The Capitol Beat: November 8, 2016

Connecticut GOP Ties Up Senate 18-18, Narrows Margin in House

Election day has come and gone, but its shockwaves are sure to be felt for some time on the national and state levels. As of 11 p.m., Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had prevailed in key Midwestern states, including Ohio,and was leading with 228 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 209 electoral votes. Michigan and Pennsylvania were still too close to call. California and numerous other western states had not been tallied.

Meanwhile, Republicans appeared poised to gain a net three seats in the state Senate, leaving it deadlocked at 18-18. Republicans unofficially appeared to have picked up:

  • 13th District – Former Republican state Sen. Len Suzio defeated Democrat Dante Bartolomeo of Meriden.
  • 17th District – George Logan defeated longtime Democratic Sen. Joe Crisco of Hamden.
  • 18th District – Heather Somers defeated Timothy Bowles in the open seat being vacated by Sen. Andrew M. Maynard, D- Stonington.

Going into the election, Democrats held a 21-15 edge in the Senate with two open seats – one Democrat and one Republican. Though the Democratic Lt. Governor, Nancy Wyman would be the tiebreaking vote, the new dynamic forces the need to reach consensus on major policy issues, beginning with the budget. The 2017 General Assembly is going to have to wrestle with a projected 2018 budget deficit of $1.2 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, in the state House of Representatives, Republicans were looking as if they would gain about a net 7 seats, 5 shy of a majority. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Democrats held an 87-64 vote majority in the state House. Among the House Democrats who lost were: state Reps. Betty Boukus of Plainvil;le; Phil Miller of Essex; Ed Jutila of Niantic (open seat); Christine Randall; David Alexander; Peggy Sayers of Windsor Locks(open seat); Roberta Willis of Lakeville (open seat); David Kiner of Enfield; David Zoni; Mary Fritz of Wallingford (open seat); and Theresa Conroy. Republicans appeared to have lost seats occupied by state Reps. John Scott , Andre Bumgardner of Groton, and Mike Alberts of Woodstock.

Note: There were still numerous races for which no results were available. Results are subject to change.

The last time the GOP held majorities in both chambers was in 1985-86 after the Reagan landslide.

In short, it will take good old-fashioned negotiating and bipartisanship to reach agreement on major policy issues in the CT General Assembly in the upcoming legislative session. More than a third of the bipartisan committees, at a minimum, will have new leadership in 2017. That list includes six legislative committee chairs, two vice chairs, and six minority leaders.

Democrats Handily Hold onto Congressional Seats

Finally, there were no surprises in CT’s five Congressional district races: incumbent U.S. Reps. John B. Larson, D-1, Joe Courtney, D-2, Rosa DeLauro, D-3, Jim Himes, D-4, and Elizabeth Esty, D-5, skated to victory. And, despite a spirited challenge from Republican state Rep. Dan Carter, R-Bethel, U. S. Senator Richard Blumenthal was overwhelmingly re-elected to a 2nd, six-year term.

Hold onto your hats, this is just the beginning!Political blog/results:

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