Election Results Bring Many Changes to Connecticut’s General Assembly

Governor Dannel Malloy won reelection this week and will go to work with a General Assembly in January that remains under Democratic control but will have several new leaders and a bigger presence from state Republicans. 

[Complete list of legislative winners | Visit CBIA's Election 2014 website for legislative results and a searchable candidate database.]

In winning a second term, Gov. Malloy took 51% of the vote to GOP candidate Tom Foley's 48%, with a 27,348-vote margin.

Voter turnout was robust, likely surpassing the expected 55% and registering possibly as high as 65%, according to the Secretary of the State's office. Most of the state races were very close this year, which is very unusual.  

Work Ahead

The next legislative session is going to be a critical one for Connecticut. Lawmakers will have to adopt a new, two-year state budget--and make Connecticut more inviting to private-sector investment, if we are to grow our economy and create more opportunities for good, well-paying jobs. 

CBIA and dozens of other organizations are supporting the CT20x17 campaign and its goal of making Connecticut a top 20 state in terms of economic competitiveness by 2017. The campaign will soon release a plan for achieving that goal. 

New Faces

There will be many new faces in the General Assembly in January as voters elected 33 new lawmakers due to incumbents deciding not to run again, choosing to run for other office, or being defeated. 

Several key legislative leadership changes also are in store for 2015, as Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams (D-Brooklyn), Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield), and House Republican Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) all did not seek reelection.

This week, Senate Democrats named Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) as the new president pro tem, and Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) was tapped as majority leader.

Senate Republicans elected Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) their minority leader, and their House counterparts picked Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) to be the first woman GOP minority leader. 

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden), and House Majority Leader Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), were chosen by House Democrats to continue in their leadership roles.

More Changes

In other changes, three current state representatives—Tim Larson (D-East Hartford), Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), and Mae Flexer (D-Danielson)—won election to the Senate.

In addition, several committees will have different chairs in 2015.

Environment Committee chair Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), Finance chair Pat Widlitz (D-Guilford), Commerce chair Sen. Gary LeBeau (D-Broad Brook), and Education chair Sen. Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford) all chose not to run again. Sen. Anthony Musto (D-Trumbull), chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, was defeated in a primary by Sen.-elect Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport).

Their replacements as committee chairs will be named later this year.

New Numbers

The Senate will have 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans, with the GOP picking up one seat. East Lyme First Selectman and business owner Paul Formica defeated Democrat State Rep. Elizabeth Ritter (D-Quaker Hill) to win the 20th Senate District seat left vacant by the retirement of State Sen. Andrea Stillman.

In another notable Senate race,  Hwang defeated State Rep. Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield) to win the Senate seat vacated by McKinney.

In the House, the GOP picked up 10 seats to make the new tally 87 Democrats and 64 Republicans--the most seats that party has held in the chamber since 1994, former Gov. Rowland’s first term.

House Republicans unseated Democratic incumbents Joe Diminico of Manchester, Tom Vicino of Clinton, Ted Moukawsher of Groton, Timothy Bowles of Preston, Brian Sear of Canterbury, Christopher Wright of Bristol, Paul Davis of Orange, Elissa Wright of Groton, and James Maroney of Milford.

In Stamford, Democrat Caroline Simmons defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Michael Molgano.

Unlike after many recent state elections, there will be no recounts in Senate or House races, according to the Secretary of the State, because no margins of victory slipped under the recount threshold of one half of one percent.

State Officers

Democrats swept all races for statewide officers, including Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who won re-election as part of the gubernatorial ticket with Gov. Malloy.

Other returning incumbents include State Treasurer Denise Nappier, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, and Attorney General George Jepsen.  

Congress

All five Democrat incumbents won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, but they will return to a significantly different Congress. The GOP regained control of the U.S. Senate, and Republicans added to their advantage in the U.S. House.

Stay Involved

In addition to settling the political races, voters also rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have enabled the legislature to significantly expand Connecticut’s voting rules.    

Now that the election is over, it’s very important for citizens to stay engaged in the issues driving Connecticut’s economic recovery and competitiveness.

The 2015 legislative session begins Wednesday, January 7.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 | bonnie.stewart@cbia.com | @CBIAbonnie

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