Decision 2021

Decision 2021: Considering the Impacts of Some of CT's Key Races

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NBC 5 News

Connecticut's Election results are in, and Dr. Jonathan Wharton, an associate professor of political science and urban affairs at Southern Connecticut State University, sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to discuss what it all means.

There were several key races this year. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, a Republican, secured a fifth term leading her city Tuesday night. And in Stamford, Democrat Caroline Simmons was elected mayor. Wharton says despite Simmons' win, her competitor Bobby Valentine did make an impact.

"It was more of the fact that by Valentine, you know, ran as an unaffiliated candidate. That speaks a lot towards a real possibility of not just you know, Stamford, but other towns can a candidate run as undeclared and win city-wide, or even town-wide. And that's kind of the great anomaly in Connecticut, because we have our close primary system, or party affiliations do matter when it comes to choosing a candidate."

Wharton also said West Haven was an interesting race to watch. There will be a recount in that mayoral race, with Democratic incumbent Nancy Rossi up by just 29 votes over Republican Barry Lee Cohen.

And if Cohen does take the win, West Haven will be one of more than a dozen municipalities in the state that turned Republican in this election.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont brushed it off, when asked about how this could affect 2022 when he's up for reelection.

Wharton says these changes are just part of our unique state.

One expert explained that national elections tend to see higher turnout, but local elections usually see half that.

"This is really kind of a snapshot of what the current issues and problems are right now at the local level. So it's very difficult to, you know, say that this is going to somehow transcend into next year, because it could be a whole nother set of problems and issues that come up between now and then," Wharton said.

"Remember, we have 169 different municipalities in the state, we tend to overlook that. And we can't ignore it because they're gonna have different issues, different causes, different candidates. And it's not a unifying factor every time it comes to local races ….They're all very, very different. And so that is Connecticut," he added.

For more election results, click here.

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