Southington has more registered Democrats than Republicans, but the GOP nearly swept the board in local tallies on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The office of the registrars reports 27,890 registered voters in Southington with 8,146 Democrats (29.2 percent), 7,134 Republicans (25.6 percent), 12,079 unaffiliated voters (43.3 percent), and 531 others (1.9 percent).
National Democrats won convincingly across the state, but Republicans topped the ticket at Southington polls.
Hillary Clinton won Connecticut by over 200,000 votes, but Donald Trump won in Southington. U.S. Rep. John Larson (D) won his first congressional district seat by a landslide, but he tied his Republican challenger Matthew Corey in Southington.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal was the only Democratic candidate to come out unscathed in this town, beating Republican opponent Dan Carter handily.
“It was a surprise,” said Democratic Town Committee chair Bob Berkmoes. “We didn’t anticipate this. We’re not alone though. You saw it through the State of Connecticut and nationally.”
Even in the General Assembly races, Southington Republicans held sway. Connecticut now has 70 Democrat and 64 Republican state representatives, but Southington voters favored Republicans across the board.
State Sen. Joe Markley won easily over Democratic challenger Ryan Rogers for the 16th district.
John Fusco (R) unseated Dave Zoni by nearly 2,300 votes in the 81st assembly district, the only one exclusively decided by Southington voters. Republican Rob Sampson (Wolcott, Southington) ran unopposed in the 80th district.
Even Democratic incumbent Joe Aresimowicz (Berlin, Southington), who regained his seat in the 30th district in a bid to become the Speaker of the House, received fewer Southington votes than newcomer Chris Morelli. Morelli won the town’s votes by 10 percent.
The 103rd district, which includes Southington, Cheshire, and Wallingford, issued a mandatory recount because the numbers were so close. Ultimately, Linehan won the open house seat, but Falvey won by a slim margin with Southington voters.
With the victory, Linehan and Aresimowicz will be the only Democrats representing Southington at the state level. Republicans Markley, Fusco, and Sampson round out Southington’s representation in Hartford.
“People are fed up with our government,” said Southington Republican Town Committee (RTC) chair Brian Callahan. “People are ready for a change.”
Berkmoes said that he was surprised by the results, citing Zoni’s and Aresimowicz’s records for getting town funding and growing jobs. They were both active in achieving the recent Calendar House senior center grant, which gave taxpayers a $5 million break in the days leading up to the election. Both were involved with state and federal grants for Bread for Life and the water treatment renovation that passed by referendum.
Berkmoes pointed to Aresimowicz’s work to lock in the Sikorsky deal, keeping manufacturing jobs alive in the state. Both political figures have been seen at countless events in the district this campaign season.
“People showed positivity toward these candidates,” Berkmoes said. “So we are surprised.”
Aresimowicz regained his seat in the General Assembly, but only with the numbers he received in his hometown, Berlin. Southington voters favored republican opponent Christopher Morelli, a 19 year-old student at the University of Connecticut who ran for public office for the first time.
Zoni’s loss to Fusco was clear as soon as the polling sites handed in their tallies.
Callahan championed the win, one of six Republican seats gained in Connecticut’s House of Representatives.
“We also gained four seats in the state senate, leaving the Republicans and Democrats in an even tie,” he said. Callahan said that he hopes that Fusco can influence laws at the Capitol in terms of education and unfunded mandates.
“He can be a voice against the unfunded mandates to help at the local level,” said the RTC chair.
The state’s current financial crisis has many people concerned, and both party chairs noted frustration at the state and federal levels which might have hurt Democratic candidates.
“Everything trickles down sometimes,” said Berkmoes. “Connecticut wasn’t the only state that lost Democratic seats, and it’s something we really want to take a look at.”
Robert Sherman (R) received 12,730 votes for registrar. Thomas S. Janik (D) received 8,851. Current Democratic registrar, Ed Malczyk is stepping down.
Photos by JOHN GORALSKI