Democratic Congressional incumbent John B. Larson was elected to his ninth term as Representative of the 1st Congressional District, beating challengers from both the Republican and Green parties.
The Larson campaign declared victory about 11 p.m., with a number of news agencies calling the race in his favor.
By 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, 70.4 percent of the votes had been tallied. Larson, 66, had 95,392 votes, or 59.6 percent of the total. Republican Matthew Corey had 62,258 votes, or 38.9 percent of the total, and Green Party candidate Jeffrey Russell had 2,369, or 1.5 percent of the total.
The Working Families party cross-endorsed Larson, and he appeared on the ballot under their party’s ballot line as well.
The 1st Congressional District includes the towns of Barkhamsted, Berlin, Bloomfield, Bristol, Colebrook, Cromwell, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Granby, Hartford, Hartland, Manchester, New Hartford, Newington, Portland, Rocky Hill, Southington, South Windsor, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Winchester, Windsor, and Windsor Locks, and parts of Glastonbury, Middletown, and Torrington.
Republicans took control of both the U.S. House and Senate in this election. But Larson said of the nine times he has been elected, the Democrats have been in the minority seven of those times, so he understands the importance of reaching across the aisle to find common ground on a number of issues, even before the new term officially starts.
“Infrastructure, roads, deep harbors, those are not Democratic or Republican issues, they’re American issues,” Larson said from his East Hartford campaign headquarters Tuesday.
Larson also brought up the importance of proper infrastructure funding several times Tuesday. When he served on the House Ways & Means Committee last term, he worked toward getting long-term, six-year infrastructure funding passed. But the measure was voted down along party lines.
There also is a bipartisan bill on immigration reform on the house floor Congress should vote on, Larson said, adding that there also is room to work on continuing to improve the Affordable Care Act, of which he is a supporter.
In his last term, Larson cosponsored over 100 bills with Republicans, according to his campaign information.
Larson also said he will work closely with the state government and manufacturing base to help stimulate economic growth in Connecticut. The state has a bright future in the bioscience and aerospace engineering fields, he said, not just with big companies but with smaller entrepreneurs, too, and Connecticut can be a big draw for them all.
The world continues to be a dangerous place, he said, and the defense industry will help form the background of the state’s manufacturing industry. Larson in May helped bring the contract for the Presidential Helicopter back, in part, to United Technologies Sikorsky Aircraft, according to his campaign information.
Relatively new to the political scene, Corey, 50, of Manchester, owns McKinnon’s Irish Pub in Hartford and Advanced Services International, a high-rise window-cleaning company. He ran against Larson in 2012 as a write-in candidate but received less than 2,300 votes.
Corey said he agreed to run again because he’s tired of the partisanship in Congress, and disagrees that Larson did enough to reach out to Republicans.
“He put politics in front of people,” Corey said Tuesday night at McKinnon’s, where he and his supporters waited for the results. “He never found common ground.”
Corey ran on a campaign of economic growth, saying corporate taxes should be lowered to encourage reinvestment in America. He also said on his campaign website that high taxes, high energy costs, and over-regulation are stifling job growth.
“People are sick of politics,” he said. “It’s about jobs.”
Corey also said during his campaign that the Affordable Care Act was harming economic growth, and would have voted to abolish portions of it.
Further, Corey said Larson had a double standard when calling out the president on military action in the Middle East, saying Larson should have been just as willing to question President Obama as he did President Bush.
However, Larson voted against arming Syrian rebels and said no military action should be taken in the Middle East without an exit strategy.
Corey acknowledged that Larson had an advantage as an incumbent, especially in a heavily Democratic district. But the important thing, he said, was getting the word out about himself and the campaign.
He did say, however, that it would have been great to have had a Republican Representative from Connecticut in office when the Republicans held a majority in the House.
Corey was not sure if he would run again in 2016, but he would consider throwing his hat back in the ring.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We’ll keep an eye on him.”