Connecticut voters have returned all five Democratic incumbents to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney and Rosa DeLauro coasted to victories in lopsided contests in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts, respectively; Rep. Elizabeth Esty defeated Republican challenger Mark Greenberg in the 5th; and Rep. Jim Himes fended off a well-funded challenge from Republican Dan Debicella in the 4th.
Nationally, voters were in a restless mood and incumbent Democrats lost seats from coast-to-coast, leaving both houses of Congress in Republican control.
DeLauro, D- 3rd District, thanked her supporters and especially the members of her family, including her 100-year-old mother Luisa.
“Both my parents taught me the value of hard work — my Mom never let me forget it. Thank you, Mom, for your guidance, and my Dad, who I know is watching over me today. I love you both,” DeLauro said.
But she also spoke about the political realities of this mid-term election.
“I know a lot of races across the country will be coming down to the wire, and we are all anxious about the U.S. Senate races across the country,” DeLauro said. But I look forward to moving ahead on the issues Connecticut families care about, whoever holds the gavel on the other side of the Capitol.”
Greenberg, a Republican who ran against Esty in a hard-fought campaign, told supporters he had about 49 percent of the votes, but “we don’t have the capability of making this up.” This was Greenberg’s third try for the 5th District congressional race. He said he would not run again.
In the 4th District, Debicella, conceded in his second bid to unseat Himes. Both Debicella and Greenberg had each spent more than $1 million on their campaigns.
“It feels good. It feels great and humbling,” Himes said of his win. “But the news nationally is not good for Democrats.”
Democrats hoped to limit their losses in the U.S. House of Representatives. Analysts predicted a loss of as many as 12 to 15 Democratic House seats in the next Congress.
Currently there are 199 Democrats in the House and 233 Republicans.
DeLauro had been challenged by Republican James Brown, a teacher from Stratford who was making his first bid for a political office.
“While I am disappointed with tonight’s results, I accept the will of the voters,” Brown said in a statement. “Over the past five months, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who are not happy with the direction of our country. I hope my opponent spends her 13th term truly listening to the people.”
DeLauro said Brown “ran a spirited campaign, based on his convictions and principles.”
“I appreciate the challenge, and the time and effort he has put in as an educator,” she said.
Courtney, D-2nd District, ran against New London Republican Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh, Green Party candidate William Clyde of Madison and Libertarian David Reale of Norwich.
Larson’s challengers were Republican Matthew Corey of Manchester and Green Party candidate Jeffrey Russell of Glastonbury.
Larson was impatient with the counting of the ballots and did not wait for official results to give his victory speech.
Part of the delay in counting the 1st District votes was attributed to the late closing of polls in Hartford that were kept open for an additional half-hour to try to make up for a snafu in the city’s precincts that kept some from voting.
“In the old precincts, before 9 p.m. we had the results from all around the district,” Larson said. “There’s got to be a better way.”
He said he told his supporters “the realization is that tomorrow we start anew.”