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2018 Battleground Election Preview: Connecticut

Connecticut Election Preview Map

Connecticut is one of 10 states that are most likely to see a change in party control in one or both state legislative chambers after elections on November 6. Currently, Democrats hold an 80-71 edge in the House, while the Senate is split 18-18 between the two parties, with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman (D) serving as a tie-breaker.

Connecticut is one of just eight states where Democrats control the governorship and both legislative chambers. It is a solidly blue state in presidential elections, but Republicans picked up three state Senate seats and eight state House seats in 2016. However, anti-Trump sentiment may be turning the tide. In February, Democrats won a special election in House District 120, flipping a seat that had been held by a Republican for 40 years.

All 151 seats in the Connecticut House of Representatives and all 36 seats in the Connecticut Senate are up for election this November, as state senators serve two-year terms. Expect the parties to focus on the 28 districts won by less than 10 percent of the vote in the last election cycle — 16 of which were won by Democrats and 12 by Republicans.

Two incumbent Democratic House members — Terry Adams in District 146 and Andrew Fleischmann in District 18 — fell in primaries in August. Fleischmann, who had served in the legislature for 23 years, was upset in his West Hartford district by former school board member Jillian Gilchrest. Adams was defeated due to a movement dubbed “Reform Stamford,” losing in a landslide to local civic leader David Michel.

A protracted and acrimonious budget battle took its toll on Governor Dan Malloy’s (D) second term in office. Facing low approval ratings, Malloy elected not to run for a third term, setting up a wide-open race this year to succeed him. Ordinarily such dissatisfaction could be a drag for the incumbent party in power, but the unpopularity of President Trump in the state might mitigate any negative shadow that Malloy may cast over Democratic candidates.

Businessman Ned Lamont, who is best known for defeating Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, only to lose to Lieberman’s independent bid in the general election, decisively won the Democratic primary to replace Malloy. He will face businessman Bob Stefanowski, who has dubbed himself “Bob the Rebuilder.” The former GE executive pulled an upset by winning a crowded five-candidate Republican primary that included Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who was running for governor for the third time. Both Lamont and Stefanowski have opted out of public campaign financing, spending millions of their own money to fund their campaigns.

Connecticut voters will also decide on a lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and comptroller, as well as U.S. Senate and House positions.

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