What did We Learn (If Anything) From This Year’s Election

With national attention focused on the Dan Malloy-Tom Foley rematch, not too much attention was paid to the under ticket of constitutional officers. Those races were surprising close. Did the Connecticut electorate have an anti-incumbent bent or was it an anti-Democrat year. Either way the Democratic incumbents barely hung on.

Probably the most surprising race was Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s reelection bid. He was challenged by little-known Republican Sharon McLaughlin and Green Party candidate Rolf Maurer. If anyone was expected to cruise to victory, it was Lembo. Respected by Democrats, Republicans and the media, Lembo won only 52 percent of the vote. McLaughlin had no money and basically didn’t campaign yet got 47 percent of the vote.

Another shocking result was the race for Secretary of State. Democrat Denise Merrill was expected to win another term easily. The race wasn’t called until Wednesday. Merrill got 50 percent of the vote with Republican Peter Lumaj getting 47 percent and Green Party Michael DeRosa garnered 2 percent. Merrill won 63 percent in 2010.

A less shockingly close race was between Democratic state Treasurer Denise Nappier and Republican Tim Herbst, the Trumbull First Selectman. The campaign was noted for Napper’s refusal to engage or debate except for a 25-minute TV debate that was marred by post-debate arguing. The race too close to call Tuesday night, Nappier finally pulled it out—barely—by about 2,000 votes out of a million cast.

Republicans picked up eight state House seats and one Senate seat to further bolster the thought that the Republican tide did in fact reach Connecticut. It’s just that the state is so blue, the Dems held on.

Contradicting the anti-Democratic theory are the results of the races for US Representatives. Rosa Delauro, Elizabeth Esty, Jim Himes, Joe Courtney and John Larson—all Democratic incumbents—won handily.


For what it’s worth, The Shad called all the marque New England races correctly. Malloy over Foley in Connecticut, Charlie Baker over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts—although I was off on the margin of victory by three points in Malloy’s victory and four in Baker’s—and Jean Shaheen over Scott Brown in New Hampshire. I also was correct on all four Massachusetts ballot questions.

On to 2016!