Republicans picked up two seats Tuesday in five special elections held as a result of lawmakers joining Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration.
One of the seats Republicans won was in the House and the other was in the Senate. Neither changes the Democratic Party’s control of either chamber.
In East Haven, Republican Joe Zullo beat Josh Balter for former Rep. James Albis’ seat. Albis went to work in the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
In the 6th Senate district that includes New Britain and Berlin, Republican Gennaro Bizzarro beat Rep. Rick Lopes for former Sen. Terry Gerratana’s seat.
Democrat Anthony Nolan held onto Chris Soto’s seat in New London in a four-way contest, and South Windsor Mayor Saud Anwar and Rep. Derek Slap held onto the Senate seats previously held by Tim Larson and Beth Bye. Larson went to work for the Department of Higher Education and Bye heads the Office of Early Childhood.
Turnout for all five of the special elections was very low.
There will be one more special election in West Hartford for Slap’s House seat.
The Democrats now hold a 90 to 60 majority in the House and a 22 to 14 majority in the Senate. A special election will be held for Slap’s seat in the near future, until then there will be a vacancy in the House.
The numbers are important here because if lawmakers want to declare a fiscal emergency in order to suspend its five-year bond covenant, which locks in the spending, revenue, volatility and bond caps with investors, it will need a three-fifths vote of both chambers. That’s 91 out of 151 votes in the House and 22 of the 36 in the Senate.
If Democrats are able to hold onto Slap’s House seat then they could give themselves more financial wiggle room than they might otherwise have under the rules they adopted as part of the bipartisan budget.