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November 9, 2022

Tong wins reelection; other top Democrats awaiting results

YEHYUN KIM / CTMIRROR.ORG Attorney General with his wife, Elizabeth Tong, at the Democrats' Election Night party at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford.

Attorney General William Tong claimed a reelection victory on Tuesday evening, but other Democrats running for top offices were awaiting results.

Sean Scanlon, the Democratic nominee, said he was optimistic that he would defeat Republican nominee Mary Fay, but there were results outstanding from too many communities for anyone to claim victory in his race.

Partial returns looked favorable for the Democrats, but the other candidates for constitutional offices — Erick Russell for treasurer and Stephanie Thomas for secretary of the state — also wanted to wait until they could confirm results, party officials said.

“I feel good,” Thomas said. “It feels premature to declare victory based on the percent of precincts. But I feel very optimistic, and I’m ready to make a difference.”

“I hope to make a different speech tomorrow, but for now I’m waiting for the results.”

By midnight, the secretary of the state’s website showed results from about 40% of the state’s precincts.

Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly 2-1 in Connecticut (though unaffiliated voters outnumber them both). It’s been over two decades since a Republican held one of these offices in Connecticut.

“We have to be affirmative in protecting Connecticut families who are getting squeezed every day by prices that are way too high — for electricity, gasoline, home heating oil, health care and health insurance, medicine and prescription drugs,” said Tong during a nine-minute victory speech at the Connecticut Democrats’ Election Night party at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford.

The reelected attorney general also said Connecticut must “lead the way” on national battles over key issues, including gun safety laws and reproductive rights.

During his first term in office, Tong played a key role in the multistate negotiations with the opioid industry, recovering more than $300 million in opioid settlements for Connecticut. His office also settled Sheff v. O’Neill, one of the country’s longest running school desegregation cases, which began more than 30 years ago. 

Democrat Stephanie Thomas, a freshman legislator from Norwalk, was locked in a battle with her Republican opponent Dominic Rapini, a marketing executive and resident of Branford. 

The race focused on one of the secretary of state’s major responsibilities: managing Connecticut’s voters and elections, an issue that has received increased attention in the wake of former President Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Thomas’ campaign centered on her commitment to expanding voter accessibility, which included support for the ballot referendum that would allow the General Assembly to pass in-person early voting. 

Erick Russell, a Democrat and a partner with Pullman and Comley, was in a close race with Republican Harry Arora, a financial services professional, in the contest to succeed retiring Treasurer Shawn Wooden. With a win, Russell would become the first Black LGBTQ candidate elected to statewide office.

Russell said he is committed to building on the state Capitol’s renewed focus on savings and debt management. While he has stated that Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature’s majority have made strides towards this goal, Russell has expressed concerns over the administration’s decision to shift the burden of pension debt onto future taxpayers. Russell also spoke out against Lamont’s use of bond premiums to fund the debt service, which critics liken to using one credit card to pay off another.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Scanlon helped pass a one-time, $250-per-child state income tax rebate program, which sent more than $82 million to Connecticut families this summer. He said he would use the bully pulpit to continue lobbying for a permanent child tax credit and more state income tax relief for low- and middle-income households. 

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