Wilton’s State Senate District 26 Sees Significant Shifts — Including Stamford

The New State Senate District 26 map (2021 Reapportionment Commission)

Wilton’s State Senate District 26 has shifted with the 2021 Reapportionment. While Wilton is still squarely center in the district, the 26th no longer includes Bethel — but now it does have a bit of Stamford in the mix.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, as required by federal law. Each state legislature must approve new maps for its state House, state Senate, and U.S. congressional districts, based on population changes as recorded in the U.S. Census every 10 years. Late last week, the new map for the State House districts was released. The deadline to finish is Nov. 30, and changes will take effect at the 2022 election.

The bipartisan nine-person Reapportionment Commission aimed to include 95,000-105,000 people in each district. The challenge facing the Commission this year was the significant population influx to Fairfield County, primarily in Stamford, which added 13,000 new residents. The growth required giving the city a third voice in the State Senate.

That voice will now come from State Sen. Will Haskell and the 26th district. The Commission managed the change by shrinking the portion of New Canaan that was in the district and extending the borders of the 26th with a narrow tentacle through Darien and into Stamford.

The district’s east border was edged further east. Now, both Weston and Westport, which had previously been split between two districts, are entirely contained within District 26.

To balance things out, the northernmost edge was lowered, completely shaving off Bethel and cutting out the north half of Ridgefield.

Haskell saw the change as an opportunity to get more involved in transportation issues. “I’m sad to be leaving my friends in Bethel, but it’s so exciting to join the Darien and Stamford delegations. Modernizing the New Haven Line has been a focus of my time in the legislature, and I look forward to working with these new communities on how we can ease commutes, reduce congestion and get people where they need to go,” he said.

Wilton Democratic Town Committee Chair Tom Dubin was philosophical:

“Einstein would have trouble following all the changes brought by Connecticut’s bipartisan redistricting committee. Our new Senate lines strengthen the concept of a “Three W’s District”, with all of Westport and all of Weston now joining all of Wilton. This comes with the loss of Bethel, a shrinking of New Canaan and Ridgefield, and some strange, small pick-ups (slivers of Norwalk and Darien?!). It also appears that we’ll be sharing a district with Cokenoe Island, which is nice.

“I’m told these changes make Wilton’s Senate district more Democratic. We’ll see if that proves out next November. But as a general matter, I think our state and nation are better served when districts are truly competitive between parties, to the extent possible. Our democracy is challenged in states that manipulate districts for partisan benefit. Gerrymandered districts encourage parties to move to the extremes and not work to find common ground. We are fortunate that Connecticut determines districts through a bi-partisan committee with equal representation of the two major parties.”

Wilton Republican Town Committee Chair Peter Wrampe offered his thought: “The optics of the redistricting of the 26th are most interesting. Wilton and Redding are included as before, while rest of the eight towns (formerly seven) gained or lost some territory. Only time will tell how the citizens will be affected.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. This supports my long-held theory that Haskell is being groomed as a successor to Himes in CT-4 once Blumenthal retires and Himes takes over his Senate seat – weird little tentacle running through 3 wealthy towns which seems to serve little redistricting purpose but greatly expands his potential connections / donor base.

  2. Connecticut’s redistricting process is far better than those in some states, but oddly-shaped districts are unfortunate. The “tentacle” as it is called in this article in the 26th (and another in the 32nd) just shouldn’t be there. Districts should, as much as possible, be divided by town lines and natural boundaries (rivers, mountain ranges, lakesides, parks) so that voters have a clear idea of which one they’re in, and why. If a town needs to be divided to keep the population totals roughly the same district-to-district, then take more or less of, say, Ridgefield or New Canaan, but snaking the district through Darien and even into Stamford is confusing.

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