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August 20, 2019Cart

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by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Dems make gains on state, national level; Cuomo re-elected, Lamont wins CT

Both New York and Connecticut have Democratic governors. Andrew Cuomo was named the winner of the New York gubernatorial race shortly after polls closed last night, while Republican Bob Stefanowski conceded the Connecticut race to Ned Lamont this morning.

“A few moments ago, I called Ned Lamont to concede the race for governor and congratulate him on a hard-fought victory,’’ Stefanowski said in a statement. “I wish both Ned and the state of Connecticut success over these next four years.

Lamont

“While this is not the result we would have hoped for,” the Republican continued, “I am glad that we were able to draw so much attention to the tax burden in this state. Think about it – at the beginning of this race, we were laser-focused on cutting taxes, while other candidates were talking about raising taxes. We were able to mold the discussion in such a way that the other candidates slowly began to come around to the same conclusion to varying degrees.”

Unofficial results showed Lamont up nearly 18,000 votes to Stefanowski with 94 percent of the state reporting, according to the office of Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who also won re-election.

“I’m humbled and I want every resident to know how grateful I am for this extraordinary honor,” Lamont said. “I will work every day – honestly and thoughtfully – to move this state forward and be a champion for Connecticut.”

In congratulating Lamont, outgoing Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy took a swipe at President Donald Trump: “Connecticut spoke loud and clear that we stand for fairness, inclusivity, and decency – that the politics of President Trump have no home here, that we resoundingly reject his politics of division, falsehoods and empty promises

“Unquestionably, Connecticut has forward momentum,” Malloy continued, “and of all the candidates on the ballot for these offices, they are, by far, the best suited to keep the state moving in the right direction. Under their leadership, Connecticut’s future remains bright.”

The Partnership for Strong Communities, Connecticut’s leading nonpartisan housing policy and advocacy organization, issued a statement congratulating Lamont.

“As his administration aims to bring new business development to Connecticut and expand economic opportunity for families, we urge the governor-elect to prioritize the continued progress towards ending homelessness, and preservation and expansion of affordable housing options for all residents across the state,” PSC Executive Director Alicia Woodsby said.

“With the sixth-highest median housing costs in the country, Connecticut’s high cost of living creates a substantial burden to families’ budgets and to economic growth for local communities and businesses alike,” she said. “Connecticut should be a place anyone can call home, no matter their race, income or hometown, and we hope to see the new administration make that a reality.”

In addition, Democrats are now in control of both state legislatures, reflecting the general national trend. Of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats are now in control of that chamber, wresting control from Republicans: the latest count was 219-193, with 23 seats yet to be declared. On the U.S. Senate side, Republicans maintained control by a 51-43 majority, with four seats yet to be called.

As expected, incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cruised past Republican challenger and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro by a 59-36.8 percent majority, with 99 percent of the votes counted. Cuomo, who was first elected in 2010, will begin his third term in January.

“I am humbled by the support of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in his acceptance speech in Manhattan. “I am gratified by their trust. I will work every day to vindicate the confidence that the people of the state of New York have put in me.”

The governor also underscored what many believed the midterm elections nationwide to be: a referendum on Trump and his policies.

“New York is not buying what President Trump is selling,” Cuomo said. “We know his type too well.”

Cuomo has repeatedly dismissed persistent talk that he has an eye on running for the presidency in 2020 – talk which is likely to heat up again after his strong showing last night.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, another potential 2020 candidate, was also easily re-elected, besting Republican challenger Chele Chiavacci Farley, a financial industry veteran and political newcomer, by a 66.6-33.4 percent majority. Democrat Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, became the first African-American woman to be elected state attorney general, defeating Republican lawyer Keith Wofford by a 60.9-33.1 percent majority. Democrat State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli dispatched his Republican rival Jonathan Trichter, 65-29.8 percent.

On the U.S. House of Representatives side, Democrats held all three Westchester County districts: Eliot Engel of the 16th District ran unopposed; Nita Lowey held the 17th with an 87.9-12.1 percent majority over Joe Ciardullo; and Sean Maloney bested James O’Donnell in the 18th, 55.1-44.9 percent.

The Democratic Party won at least 35 of the state Senate’s 63 seats as of late Tuesday night, ending the longstanding Republican dominance of that chamber. John J. Flanagan, the top-ranking Republican in the state, conceded that the GOP would lose its majority in the Senate, further underscoring the Democrats’ strong showing in the election.

The Democrats also have a wide majority in New York’s 150-seat Assembly.

