CT republicans discuss state Senate shakeup - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CAMPAIGN 2016

CT republicans discuss state Senate shakeup

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Republicans Heather Somers, George Logan, Elaine Hammers are potential victors in their districts. (Somers, Logan, Hammers campaign photos) Republicans Heather Somers, George Logan, Elaine Hammers are potential victors in their districts. (Somers, Logan, Hammers campaign photos)
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut democrats took a big hit in the state general assembly. Republicans won a number of seats in the house, which narrowed the gap, and in the senate there is now a tie.

"Last night was a gut punch for a lot of us," said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

On Tuesday, the Republicans announced they gained three new seats in the senate. Officials said there are 18 republicans and 18 democrats in the senate. It was the first time that has happened in Connecticut since 1893. 

Republican Heather Somers from Groton, claimed victory over Tim Bowles in District 18. The seat was vacated by Democrat Andrew Maynard. 

"Pawcatuck Connecticut very heavily Democrat," Somers said. "I knocked on almost every door in Pawcatuck and I won that district by 400 votes. That's partly because people were so disenfranchised with the state of the state."

George Logan, also a Republican, who defeated long-time incumbent Joe Crisco in the 17th District, which includes in the Woodbridge area.

"Folks have spoken in the district they want to send folks to Hartford," Logan said. "I always said we need new leadership in Hartford if we want to make a change."

Len Suzio, a Republican, defeated Democratic incumbent Dante Bartolomeo in the 13th District, which includes Meriden. Suzio's campaign was more of an attack on Gov. Dannel Malloy and that may have resonated with some voters.

"It was definitely an election based on Malloy's failed policies with respect to economics and jobs and taxes and in Connecticut," Suzio said. 

Republican Elaine Hammers won against Democratic incumbent Marilyn Moore in the 22nd District, which includes Bridgeport.

“There is no longer a majority party in the state Senate. We are now a chamber of equals. The old way of doing things is over. With this historic balance I look forward to a completely new dynamic in the state Senate that embraces collaboration and cooperation and that equally values all ideas and perspectives. This is a defining moment for Connecticut to change the way state government operates for the better,” Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, (R-North Haven), said in statement on Wednesday. 

If a tie in a Senate vote were to occur, the legislative body would still be under control of the Democrats. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, a Democrat, would be brought in to vote as a tie breaker.

The state House of Representatives remained in the hands of Democrats with a 25 to 21 majority after Election Day.

Experts said this could have a big effect on spending on Connecticut, something upon which the two parties have often disagreed. 

"Connecticut is a beautiful state that sadly faces many challenges. We must address those issues in partnership with one another with all ideas at the table. We must work together to reduce burdens on families, grow jobs and create a business environment that people can be confident about. Now that Republicans have gained three seats in the state Senate, we will have more balance in the Senate than we’ve ever had before over the last 20 years, and we will have a historic even split between the two parties. I look forward to this change and hope it will foster more balanced conversations and encourage collaboration across the aisle to do what is in the best interest of our state and our residents," Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), said in statement on Wednesday. 

Republicans said they knocked out incumbents by running on a message of change that may have resonated with voters. After a news conference on Wednesday morning, Republicans said voters have spoken and that they are willing to work together. 

"As of today, there is no longer a majority party. we now are a chamber of equal. The old way of doing things is gone, is gone," Fasano said.  

Malloy called the loss of his party's stronghold disappointing and rejected the idea this election was about him.

"There are more Democrats serving in the house than there are Republicans and there's apparently an equal number serving in the senate, so they clearly didn't reach the goals they aspired to reach," Malloy said. 

Malloy said he was also "disappointed in the results of last night's presidential election."

"I know that we are not weakened as a country or a state. We are resilient," Malloy said. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Malloy went on to say that in Connecticut, "we are presented with a unique opportunity to once again lead by example for our nation."

"In recent years, we have come together across party lines on many important issues. Now, with a different dynamic at play in the legislature, we have an opportunity and even an obligation to work even better together, to find even more common ground," Malloy said. 

The governor said he plans to invite Republican and Democrat leaders to "informal discussions in the weeks ahead." 

"We should sit together around a table and have a frank discussion of our goals, but more importantly of how we achieve those goals. How we can change the ways we work together, share ideas, and make progress," Malloy said. "Connecticut can show the country that we can continue to make progress, even when we feel divided. We can demonstrate that it is possible to fight hard throughout a tough election, and then get back to work on behalf of our constituents."

To see his full statement, click here

Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto said their job is "to move Connecticut forward." 

"Governor Malloy has extended an invitation to Republican and Democratic leaders to sit down and discuss how both parties can work together to find common ground. This much is clear: Now is not the time to abide by blind obstructionism, but to adopt a spirit of solving problems and making hard choices to make our state stronger for our children. I hope we can break free of gridlock and take real steps to help our communities and middle-class families," Balletto said in a statement on Wednesday. 

See more Campaign 2016 results here.

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