Connecticut may be known for its steady habits, but on Election Day, some voters expressed their electoral independence. In many General Assembly House and Senate districts, voters picked different parties up and down their ballot depending on the candidate.
In the 53rd House District, GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski received more votes that Democrat Ned Lamont. But voters ultimately decided that they wanted a change in their representation in Hartford. Representative Sam Belsito (R – Tolland) was unseated by Democrat Pat Wilson Pheanious, a major shift in the political leanings of that area.
“He is very conservative and there’s a lot of young families, a lot of progressives,” said Mary Anne Delaney-Tuttle, who’s lived in the district for years, and served on the Tolland Town Council for 17 years.
“We have a strong influence from the university and you know, university areas tend to be socially liberal which is why they went with Pat,” she said.
Rural parts of Connecticut were not the only places to see this trend.
Republicans in Fairfield fared very well, despite Lamont winning their town. GOP representatives Laura Devlin and Brenda Kupchick each won re-election, and Sen. Tony Hwang also won reelection by 1,941 votes. Lamont edged out his win in Fairfield by 1,069 votes.
On Connecticut’s shoreline, Bob Stefanowski was successful in his hometown of Madison, and he won more votes overall in the State Senate district which includes Guilford, Branford, North Branford, Durham, and Killingworth in addition to Madison.
However, the incumbent State Representative Noreen Kokoruda, (R – Madison), currently facing a recount in her bid for re-election, is currently trailing her Democratic opponent, John-Michael Parker, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of the State.
Elsewhere in the district, Christine Cohen, the Democrat running for the open state Senate, defeated Republican Adam Greenberg.
Stefanowski won four of the six towns in the 12th Senate District, but Ned Lamont lost by a narrow margin.
Cohen says even with those results, she has to show voters she represents the entire district and not simply the areas where she performed well.
“I’m representing the district and I have worked together across the aisle with all types of people for many years. Some may agree with your standpoint, some may not, but ultimately I want to bring everybody’s voice to Hartford and represent them as best I can,” Cohen said.
“I think we all recognize that there has been hyperpolarization going on across the country and certainly it’s no different in the state of Connecticut and in the 12th district, and so I recognize that.”
Even though much was made of the impact that President Donald Trump or Gov. Dannel Malloy may have had in Connecticut’s elections, in numerous instances, voters appeared to be looking to make far different statements than simply responding to a sitting president or an outgoing governor.