Connecticut GOP claims victory, sees momentum for 2022 races

November 3, 2021 GMT

A state that’s often viewed as reliably blue appeared more purple after Connecticut Republicans on Tuesday won seats in traditionally Democratic communities and often with a pro-parent and tough-on-crime message that seemed to resonate with some voters.

GOP leaders listed more than 20 successful “flips” from around the state following this year’s election. They include gaining control of local town councils, as in Montville; defeating incumbent Democrats, like in Windsor Locks; and winning open seats previously held by a Democrat, as in Bethlehem.

Republicans are hoping this year’s local victories will finally translate into success in next year’s general election. That’s when the governor, other statewide offices and legislative seats are up for grabs. Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, who left office in 2011, were the last Republicans to hold statewide office, while the Democrats have maintained control of the General Assembly for years.


“The map, after last night, sets up pretty well for 2022 for Republicans,” said Ben Proto, chair of the Connecticut Republican Party, who feels especially optimistic after seeing how successful GOP governor candidates were in Virginia and New Jersey.

“You’re going to be hard-pressed to find someplace where Republicans didn’t do well last night, whether it was a planning and zoning seat in Connecticut or the governor’s office in Virginia and New Jersey,” said Proto, who criticized the Democrats who tried to make their races about former President Donald Trump.

Nancy DiNardo, chair of the Connecticut Democrats contends there’s a big difference between winning a seat on a local planning and zoning commission and winning statewide office, which brings out a much larger number of voters.

“Yes, we did lose some. But it’s local elections and I don’t think they make any comparison to the state or the national (elections),” she said.

“I think all politics is local and every race is its own race. I mean, we have seen this over and over, again and again. A day is a lifetime in politics and the 2022 election is a long way off,” DiNardo said. “Granted there were some flipped seats in some Republican-leaning towns, but Republicans have always controlled more of the municipalities than the Democrats have.”

DiNardo and state Democrats claimed their own “significant victories” following Election Day, including electing the first female mayor in Stamford and flipping control of executive and legislative boards from Republican to Democrat in Avon, Coventry, Enfield, Roxbury, Tolland and Fairfield. Also, along with unaffiliated candidates, Democrats defeated conservative Republican school board candidates who had made critical race theory in schools a top issue in a highly publicized race.


Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, who has yet to announce whether he’ll seek a second term, took the GOP wins in stride, downplaying any possible ramifications for 2022.

“Here in the state some towns went blue, some towns went red. A lot of those were very local in terms of what’s going on, town by town,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “I think we’re fine. I think Connecticut feels like they’re in a pretty good place right now. We’re doing well in terms of jobs, doing well financially and most importantly doing well in terms of COVID.”

Two of his potential Republican opponents, however, see the local election results as a positive sign for the GOP. Bob Stefanowski, who unsuccessfully ran against Lamont in 2018, tweeted how voters’ concerns were “validated” at the polls. He wrote: “Residents want to feel safe. They want a say in their kid’s education. They want lower taxes,” adding how the state Republicans “can bring it back home!”

Former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides wrote in a message posted on Twitter that she was “encouraged: by the GOP’s showing.

“Now, more than ever,” she wrote, “the people of Connecticut have made it clear they want a new direction for our state.”