Connecticut State Capitol. Yehyun Kim /

The 71st House District of Waterbury and Middlebury will remain in Republican hands as William Pizzuto claimed a lopsided victory in a special election Tuesday to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Rep. Tony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury.

Pizzuto, a recently retired administrator at the University of Connecticut in Waterbury who lives in Middlebury, celebrated his unofficial win less than a half hour after the polls closed on a windy and rain-swept election night. 

His opponent, Democrat John M. Egan of Waterbury, was attempting to become the first Democrat to capture the seat in at least a quarter century.

Results gathered by the GOP showed Pizzuto carrying all precincts and winning by more than 900 votes. Unofficial results posted later on the secretary of the state’s web site showed Pizzuto with nearly 74% of the vote and a turnout of 13%.

Once certified, the victory will leave the House with a 96-54 Democratic majority and one vacancy in a district that favors Democrats, the 5th of Hartford and Windsor. It will be filled by a special election next week.

D’Amelio, a restaurant owner, resigned the part-time legislative post to focus on his business.

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.