In the meantime, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy won re-election handily over Republican opponent Matthew Corey, 58.4-40.5 percent. Democrats also held all five U.S. House seats, as John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Jahana Hayes winning their races.

DeLauro represents the 3rd congressional district, which includes Stratford; Himes  the 4th, which includes Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford; and Hayes – who will be the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in the House – the 5th, which includes Danbury, New Fairfield and Newtown.

The Connecticut state attorney general race was still too close to call Wednesday morning: with 89.9 percent of the votes counted, Democrat William Tong led Republican Sue Hatfield 51.4-47.8 percent.

Democrat Kevin Lembo won his third term as comptroller, beating Republican Kurt Miller 54-45 percent with more than 85 percent of the vote counted. Two-term Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill bested former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman, 54-44 percent with more than 85 percent of precincts reporting.

In the General Assembly, both Len Fasano, the Senate Republican president pro tempore, and Senate President Martin Looney won re-election: Fasano by a 56-41.5 majority over Aili McKeen, and Looney by a 69.5-30.5 majority over Erin Reilly.

In the state Senate, Democrats took control of the 36-seat chamber, with at least 21 wins in Tuesday’s election and the potential for up to another three seats in races that were still too close to call Wednesday morning.

Democrats also could pick up as many as 12 seats in the 151-seat state House, giving them a 92-59 majority. But a recount seemed likely in at least one race: the 30th House District, where incumbent Democrat Joe Aresimowicz, the speaker of the House, was leading Michael Gagliardi by just 37 votes.

Incumbent Republican state Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton was defeated by 22-year-old Will Haskell, 53.3-44.7 percent, in the 26th District, while incumbent Sen. Michael McLachlan of Danbury was bested by Julie Kushner, 51.6-44.1 percent, in the 24th.

While the Boucher defeat was unexpected, the big upset locally seemed to occur in Greenwich, where Democrat Alexandra Bergstein declared victory in the 36th State Senate District over incumbent Republican L. Scott Frantz. The margin there was by about 600 votes. Bergstein is the first Democrat to win the seat since 1930.

State Sen. Bob Duff was re-elected in the 25th, defeating Marc D’Amelio, 61.1-35.2 percent. Republican state Sen. Kevin Kelly took the 21st, 56.7-43.3 percent over Monica Tujak Brill; Democrat Marilyn Moore won the 22nd, 56.6-39.8 percent, over Rich Deecken; Democrat Dennis Bradley won the 23rd, 86.5-13.5 percent, over John Rodriguez; Democrat Carlo Leone took the 27th, 64.8-32.5 percent, over Jerry Bosak; and Republican Tony Hwang won the 28th, 49.6-46.5 percent, over Michelle Lapine McCabe.

On the House side, Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan bested William Duff in the 2nd District, 50.6-44.6 percent; Republican Mitch Bolinsky defeated Rebekah Harriman-Stites, 50.7-46.9 percent, in the 106th; Republican Stephen Harding took the 107th, 56.4-40.7 percent, over Daniel Pearson; and Republican Richard Smith ran unopposed in the 108th.

In addition, Democrat David Arconti Jr. won the 109th, 59.5-34.6 percent, over Veasna Roeun; Democrat Bob Godfrey took the 110th, 69-25.7 percent, over Erin Domenech; Republican John Frey won the 111th, 49.5-48.2 percent, over Aimee Berger-Girvalo; Republican J.P. Sredzinski ran unopposed in the 112th; Republican Jason Perillo took the 113th, 65.1-34.9 percent, over Elaine Matto; and Republican Themis Klarides won the 114th, 52.4-43.7 percent, over Mary Welander.

Connecticut voters also ratified two amendments to the state Constitution, including one guaranteeing that funding set aside for transportation is used exclusively for transportation projects and another that prohibits the legislature from selling, conveying, or swapping state land or buildings without first holding a public hearing.

“This is an enormous victory for our state’s future as Connecticut desperately needs investment in transportation infrastructure,”  Malloy said of the first measure. “While surrounding states have made real investments, Connecticut has allowed our roads, bridges, tunnels, and rails to fall into a state of disrepair, hurting our economy and making our infrastructure less safe for the traveling public.”

Malloy lauded the constitutional “lockbox” as “a necessary step forward to strengthening our state’s economy and improving the quality of life for our residents. The economic cost of traffic congestion in Connecticut is between $4-5 billion annually, and business leaders rank highway accessibility as their number one factor in deciding where to locate their businesses.”