|U.S. Senate, Connecticut|
|Connecticut Secretary of State|
|Bachelor's||Yale University (1983)|
|J.D.||Duke University School of Law (1986)|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Career
- 3 Issues
- 4 Other roles
- 5 Elections
- 6 Polls
- 7 Campaign contributions
- 8 Personal
- 9 External links
- 10 References
- Bachelor's degree, Yale University (1983)
- Juris Doctorate degree, Duke University School of Law (1986)
In the midst of her pursuit for a law degree, Bysiewicz wrote Ella: A Biography of Governor Ella Grasso, a pioneer in women's roles in politics and the first woman elected governor of Connecticut, in 1984. Following law school, she practiced law in New York as an attorney at Robinson & Cole from 1988 to 1992 and then in Hartford at Aetna Insurance Company until 1994.
Murphy Hedge Fund accusations
On July 19, 2012, Bysiewicz began airing an ad that took aim at her rival for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, Christopher S. Murphy. The problem was, Bysiewicz made an error and was actually attacking Murphy based on information about former Congressman Scott Murphy (D-NY).
The ad accused Christopher S. Murphy of taking “more hedge fund money than any Democrat in Congress.” In 2010, the top Democratic recipient of hedge fund contributions was Scott Murphy (D-NY), but not Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT) as the ad falsely claimed.
Dead registered voters
- See also: Dead people voting
University of Connecticut journalism professor Marcel Dufresne led an eleven student class investigation into dead voters in the state of Connecticut. His group discovered 8,558 deceased individuals who were still registered on Connecticut voter rolls. Even more troubling was the revelation that more than three hundred of them appeared somehow to have cast ballots after they died.
While votes were cast and counted in the names of the dead, Susan Bysiewicz insisted that "there was no voter fraud at all in the state of Connecticut." She went on to say, "While we want to remove dead people from the rolls, we don’t want to be overzealous and disenfranchise people."
Almost immediately after Bysiewicz announced she would be campaigning to be the state's attorney general, questions concerning her legal qualifications to hold the position were raised by state political commentators. Critics specifically cited Title III, Chapter 35, Section 3-124 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, which states, "The Attorney General shall be an attorney of law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state," as to her disqualification from running for the statewide office. Although she received a law degree and became an attorney in the state of Connecticut in 1986, she only actively practiced for six years before becoming a state legislator and then secretary of state.
At the same time, however, others argued that the state constitution, which takes precedence over the general statutes, cites the minimum age of eighteen as the only requirement in order to be considered for any state office.
Upon seeking a legal opinion from the current State Attorney General to clear up the matter, Blumenthal responded that, although he believed the law to be valid, this was something that could only be rectified by either the courts or legislature.
A little over a month later, the Connecticut Secretary of State fielded questions for over five hours "during an all-day, pretrial deposition in her lawsuit seeking a judge's declaration that she is eligible to run for state attorney general." Her lawyer, Wesley W. Horton, then filed a "protective order" motion to prevent either the transcript or videotape of the deposition from being released, though no justification for the motion was given. The next day, however, Horton withdrew this request, acknowledging local newspapers had a right to these documents.
With just three weeks left until state Democrats met to endorse party candidates for the 2010 election cycle, Superior Court Judge Michael Sheldon ruled on Wednesday, May 6, 2010, "that Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz meets the qualifications to hold the office of attorney general." Nearly ten days after the ruling was issued, the State GOP filed an appeal challenging the ruling.
The State Supreme Court, which ordered attorneys on both sides to file briefs Friday, May 14, set Tuesday, May 18, as the date that it would hear oral arguments. Rather surprisingly, on the exact same day the justices convened to hear the grievance, they announced that they had unanimously reached a decision. The seven justices, "troubled by the minimal standards set by [ Superior Court Judge] Sheldon," reversed the decision and declared that Bysiewicz was ineligible to run for the statewide office of attorney general. The Connecticut Secretary of State, who was not present at the hearing, released a statement in which she expresses her disappointment "with the court's decision overturning Judge [Michael] Sheldon's ruling" and that while she strongly disagreed with the "decision both on the eligibility and the constitutionality issue," she does "respect the rule of law and will abide by it." In a statement released on Thursday, May 20, she announced that not only would she not seek the office of state attorney general, but she would also not seek re-election in her current state governmental position. One of the mitigating factors for this course of action was finances. After having transferred all her gubernatorial campaign contributions into her campaign for attorney general, Bysiewicz was forbidden by state law from doing so for another race. In other words, to raise the financial capital necessary to run a successful campaign, she would have needed to start from scratch, which, at such a late point, would be very difficult, if not impossible.
