Tammy Exum.
Tammy Exum.

Tammy Exum, a Democratic former member of the Board of Education in West Hartford, won a special election Tuesday in the 19th House District of West Hartford, Farmington and Avon.

Exum, 51, will succeed Derek Slap, a Democrat who resigned from the House after winning a special election for the state Senate on Feb. 26. Her victory over Republican Robert Margolis, 60, of Avon will give the Democrats a 90-60 advantage in the House, with one vacant seat.

Unofficial results collected by the secretary of the state’s office showed Exum winning easily in a district long held by a string of Democrats from West Hartford, making her the second African American elected from a suburban or rural district in the past five months. The other is Rep. Pat Wilson Pheanious, D-Ashford.

With all six precincts reporting, Exum won with 65 percent of the vote, 2,407 to 1,391.

She carried her hometown of West Hartford, 1,953 to 848. They tied with 364 votes each in Avon.  Margolis won Farmington, 106 to 90. Turnout was 21 percent.

Bridgeport voters will go to the polls in the 130th House District on May 7 to elect a successor to Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, who died last month of an apparent heart attack.

Exum and Margolis each qualified for public financing under the state’s Citizens’ Election Program.

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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