House Speaker Brendan Sharkey acknowledged that support for the 2013 gun violence prevention bill did have an impact on the seats his caucus lost Tuesday to Republicans.
Republicans picked up 10 seats in the House giving them 64 members, the most the caucus has had since 1994.
“The seats that we lost were either freshmen legislators, or open seats,” Sharkey said Wednesday. “The second fact is that all but one of those seats produced a ‘yes’ vote on the gun bill.”
Sharkey said the Democratic freshmen lawmakers who lost their seats represented districts where one would expect to find gun owners, who may have felt the law infringes on their rights or at the very least makes things inconvenient.
“Where that happened you would expect a negative reaction to the gun bill,” Sharkey said. “So I think that it did have an impact and I think that those freshmen who voted knew that it was a tough vote and I think it was somewhat a profile in courage for them to vote the way they did and they deserve credit for that.”
At the same time the one seat the House Democrats took was Republican Michael Molgano’s seat in Stamford. Molgano supported the gun bill and his opponent Caroline Simmons received support from the CT Voters for Gun Safety PAC, which worked to elected candidates who support gun safety.
Outgoing Senate President Donald Williams said the gun violence prevention bill was a “bipartisan bill supported by the entire leadership of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.”
He said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election shows that a majority of the people in Connecticut don’t want “political posturing, they want accomplishment.”
In the Senate all of the Democratic incumbents were re-elected.
“We had some challengers that we had high hopes for, folks who ran good and strong races, who did not ultimately win,” Williams said.
One of those candidates was Emily Bjornberg of Lyme. Bjornberg challenged Republican Art Linares of Westbrook, who voted against the gun bill.
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said his members worked hard to make sure that Linares was re-elected and believe his support of the Second Amendment helped secure his victory on Tuesday.
“We are happy about some of the house races and victories for other Second Amendment candidates,” Wilson said.
CT Voters for Gun Safety, a PAC created to help candidates who support “smart gun laws,” tried to spin the results a little differently.
The incumbent lawmakers the gun safety group supported, through endorsements or advertising campaigns, all won re-election. The group said that of the “106 candidates who voted yes on the bill and were running for re-election, 100 were successful.”
“The gun lobby was unsuccessful. The people of Connecticut once again affirmed that they support legislation that keeps our schools and cities safe,” Ron Pinciaro, president of the CT Voters for Gun Safety, said Wednesday.