A week after Election Day, voters in Connecticut’s 17th state senate district still do not know who will represent them in Hartford come January.
Incumbent Republican Sen. George Logan, R-Hamden, currently leads by 65 votes over his Democratic opponent — Hamden resident and Local 919 organizer Jorge Cabrera — according to the latest election results from the office of Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill. With 25 out of 25 precincts reporting, Logan garnered 18,513 votes compared to Cabrera’s 18,448 votes — leading the race by a 0.16 margin. Due to the tight margin of victory, the district started a recount on Monday that will review the final tally and will finish by Wednesday.
“Our goal is to make sure every single vote is counted,” Cabrera told the News. “At this point, this is bigger than me; this is bigger than any political party. It’s vital that voters have faith in our election process and that our results are accurate.”
Logan did not concede even after Senate Democrats declared victory for Cabrera last Wednesday — when results with all precincts reporting showed the Democrat in the lead. But during a celebratory lunch with his colleagues in the senate on Thursday, Cabrera learned that the final results indicated that Logan had received more votes.
“There will likely be a recount soon, but we are now confident that we won,” Cabrera said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “The close numbers in this race reflect the many divisions that exist in our state and our nation. I ran to unite people and I will go up to Hartford to do the same.”
Logan, who also works as the director of environmental management at Aquarion Water Company, was first elected in 2016 after defeating Democrat Joe Crispo. When elected, he became Connecticut’s only black Republican senator and the Senate Republican Majority Whip.
A Quinnipiac graduate, Cabrera worked as a legislative aide for the first female Speaker of the House in Connecticut before going on to work as a union advocate. He was endorsed by former President Barack Obama on Oct. 1.
The recount will take place for Derby on Monday, for Ansonia and Naugatuck on Tuesday and for Beacon Falls, Bethany, Hamden and Woodbridge on Wednesday.
Logan attributed his district’s close race and the overall Connecticut blue wave to dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and national politics. In last Tuesday’s midterm elections, young voters — especially women — contributed to Democrats flipping at least five seats in the senate.
“We certainly have a divided community in my 17th district, and I think that’s indicative of what we have here in the state of Connecticut as well,” Logan said in a panel discussion with Connecticut Republicans on WFSB’s Face the State. “I tried to tell folks during the campaign that there’s a difference in terms of what’s going on in Washington and what’s going on here in Connecticut.”
On Monday at 4 p.m., the Cabrera campaign held a rally and press conference in front of the Ansonia Town Hall to “stand up for truth” in light of “new votes released in Ansonia two days after the election, and various explanations as to the source of this change,” according to the Facebook event.
State Democrats threatened legal action on Thursday in response to conflicting reports from Ansonia election officials.
“The lack of transparency and consistency raises grave concerns about the integrity of the outcome of the election,” said Connecticut Democratic Party Chair Nick Balletto in a statement. “The Democratic party will seek any and all remedies to get to the truthful answer, including availing ourselves of the Superior Court and calling witnesses to testify.”
On Election Day, polling places across the state and country faced criticisms of voter suppression and inadequate preparation for high voter turnouts. Starting around 3:30 p.m., New Haven residents standing in line for same-day voter registration at City Hall were told there was no guarantee that they would be registered by the 8 p.m. deadline.
Several other races nationwide are also still up in the air, including the much-anticipated gubernatorial race in Florida between Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis ’01 and Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum. Due to small margins at the top of the Sunshine State’s ballot, a statewide recount started on Sunday and must be concluded by Thursday.
Additionally, in the highly contested gubernatorial race in Georgia between Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams LAW ’99, civil rights groups filed complaints on behalf of early voters who believed that voting machines had deleted Democratic votes or had switched them to Republican votes.
In general, turnout in the midterm election was remarkably high for a nonpresidential election. In the 2016 election, both Logan and his opponent garnered more than 2,000 votes each, granting Logan a 2 percent margin of victory. Every state senate district represents almost 100,000 residents.
Regardless of the outcome in the 17th district, the Democratic party still won big on Election Night — Democrat Ned Lamont SOM ’80 will move into the governor’s mansion after a narrow victory over Republican Bob Stefanowski, while Democrats won resounding majorities in both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, breaking an 18–18 tie in the state senate.
Connecticut’s 17th district encompasses the towns of Hamden, Woodbridge, Ansonia, Derby, Beacon Falls, Bethany and Naugatuck.
Nathalie Bussemaker | email@example.com