As America absorbs the improbabilty of Donald Trump as President-elect, suddenly, but quietly Connecticut’s Republican party is starting to make some inroads.
Even though the state went to Hillary Clinton (thanks to leftist enclave big cities Stamford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich) the nutmeg GOP made some inroads into Governor Dannel Malloy’s wall.
The Hartford Courant reports in the state Senate, there may be an 18-18 tie, as some races have yet to be decided. (NOTE: with Nancy Wyman as Lt. Governor as the tie breaking vote, Democrats still runs the state Senate). The last time the Senate was tied was in 1893 when the total was 12 to 12 in a then 24-member Senate.
In one matchup, longtime Democratic incumbent Joseph Crisco, lost against Republican newcomer George Logan, in the 17th Senate District, which stretches from Woodbridge into the Naugatuck Valley. Republicans criticized Crisco for a videotaped interview in which he said he did not vote for the two largest tax increases in state history that were signed by Governor Dan Malloy; a sign of weakness in Malloy’s armor.
Republicans declared Logan, who runs governmental affairs for the state’s biggest water company, Aquarion Water, would benefit from a spillover of votes for Trump in working-class communities like Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Derby. Democrats claimed Crisco is well known in the district and has won every race since November 1992 when Lowell Weicker was governor.
In another GOP win, State Senator Joe Markley of Southington won re-election to a fourth term, and he said Malloy’s unpopularity (he’s at a 24% approval rating in the most recent Quinnipiac poll) helped fuel his win.
“People are not happy with Gov. Malloy and this reflects that,” he said.
Markley has been a critic of many Malloy administration tax and spending and economic development policies. He has called them insufficient to boost Connecticut’s slow-growth economy. In his race, Markley beat Democratic challenger Ryan Rogers.
There was also some gains in the House for Republicans as well, shrinking their minority to 25 to 21.
But one of the most watched races in the state was also its most emotional…and most mature in the end.
Dr. William Petit, the Cheshire man who lost his wife and two children to two crazed gunmen in 2007, ran as a Republican in the 22nd District, including the New Haven County enclave against Democratic State Representative Elizabeth “Betty” Boukus.
At one point, according to WFSB Channel 3, the race turned dirty thanks to outside interference form within the state.
“Petit was targeted by a digital ad, paid for by Labor United Connecticut, a political action committee, roping him in with Donald Trump” the station reported.
Petit denounced the ad as he ran on not guns but the more important problems of the state budget saying “I feel they’re quite malicious and attacks my character and reputation and have absolutely no truth.”
Even Boukos herself condemned the ad.
“I have known the Petit family forever, it’s a clean race. I run for the position. I don’t run against anyone,” she said.
Petit ran on the budget and won beating the 22-year veteran as she conceded the race as seen in this photo
A tear seemed to form in this blogger’s eye as it was seen around CT’s blogosphere of two adults showing yes even the two main presidential candidates how it’s done. To these two, a job well done. It gives one a true sense of hope for this state.
In two years CT will elect its next governor. If the GOP continues to make the budget and lost jobs an issue and they choose the right candidate, like Joe Visconti who ran seemingly third party in 2014 or economist Peter Schiff, the Nutmeg State could come into play in the 2020 presidential race.