August 31, 2000
RUNNING FOR TWO OFFICES
By: Mary M. Janicki, Assistant Director
You want to know if Connecticut law prohibits an individual from running for two state offices at the same election. You also want to know the rationale for the federal provision that permits an individual to run for two federal offices at the same time.
Under the state and federal constitutions and laws, an individual can run for more than one office at the same election, but generally cannot be sworn in or serve in two different positions.
Connecticut law does not ban a person from running for two state offices at the same election, but the state's constitution and statutes prohibit anyone from being sworn in and holding two different offices, if one is a legislative position.
Federal law is silent on the issue of running for more than one office, so it is difficult to speculate on the rationale for the permission to do so. The matter has been left to the states to decide and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulates the campaigns of individuals who are candidates for more than one federal office or a federal office and a state office. However, the U.S. Constitution prohibits anyone who holds any federal office from also being a member of Congress.
A person can run for two different offices at the same state election, but the so-called dual job ban prohibits an individual from serving in the General Assembly and any position in the executive or judicial departments of state government during the term for which he was elected (regardless of whether he resigns from his legislative office) (Ct. Const. Art. III, § 11 and CGS § 2-5).
An individual can run for different offices, giving voters the option to elect the person to either or both offices. However, a candidate elected to the legislature cannot serve in any other capacity. The legislative history of the statute indicates that the General Assembly was responding to citizens' objections to legislators holding more than one state elected or appointed position. Representative Louis Shapiro, a sponsor of the original legislation, remarked at the public hearing on the bill:
I think the feeling has become predominant that those who serve in the General Assembly should not use their position in the General Assembly to secure appointments in the state government. (Judiciary Committee Proc., 1951 Sess. March 13, 1951, p.2.)
In 1958, a provision was added to the Connecticut Constitution and later adopted as part of the 1965 Constitution that duplicates the statutory dual job ban. Senator Shannon stated the purpose of the constitutional ban was to make firm the general statutory dual job ban (Senate Proc., 1957, p. 1084).
Federal law does not speak to the issue of a person running for more than one office at the same election. But the U.S. Constitution includes the following disqualification:
…and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office (Art. I, § 6).
With respect to running, in fact, FEC regulations specifically permit dual candidacy. They require the following:
If an individual is a candidate for more than one Federal office, or for a Federal office and a State office, he or she must designate separate principal campaign committees and establish completely separate campaign organizations (11 CFR § 110.8(d) (2000)).
Federal office is defined as the office of President or Vice President, senator or representative in Congress, or delegate or resident commissioner to Congress.