Voters go the polls today in the 53rd House District of Ashford, Tolland and Willington to fill the seat left by the resignation of Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, D-Tolland, who took a post with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On the ballot are Democrat Anthony J. Horn of Ashford and Republican Sam Belsito of Tolland.

The GOP hopes 53 is a lucky number. Outnumbered 98-52 in the House, a win in the 53rd would give them 53 members. On paper, the district is competitive: Hurlburt won the seat by just 235 votes in 2010, 5,301 to 5,066.

With no one else on the ballot, special elections usually are won with the ground game: who can turn out voters in June. Polls are open until 8 p.m.

“With polls now open, it is important that voters in the 53rd District go out and vote,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said. “Significant decisions are being made in Hartford that will affect all of us, so I encourage voters in the 53rd District: make sure you have a voice in who represents you in state government.

“Voters can not only call us but contact us through email either from home or by a mobile device should any problems arise at the polls today.  We will respond to any situation as quickly as possible.”

Voters can contact Merrill’s office at 860-509-6100 or the State Elections Enforcement Commission at 860-256-2940 or by sending an email to

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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