New Haven — Despite—or perhaps with the help of—a last-minute blast of negative campaign mailings by his opponent, state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield cruised to an election victory Tuesday, winning the open 10th District state Senate seat with 76 percent of the vote.
Holder-Winfield, a Democrat, defeated Republican Steven Mullins to win the seat, which was vacated by Toni Harp when she became mayor of New Haven.
Unofficial returns from all polling places, collected at the Holder-Winfield campaign gathering at the Olive Garden, showed him with 3,236 votes to Mullins’ 1,045. Around 200 absentee ballots also remained to be counted.
Holder-Winfield withstood an 11th-hour barrage of mailings, TV ads and robo-calls tying him to “sexual predators” and a 4-year-old quashed bill, which he had nothing to do with, that would have created a statewide income tax.
“I hope to be a good senator for you. And if I’m not, I hope you let me know, because that’s how I maintain the type of advocacy I’ve done,” Holder-Winfield said in a speech thanking supporters. He was flanked by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and by his wife Natalie Holder-Winfield.
Holder-Winfield called the results a repudiation of “scare tactics” and negative campaigning.
“Truth, honesty and integrity matter,” he said.
Mullins’ campaign fell particularly flat in New Haven’s black community despite a pitch tailored directly to African-American churchgoers.
Holder-Winfield is currently the state representative from New Haven’s 94th General Assembly District. His election to the state Senate paves the way for a special election for the state representative seat. Former Alderman Charles Blango, a Democrat, has already announced that he will seek the seat. Rey Harp also has expressed interest. Harp is director of Renaissance Management, a real-estate company founded by his late brother Wendell (the husband of current Mayor Toni Harp).
Read a more detailed version of the story and more about the election here.