Treneé McGee (left), Sen. Gary Winfield (middle) and Rep. Robyn Porter (right) on the campaign trail. Credit: Courtesy of Treneé McGee / Facebook

Voters in New Haven and West Haven elected Democrat Treneé McGee to serve as their new state representative during a Tuesday special election forced by the resignation of Michael DiMassa following federal corruption charges. 

DiMassa, a West Haven Democrat, left office in October after the FBI charged him with using his municipal job with the city of West Haven to charge the town for more than $630,000 in COVID relief funding for consulting work, which his shell company never completed. DiMass also resigned from his municipal job.

Voters picked McGee, a Democratic town councilwoman and motivational speaker, from amongst a slate of three candidates, which also included Richard DePalma, a Republican and owner of a local heating oil business, and Portia Bias, a former Democratic councilman who ran as an unaffiliated candidate. 

Unofficial results available Tuesday night had McGee winning with 562 votes followed by DePalma with 467 and Bias with 45 votes. In the past the district has leaned heavily Democratic. DiMassa ran unopposed for reelection in 2020. In 2018, he ran against DePalma and won about 74% of the vote. 

Treneé McGee knocks on doors for her special election in West Haven to fill the seat of former Rep. Michael DiMassa Credit: Courtesy of Treneé McGee / Facebook

The state Democratic Party congratulated McGee in a tweet shortly after 9 p.m. reading simply: “Congratulations to CT’s newest member of the General Assembly, Treneé McGee, on her win in today’s special election!”

This time around DePalma sought to focus voters on the corruption case that led to DiMassa’s resignation. 

“Here we believe in transparency, opportunity and accountability and I want to take these values to the golden dome,” he said in a Monday video posted to his social media platforms.  

Ben Proto, chair of the state Republican Party, said DePalma ran a great race in a difficult district. 

“CTGOP is very proud to have Rich DePalma on our team and his message of change resonated with the voters and is a precursor of great things to come for the CTGOP and Connecticut,” Proto said.