HARTFORD, CT — Joshua Hall won a three-way special election Tuesday, making him the first Working Families Party candidate to win a seat in the state House of Representatives.
In Watertown and part of Woodbury, Republican Joe Polletta won the 68th House District seat. That means Democrats still hold their 79-72 majority in the House of Representatives.
Hall replaces Doug McCrory and Polletta replaces Eric Berthel, each of whom resigned their House seats to run for the state Senate.
While there wasn’t much of a contest in Watertown where Polletta won with about 78 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies, the race in Hartford got heated with the Democratic Party endorsed candidate questioning Hall’s credibility.
“Working Families Party? Not on our watch,” said a mailer sent by Democrat-backed Rickey Pinckney’s campaign. “Don’t let them steal our seat.”
According to unofficial vote totals, Hall received 625 votes. Pinckney, the endorsed candidate, received 512 votes. And petitioning candidate Kenneth Green, a former Democratic state representative, received 367 votes.
Hall, who is the vice president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers, said he looks forward to representing his community at the state Capitol.
“They’re concerned about the quality of education in our schools, having good jobs and vibrant neighborhoods, and making sure that we have a just budget that strengthens their ability to earn a good living and care for their families,” Hall said. “That starts with eliminating backdoor tax increases on working families and setting budget policy that generates revenue without harmful cuts.”
While Hall is the first candidate to win a state House seat for the party, Sen. Ed Gomes, of Bridgeport, was the first to win a state Senate seat for the party in 2015.
Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Connecticut Working Families Party, said Hall’s victory “comes at a time when more strong, progressive leaders are sorely needed in Hartford and in our state. The city is in fiscal crisis and without state help, Hartford residents will be hurt by deep cuts, the effects of which will resonate across the region.”
The Working Families Party generally cross-endorses candidates and is considered more progressive than the Democratic Party. It has played a large role in helping to get Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and congressional candidates into office, and it has been successful in electing candidates to local municipal boards and councils.