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The CT State Senate is Tied 18-18. Control in 2019 Could Come Down to 8 Races.

October 31, 2018 By Staff
The CT State Senate is Tied 18-18. Control in 2019 Could Come Down to 8 Races.

At minimum, eight of the state's 36 Senate races are competitive. Four of those races are for Republican-held seats, and four are for Democrat-held seats.

Most of the headlines around this year’s elections in Connecticut – on ReclaimCT.com and elsewhere – have focused on the governor’s race. Under the surface two other battles are taking place, and they’re almost as important as the gubernatorial race … if not more so.

Control of the state Senate and the state House are both up for grabs in 2018. Currently, the state Senate is deadlocked: Republicans control 18 of 36 seats, and Democrats control 18 of 36 seats. The state House is narrowly controlled by Democrats, 80 seats to the GOP’s 71 seats.

In the final week before the election, Reclaim Connecticut will preview the battle for control of the state legislature.

STATE SENATE

Reclaim Connecticut has identified at least eight state Senate races that are competitive. If you think this list gives us a better idea of who will control the state Senate in 2019 and 2020, think again: four of the competitive seats are currently held by Republicans, and four are held by Democrats.

The bottom line: control of the state Senate is a toss-up. Some of the factors in these races are national or statewide: antipathy towards President Trump has energized Democrats, while strong disapproval of Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) has Republicans optimistic. But what makes the battle especially unpredictable is that candidates and local issues matter a lot in these state legislative races, too.

Without further ado, here are the eight state Senate races that could determine control of the upper chamber in 2019.

NOTE: All data on 2016 and 2014 election results come from CBIA, while spending data through October 23, 2018 come from SEEC.

DISTRICT 4

  • The towns: Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury, Manchester
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) vs. Republican challenger Mark Tweedie
  • 2016 result: Cassano won over Republican Lorraine Marchetti by just 589 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent
  • 2014 result: Cassano won over Republican Whit Osgood by just 1,436 votes, 52 percent to 48 percent
  • Spending so far: Cassano has spent $38,000 as of October 23, and had $75,000 on hand; Tweedie has spent $87,000, and had $31,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: Cassano has skirted by in the last two election cycles, and the 2018 contest may be just as close.

DISTRICT 12

  • The towns: Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, North Branford
  • The matchup: Democrat Christine Cohen vs. Republican Adam Greenberg
  • 2016 result: retiring State Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) defeated Bruce Wilson, Jr. by a healthy 60-40 margin
  • 2014 result: Kennedy, Jr. defeated Wilson, Jr. by 14 points (57-43)
  • Spending so far: Cohen has spent $74,000 as of October 23, and had $39,000 on hand; Greenberg has spent $79,000, and had $34,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: In a sign of the importance of the race, Cohen was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October. A Republican source tells Reclaim Connecticut that Greenberg has a real shot at Kennedy, Jr.’s seat, though, given his connections to Branford and his inspiring story.

DISTRICT 13

  • The towns: Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) vs. Democratic challenger Mary Abrams
  • 2016 result: Suzio defeated Danté Bartolemeo by just 895 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent
  • 2014 result: Bartolomeo defeated Suzio by just 234 votes, with the two knotted at 50 percent
  • Spending so far: Suzio has spent $30,000 as of October 23, and had $85,000 on hand; Abrams has spent an eye-popping $179,000, and had $32,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: This race has had among the closest margins in state legislative races over the last two cycles, so expect more of the same in 2018. In a sign of the importance of the race, Abrams was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October.

DISTRICT 14

  • The towns: Milford, Orange, West Haven, Woodbridge
  • The matchup: Democrat James Maroney vs. Republican Pam Staneski
  • 2016 result: retiring State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) defeated Republican Patricia Libero by 12 points (56-44)
  • 2014 result: Slossberg defeated Republican Matt Gaynor by 14 points (57-43)
  • Spending so far: Maroney has spent $93,000 as of October 23, and had $21,000 on hand; Staneski has spent $101,000, and had $50,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: Slossberg is a moderate Democrat who’s retiring from the state Senate, and the race to replace her has been one of the most expensive in the state. In a sign of the importance of the race, Maroney was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October.

DISTRICT 17

  • The towns: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck, Woodbridge
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. George Logan (R-Ansonia) vs. Democratic challenger Jorge Cabrera
  • 2016 result: Logan defeated Democrat Joe Crisco, Jr. by 833 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent
  • 2014 result: Crisco, Jr. defeated Republican Philip Tripp by 10 points (55-45)
  • Spending so far: Logan has spent $55,000 as of October 23, and had $59,000 on hand; Cabrera has spent $118,000, and had $35,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: Logan is a rising star in the Republican Party, and has been since he defeated Democrat Joe Crisco, Jr. in a surprise result in 2016. But Jorge Cabrera has spent $118,000 in the race. In a sign of the importance of the race, Cabrera was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October.

DISTRICT 22

  • The towns: Bridgeport, Monroe, Trumbull
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) vs. Republican challenger Rich Deecken
  • 2016 result: Moore defeated Republican Elaine Hammers by 14 points (57-43)
  • 2014 result: Moore defeated Republican Enrico Costantini by eight points (54-46)
  • Spending so far: Moore has spent $39,000 as of October 23, and had $74,000 on hand; Deecken has spent $69,000, and had $44,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: Though Moore represents the Democratic stronghold of Bridgeport, the inclusion of Monroe and Trumbull in the district has made past races for the 22nd District close.

DISTRICT 24

  • The towns: Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) vs. Democratic challenger Julie Kushner
  • 2016 result: McLachlan defeated Democrat Kenneth Gucker by just 1,756 votes (52 percent to 48 percent)
  • 2014 result: McLachlan easily defeated Working Families Party candidate Theodore Feng, 86 percent to 14 percent
  • Spending so far: McLachlan has spent $70,000 as of October 23, and had $42,000 on hand; Kushner has spent $78,000, and had $35,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: While McLachlan easily dispatched of his Working Families Party candidate in 2014, the 2016 contest with Democrat Kenneth Gucker was far closer. In a sign of the importance of the race, Kushner was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October.

DISTRICT 26

  • The towns: Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton
  • The matchup: incumbent State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) vs. Democratic challenger Will Haskell
  • 2016 result: Boucher defeated Democrat Carolanne Curry by 20 points (60-40)
  • 2014 result: Boucher easily defeated Working Families Party candidate Phillip Sharlach, 65 percent to 35 percent
  • Spending so far: Boucher has spent $65,000 as of October 23, and had $36,000 on hand; Haskell has spent $87,000, and had $38,000 on hand
  • Why it’s competitive: Boucher has won reelection by fairly large margins in the last two cycles, but she has a unique challenger in Haskell. The Democratic challenger is just 23 years old, and recently was subject of a New York Times profile. In a sign of the importance of the race, Haskell was one of the few Democratic candidates for state Senate that President Obama endorsed in October.