BERLIN, CT — Twenty-five people crowded into a small conference room at Town Hall to recount ballots in House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz’s race against Republican Michael Gagliardi.
But after all the counting and recounting, the outcome of the election stayed the same and Aresimowicz will be voted in as speaker again in January.
Aresimowicz was ahead of Gagliardi by 37 votes when the polls closed last week. By the end of the day Tuesday he was ahead by 50 votes. The 30th House District also includes three polling places in Southington.
Aresimowicz is the only Democratic candidate for state office in the district to win.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski and Matt Corey, the Republican who ran for U.S. Senate against Chris Murphy, each won in the district even though they were both defeated in the statewide count. In the district, Stefanowski outpolled Governor-elect Ned Lamont by 6,547 votes and Corey led Murphy by 844 votes.
After Southington finished counting its ballots Aresimowicz had gained another eight votes. In Berlin, the recount pushed his margin up by another five, expanding his margin of victory to 50 votes over Gagliardi.
The day after the election, Aresimowicz said “I think I’m a rock star” in response to the results of his race.
“I, as Speaker of the House, have to take some positions that are out of line with my district, but in line with my caucus,” Aresimowicz said the day after the election. “If a majority of my caucus is there, I’m there. So that was difficult.”
Gagliardi only got into the race three weeks before the election. He replaced Steven Baleshiski, who withdrew his candidacy after suggesting on social media that a survivor of the Parkland, FL school shooting who had turned to gun-control advocacy “can burn in hell.”
Posted by CTNewsJunkie.com on Tuesday, November 13, 2018
More than a dozen absentee ballots were cast for Baleshiski. Voters were informed that if they had voted by absentee for Baleshiski, they had the option to resubmit their ballots.
House Republicans were not convinced that the local Republican Town Committees would be able to find a candidate to compete, but they proved them wrong by putting up Gagliardi, who almost won.
Betty Tedeschi, the Republican Registrar of Voters, managed the recount in Berlin.
The absentee ballots were all recounted by hand and ended up being off by one.
The standard on the recanvass is that if there are any marks on the ballot that could confuse the machine, they should be hand counted.
Local election officials hand sorted the rest of the ballots and then fed most of them through two machines.