HARTFORD —— Democrats dominated in the city's state House and Senate races, winning all of the seats by wide margins.
State Rep. Matthew Ritter easily won re-election in the 1st House District, trouncing Republican opponent Kenneth Lerman. State Rep. Douglas McCrory defeated Republican political newcomer Colleen Rankine to win a fifth term in the 7th House District.
In the 4th and 6th House Districts, where both incumbents are vacating their seats, Democrats Angel Arce and Edwin Vargas beat Republicans Rico Dence and Michael Lupo, respectively. State Rep. Kelvin Roldan, who served three terms in the 4th District, announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election, and 6th District state Rep. Hector Robles was defeated in the August primary.
Vargas, who lost bids for the state Senate to John Fonfara in 2008 and 2010 and a bid for mayor to Pedro Segarra in 2011, said he is eager to get to work.
"I've been on the campaign trail now for four years nonstop, so I have a good feel for the needs of the people of Hartford," he said Wednesday. "I'm prepared."
Vargas said he doesn't anticipate any challenges in working with Segarra or Fonfara.
"I look forward to working with them," he said. "Whatever issues happened in the past are in the past. We have to make sure we jointly do everything we can to help the community."
In the 5th House District, which includes portions of Hartford and Windsor, Democrat Brandon McGee beat Republican Paul Panos by a more than 3-to-1 margin. McGee, making his first run for elective office, defeated longtime political insider Leo Canty in a revote in the Democratic primary after the two candidates originally tied in a three-way race.
State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, an eight-term incumbent, was unopposed in the 3rd House District.
Incumbent Democratic Sens. Eric Coleman and Fonfara fended off their Republican challengers to win re-election in the 2nd and 1st Senate Districts, respectively.
The city's three registrars of voters also were re-elected Tuesday.
Democratic Registrar Olga Iris Vazquez was the top vote-getter, with 22,795 votes. Working Families Party Registrar Urania Petit received 2,095 votes, while Republican Registrar Salvatore Bramante received 1,989, according to unofficial numbers provided by the city. Under state law, if a third-party candidate receives more votes than the Democrat or Republican candidate for registrar, that candidate wins a seat. Petit was elected to her first term in 2008.
About 1,500 people visited city hall Tuesday specifically to vote for president, Town and City Clerk John Bazzano said. Those who are not registered to vote but who have a valid photo identification card, utility bill or other proof of city residence can vote only for a presidential candidate on a special ballot.
Long lines formed late in the day at city hall. Although the polls closed at 8 p.m., Bazzano said, there were so many people in line that the last presidential ballots weren't cast until 11 p.m.
He said the situation was similar during the 2008 election.
"We knew there was going to be a large number of people coming in to vote. The same thing happened in 2008; there were lines out the door," Bazzano said. "We ordered a substantial amount of presidential ballots. We were well organized."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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