Top Connecticut Democrats were optimistic Tuesday night that from the White House to the statehouse, new Democratic faces will become part of the political landscape as election returns are finalized.
“It’s gonna be a late night and a late day, but we’ve been looking forward to this,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has unsurprisingly already won Connecticut. He was projected to win after an October poll from Sacred Heart University showed him leading Trump by 25 points.
His fate nationally is uncertain.
Locally, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said that she foresees the Democrats will gain new seats in the state legislature after hearing from voters that the biggest issues are the economy, racial inequality, healthcare and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thought 2008 was a big year and the turnout was high, but that was nothing compared to the lines that I saw today in some places that, like in Milford, were blocks long,” Bysiewicz said.
She added that with Republican strongholds being shaken by Biden, it’s also a sign that the party is doing well nationally.
“To have Republican bastions like Texas right on the margin where Biden or Trump can win, I think it shows that we’re going to have a really fantastic night tonight,” she said.
Connecticut Democrats have already made strides in taking key state House districts. The state party held a virtual celebration of forecasted wins that flipped seats to blue in Avon/Canton, Derby/Orange/Woodbridge, Ridgefield and Fairfield/Southport, all with women candidates.
The Democrats also held on to congressional seats across the state. Congressman John Larson declared victory over Republican challenger Mary Fay. The rest of the delegation was expected to remain in Democratic hands with Rep. Rosa DeLauro easily staving off a well-funded challenge from Margaret Streicker. The race in the Fifth Congressional District between U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes and Republican challenger David Sullivan was close enough that Hayes issued a statement calling for patience.
“My campaign continues to monitor the vote count in precincts across the district and our internal numbers look very encouraging. At this time however, I am going to wait for all votes to be tallied before making any additional comments on the election,” Hayes said in a statement.
The Republican Party did not release a statement Tuesday on the election or the results.
But if Connecticut were to grow more “red,” Lamont said he hopes that state Republicans will stray from Trumpian politics and messaging.
“Be the party of Lincoln, be the party of Bush, don’t be the party of Trump,” he urged. “I think that was a mistake.”
It’s uncertain when Connecticut’s final results will exactly come in, but there were no issues at the polls and the count is going smoothly so far, according to Lamont.
“I thought more absentee ballots would come in and less people would go to the polls, but whatever changed their minds, [people] sure showed up. Long lines were just about the only thing we had go wrong today,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill explained.
Neither U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy nor Richard Blumenthal could say if Democrats could take the U.S. Senate. Larson was hopeful that the U.S. House of Representative would gain more Democratic seats.
Back in Connecticut, the Democratic party said the big turnout and a surplus of young voters is leading the blue wave. State Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo said she expects “another Democratic victory” in state races, even if a lot of them are still unreported.
“It’s looking great,” DiNardo said. “It’s always been good for Democrats in this state, so I’m really happy about that.”