Use of database information
A state Republican political activist filed a complaint in October 2009 charging that Bysiewicz used "a database of citizens' names to send out unsoliticed emails seeking campaign contributions." Bysiewicz insisted that "what she did was legal because the database is a public document." Regardless, her challengers for the Democratic nomination in the state's attorney general contest criticized her actions, arguing that "this kind of gaming the system is what makes people cynical about government and politics."
A month later, however, the Hartford Courant published an article on March 10, 2010, describing the database as something more than just a list of names. The database of over thirty-six thousand individuals contained "thousands of what are labeled 'special notes' on people's political connections and personal characteristics, including some medical conditions [as well as] 'Ethnicity,' which identifies 2,431 people as either Jewish, Greek, Polish, African American, Hispanic or Native American."
Shortly after a State Superior Court Judge ruled that Bysiewicz met the qualifications to hold the office of state attorney general, Blumenthal released a statement that his office was "reviewing all of the whistle-blower allegations made against the Secretary of the State, including some received very recently" regarding the use of the database information. The State GOP put pressure on Blumenthal to reach a decision about the matter, arguing that "three months is more than enough time to find out whether Bysiewicz illegally used state resources for political purposes."
- Member, Connecticut Public Affairs Network (1998-present)
- Member, National Association of Secretaries of State (1998-present)
- Honorary Chair, Polish American Advisory Council (1998-present)
- Member, Women's Campaign School at Yale University (1998-present)
- Honorary Chair, Student Parent Mock Election (2002)
Secretary of State
Prior to being elected Secretary of State, Bysiewicz was voted state representative for the 100th Assembly District of Connecticut for three successive terms starting in 1992, representing up to 22,000 constituents.
In 1998, she sought the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State. Even though at the state Democratic Convention she lost the party's endorsement to Representative Ellen Scalettar, she garnered enough delegates to qualify to run for the nomination in the primary. Bysiewicz went on to win both the nomination and the office itself in the November general election.
- 1998 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary
- Susan Bysiewicz ran unopposed in this contest
|1998 Race for Secretary of State - General Election|
|Democratic Party||Susan Bysiewicz||59.1%|
|Republican Party||Ben Andrews||39.8%|
|Libertarian Party||Kenneth F. Mosher||1.1%|
- 2002 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary
- Susan Bysiewicz ran unopposed in this contest
|2002 Race for Secretary of State - General Election|
|Democratic Party||Susan Bysiewicz||64.2%|
|Republican Party||Ronald S. San Angelo||34.3%|
|Libertarian Party||Darlene H. Nicholas||1.5%|
- 2006 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary
- Susan Bysiewicz ran unopposed in this contest
|2006 Race for Secretary of State - General Election|
|Democratic Party||Susan Bysiewicz||69.8%|
|Republican Party||Richard J. Abbate||26.4%|
|Green Party||S. Michael DeRosa||1.8%|
|Libertarian Party||Kenneth F. Mosher||1.2%|
|Concerned Citizens||Jean Marie Burness||0.8%|
Bysiewicz announced in January 2009 that she would be a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination the Connecticut gubernatorial race. A Quinnipiac University poll taken in February 2009 showed that of four potential Democratic Party candidates for the nomination, Bysiewicz led the pack with 44% favoring her candidacy. Eight months later, however, the Connecticut Secretary of State's own exploratory committee released the results of a survey that seemed to demonstrate eroding support for her campaign. While she still led her main rival for the Democratic nomination, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, in a head-to-head matchup by a significant margin, the percentage of those who had chosen her over other candidates in the Democratic primary had fallen to 31%.
In a somewhat surprising move, nearly a year after she announced her candidacy for the gubernatorial seat in the state of Connecticut, Bysiewicz declared she would be switching her bid for governor to that of state attorney general. Bysiewicz's change in course came on the heels of the two major announcements made that same month that "Sen. Christopher Dodd would not seek re-election and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal would run for Dodd’s seat." There is speculation that financial concerns were the main reason for the switch, noting that "by going for the attorney general job, Bysiewicz could be avoiding a funding arms race with wealthy gubernatorial candidates like Ned Lamont and Tom Foley."
