Republicans flipped a state Senate seat Tuesday in a special election. Ryan Fazio of Greenwich won a three-way contest for the seat vacated by now former Sen. Alex Kasser.
“Today the voters of Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan sent a message loud and clear to the state Capitol in Connecticut,” Fazio said. “A change is going to come.”
Republicans had held the seat for a century before Kasser flipped it in 2018.
After a short and unpredictable summer campaign, Fazio beat Democrat Alexis Gevanter, a former business attorney turned gun violence prevention advocate, and petitioning candidate John Blankley. Fazio will now finish out the rest of Kasser’s term, which runs through next year.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who lives in the district, had asked Blankley to exit the race because it was dividing the Democratic Party.
“Alexis Gevanter ran an excellent campaign, knocking on thousands of doors, having direct conversation with voters about the issues important to them,” Democratic Party Chairman Nancy DiNardo said. “Alexis did surprisingly well in a Republican-leaning district. We congratulate Ryan Fazio on tonight’s win, but know that we will see Alexis continue to lead in her community and the state.”
Gevanter who called Fazio to concede said she will maintain her involvement.
“Despite tonight’s disappointing results, my commitment to the very values that make our community the inclusive, kind, and caring place we are all proud to call home has never been stronger,” she said in a statement.
Fazio thanked his supporters, including former state Sen. L. Scott Frantz and his wife, for their support. Frantz was unseated in 2018 by Kasser.
“Together we can reduce taxes and the cost of living and create economic opportunity for all,” Fazio said during his acceptance speech. “We can once again make our neighborhoods safe and support local police.”
Fazio’s campaign was run by Patrick Sasser, who chaired the No Tolls campaign, two years ago.
“We can protect personal freedom and local control and we can bring people together,” Fazio said.
Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said Fazio’s victory “shows that the Connecticut Republicans’ better way is resonating with young people who want to make our state a better place.”
“This successful grassroots effort for change is a signal that the 2022 election will be positive for Connecticut’s working- and middle-class families,” Kelly said. “It shows that people are not happy with one-party Democratic rule in Hartford and Gov. Lamont is not as popular as everyone assumes, even in his own hometown of Greenwich.”
Kelly added that while Fazio focused on Connecticut issues “Democrats took a page right out of the national political playbook, running a candidate out of touch with Connecticut who focused on a national partisan narrative that does not work for the people of Connecticut.”