State House Republican candidate questioned by State Troopers while campaigning in Middlefield

MIDDLEFIELD – A woman running for a state house seat is outraged after she said she was stopped by two state troopers last week in Middlesex County and she said it was because of her race.

Reverend Ernestine Holloway is a Republican running for the 82nd House District. She said she and her supporters were campaigning in Middlefield and Rockfall last week when state troopers stopped her on two separate days.

Now, Holloway wants an apology.

“I feel targeted because I’m African American and a Republican,” said Rev. Holloway.

Holloway said she and a dozen of her supporters were going door-to-door passing out literature until a state trooper approached her and asked her if she had a peddler’s permit.

“Do you have a permit? I said ‘a permit for what? We’re not soliciting, we’re not asking for any money. Why do I need a permit?’,” added Rev. Holloway.

She said the state trooper told her he was called for a report of a house burglary in the area of where she was campaigning. The next day, Reverend Holloway was also stopped by a trooper asking if her car had broken down because she pulled her car over to the side of the road.

It was later learned that the trooper who allegedly asked Holloway for a permit, also worked for Susan Bysiewicz, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

“I found out that he also knew the process. He worked for the lady that’s running for lieutenant governor – Susan Bysiewicz I think her name is? So he knew the process and the fact that he’s saying that he did not ask for a permit,” added Rev. Holloway.

Bysiewicz told FOX 61 in a statement:

“The reports on this incident are deeply disturbing to me. As the former Secretary of the State, I believe in fair and open elections, and I have zero tolerance for any group or person who would hinder our democratic process. The officer involved in this situation was an occasional volunteer driver for me. As soon as the details were shared with me, we severed ties.”

Senator Chris Murphy also offered his thoughts on Twitter and said:

“This is very concerning and deserves a full investigation.”

“In the beginning of this process, you have to collect 150 names and they have to give you $5, so 11 people in that town gave me $5  so did I break the law? And if I did, we need to fix it so when someone else is campaigning, they don’t go through what I go through,” added Rev. Holloway.

FOX61 reached out to Connecticut State Police who issued a statement that said:

“We hold our troopers to the highest standards of conduct. Immediately upon hearing of Rev. Holloway’s experience, State Police leadership referred the matter to Professional Standards which has generated a Complaint number and is actively gathering information so as to thoroughly and expeditiously address this matter in its entirety, and in accordance with agency policy.”

There is no permit needed for political canvassing. Reverend Holloway said she ended up going to Middlefield Town Hall to get a peddler’s permit anyway even though it was not needed.

Since the incident, she said she has not continued to campaign there because of her experience.