GOP gains, but Democrats control CT General Assembly

Ted Kennedy Jr. celebrates his victory in the State Senate 12th District. He was supported by former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, far right, who was a friend of Kennedy's late father.

Marcia Chambers / The Branford Eagle

Ted Kennedy Jr. celebrates his victory in the State Senate 12th District. He was supported by former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, far right, who was a friend of Kennedy’s late father.  Kennedy’s win was one of at least 19 Democratic victories in state senate races.

Connecticut Democrats maintained their majority in the state Senate in Tuesday’s elections, winning 21 of 36 seats. House Democrats had a net loss of 10 seats, trimming their majority to 87 to 64.

Senate Republicans had hoped to win control of the chamber for the first time since 1996, but that dream quickly vanished Tuesday with victories in only 15 races.

With Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy the winner in the gubernatorial election, it matters little that the Senate Democrats do not hold a veto-proof majority, since the legislature never attempted override Malloy during his first term in office. However, with Democrats losing the seat held by Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford, the party no longer has the 22 votes needed to increase the constitutional spending cap.

In the Connecticut House of Representatives, Democrats held onto their majority, as expected. However, Republicans managed to gain 10 seats, bringing the chamber’s makeup to 87 Democrats and 64 Republicans.

The Connecticut State Senate chamber in Hartford.

The Connecticut State Senate chamber in Hartford.

The 64 House votes are the most votes House Republicans will have had since 1994.

“God I’m psyched,” House Majority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, R-Norwalk, yelled shortly after entering Republican gubernatorial challenger Tom Foley’s election night reception in Greenwich, referring to the GOP’s big gains in the General Assembly. “People say this is a blue state. We’re not as blue as people think it is.”

There were 36 seats in the House and Senate that faced no opponent in the general election and another 13 seats where the candidate faced no major party opposition.

Here are some highlights:
  • House Republicans unseated several Democratic incumbents including Joe Diminco of Manchester, Tom Vicino of Clinton, Ted Moukawsher of Groton, Elissa Wright of Groton, Timothy Bowles of Preston, Brian Sear of Canterbury, Christopher Wright of Bristol, Paul Davis of Orange and James Maroney of Milford.
  • House Republicans picked up seats vacated by Democratic Rep. Sandy Nafis of Newington and Rep. Betsy Ritter of Waterford.
  • Rep. Tony Hwang, R- Fairfield, won the open seat being vacated by Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield.
  • Rep. Mae Flexer, D-Danielson, won the open seat being vacated by Sen. President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn.
  • Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, defeated Republican challenger Len Suzio in the 13th District. She won the seat from Suzio two years ago.
  • Democrat Ted Kennedy Jr. won the open seat vacated by Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford.
  • State Sen. Andrew Maynard of Stonington was re-elected despite being hospitalized with a brain injury since a fall in July. His ability to serve is uncertain.
  • Republican Paul M. Formica of East Lyme won Stillman’s open seat, defeating Rep. Elizabeth Ritter, D-Waterford.
  • Republican Henri Martin of Bristol won the open seat in the 31st Senatorial District, which had been held by a Republican, Jason Welch.

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