However, with the ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court in mid-May 2010 that she is ineligible to run for the statewide office, Bysiewicz withdrew her name from consideration just prior to the state's Democratic convention. In a statement released on Thursday, May 20, she announced that not only would she not seek the office of state attorney general, but she would also not seek re-election in her current state governmental position. One of the mitigating factors for this course of action was finances. After having transferred all her gubernatorial campaign contributions into her campaign for attorney general, Bysiewicz is forbidden by state law from doing so for another race. In other words, to raise the financial capital necessary to run a successful campaign, she would have to start from scratch, which, at this late point, would be very difficult, if not impossible.
|Connecticut's Democratic Senate Primary Candidates|
|Poll||Christopher S. Murphy||Susan Bysiewicz||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Quinnipiac University Poll
(May 29-June 3, 2012)
|Public Policy Polling
(July 26-29, 2012)
|Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to|
|2006 Race for Secretary of State - Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by Primary Opponent||N/A|
|Total Raised by Gen. Election Opponent||$48,682|
|Top 5 Contributors|| Richard M. Leibert $1,500 (0.18% of Total)|
| Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 777 $1,500 (0.18%)|
| Leo Van Munching Jr. $1,500 (0.18%)|
| Tammy Levine $1,500 (0.18%)|
|Paul T. Breitenbach $1,500 (0.18%)|
|Other Notable Contributors||Connecticut Healthcare District 1199/SEIU $1,500 (0.18%)|
|Individuals v. Institutions||$742,505 (91.1%)|
|In v. Outside State||$767,326 (95.0%)|
Susan Bysiewicz currently resides in Middletown, Connecticut with her husband, David Donaldson, and their three children - Ava, Leyna, and Tristan. She is a practicing Roman Catholic.
- Official Connecticut Secretary of State website
- Susan Bysiewicz's Facebook profile
- Project Vote Smart - Susan Bysiewicz biography
- Susan Bysiewicz for Senate Campaign website
- Susan2010.com 2010 Campaign website
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from May 9, 2010.
- AP Results, "U.S. Senate Elections Results" accessed August 14, 2012
- Chris Murphy for U.S. Senate, "Another Bysiewicz Disaster: Attack Ad Hits Wrong Murphy" accessed July 20, 2012
- Fox News Dead voters still showing up on election records, puzzling officials" 4 June, 2008
- Scatterin' O' the Thoughts, "More ACORN arrests" 8 Oct. 2008
- General Statutes of Connecticut - Chapter 35, sec. 3-124
- Connecticut State Library - Constitution of the State of Connecticut
- Middletown Press, "Bysiewicz seeks legal opinion on ‘active practice’" 21 Jan. 2010
- WTIC "AG Says Bysiewicz's Qualifications Still Unclear" 2 Feb. 2010
- News Times, "Bysiewicz to ask court to rule on AG viability" 18 Feb. 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "Bysiewicz Questioned In Deposition For Lawsuit On Attorney General Campaign" 1 April, 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "Bysiewicz Asks Judge To Block Release Of Her Testimony In Lawsuit" 6 April, 2010
- New Haven Register, "1,000 pages of transcripts released in Bysiewicz case (docs)" 6 April, 2010
- Boston Herald, "Judge rules Susan Bysiewicz is qualified for Conn. AG" 5 May, 2010
- Republican American, "Bysiewicz database adds to political challenges" 15 May, 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "Bysiewicz Case: Court To Hear Appeal Next Week" 13 May, 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "Supreme Court Rules Against Bysiewicz" 19 May, 2010
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Cite error: Invalid
- Middletown Press, "Bysiewicz investigated for using taxpayer-funded database to aid her campaign" 7 Feb. 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "2 Democratic Rivals Criticize Bysiewicz's Use Of Database For Fundraising E-Mails" 12 Feb. 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "Bysiewicz's 'Notes' Criticized By GOP And By Democratic Rivals" 11 March, 2010
- The Hartford Courant, "GOP Prods AG On Bysiewicz Inquiry" 9 May, 2010
- Connecticut Secretary of State - Vote for Secretary of State 1998
- Connecticut Secretary of State - Vote for Secretary of State 2002
- Connecticut Secretary of State - Vote for Secretary of State 2006
- Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, "Connecticut's Rell Is Queen Of The Hill At Midterm, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Dodd Has Worst Approval Ever" 10 Feb. 2009
- Connecticut News, "Susan Bysiewicz Still Way Ahead In Democratic Run For Governor" 27 Oct. 2009
- The Middletown Press, "Bysiewicz to seek AG spot" 13 Jan. 2010
Miles S. Rapoport
|Connecticut Secretary of State
| Succeeded by|