Democrats swept the 2018 Connecticut state elections, as Democratic nominee Ned Lamont SOM ’80 narrowly won the gubernatorial election and Democrats gained full control of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Lamont’s victory came after a tight race, which polls deemed a toss-up on the eve of the vote. It took until the morning following the election for Lamont to be declared the victor by 3.2 percentage points. In the Connecticut General Assembly, Democrats added to their control of the state House of Representatives, picking up 92 seats to the Republican’s 59 seats. Democrats also gained control of the state Senate — which had previously been split evenly between the two parties — by picking up four Republican seats, making the Senate 22–14 in favor of the Democrats. The national delegation stayed completely blue, with incumbents U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven, holding on to their seats in landslide wins.
“I’m with you. I’m with Connecticut,” Lamont said in his victory speech. “I love this state. That’s why I’m so proud to be your governor, and we’re gonna get this state moving again.”
The 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial election was one of the most contested in the nation, as then-Gov. Dannel Malloy, a democrat with a 14.6 percent approval rating as of October 2018, decided not to seek reelection. Lamont, a 2006 candidate for the U.S. Senate and the co-chair of the Connecticut campaign for former U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 run, entered the race against Bob Stefanowski, a former General Electric and UBS executive.
Throughout the race, Lamont likened his opponent to President Trump, while Stefanowski drew parallels between Lamont and the unpopular Gov. Malloy. Stefanowski also tried to emphasize the difference between his working-class background and Lamont’s wealthy upbringing.
Although Stefanowski trailed for much of the election, a late push made the race a toss-up going into election day. Early in election night, Stefanowski stayed ahead of Lamont by as much as five percentage points, as early-reporting rural areas went predominantly in his favor. But Connecticut’s cities, including New Haven, voted overwhelmingly for Lamont, allowing him to securely win the race by the morning. Lamont carried New Haven with 84.3 percent of the vote.
“While this is not the result we would have hoped for, I am glad that we were able to draw so much attention to the tax burden in this state,” Stefanowski said in his concession statement. “At the beginning of this race, we were laser-focused on cutting taxes, while other candidates were talking about raising taxes.”
Democrats won Connecticut General Assembly elections at levels that reflected the “blue wave” that swept the national congressional elections. Several young Democrats defeated multi-term incumbents to take back the state Senate, while also picking up 12 seats in the House.
New Haven’s delegation to the Connecticut General Assembly stayed solidly Democratic. State Sens. Gary Winfield and Martin Looney both won reelection with over 80 percent of the vote, while Democratic state representatives Pat Dillon, Robin Porter, Juan Candelaria, Roland Lemar and Al Paolillo all earned at least three-quarters of the vote.
One of the key upsets occured in the District 26 state Senate race, where Will Haskell, a 22-year-old Georgetown graduate who earned President Barack Obama’s endorsement, defeated long-time Republican incumbent Toni Boucher.
“I wrote two speeches tonight, and I am so happy I’m giving this one,” Haskell said in his victory speech, according to the Hartford Courant. “This campaign started with the crazy idea to challenge someone who has been in Hartford as long as I’ve been alive. Every generation deserves a seat at the table, and no one is entitled to another term because they’ve been there a long time.”
Although the gubernatorial race may have been a nail-biter, Connecticut races for the U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate proved to be fairly straightforward. Sen. Chris Murphy won a second term by 20 percentage points over Republican challenger and small business owner Matt Corey, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro defeated her opponent, truck driver and Marine Corps veteran Angel Cadena, by 29 percentage points.
The rest of the Connecticut congressional delegation also stayed blue, with Democrats winning the other four U.S House of Representatives elections.
“This country is poised to send an historic message to President Donald Trump, but also to ourselves and to the world,” DeLauro said in her victory speech in New Haven. “We have a new Democratic Party in power — more than 270 women were candidates for the U.S. House, Senate or governor seats, more than 210 people of color and more than 25 people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It is the new American coalition.”
The 2018 midterm elections took place on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Amelia Davidson | firstname.lastname@example.org