Anderson said he believes that Ackert will do better this time around.

“It’s a tough district because it encompasses all of three towns,” Anderson said. “But he’ll fight the good fight. He got his name out there last time and that’s important. Ackert’s a good guy and knowledgeable. He’s been around the towns enlisting help, and we’re behind him 100 percent.”

Lewis and Janowski, meanwhile, aren’t taking anything for granted as both say there is still too much left to do.

They also won endorsement from their parties Wednesday at the Democratic caucus.

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