MERIDEN — Democrats on Tuesday elected Mary Daugherty Abrams as the nominee to take on Republican incumbent Len Suzio in the 13th Senate District.
Abrams, the party’s endorsed candidate, defeated challenger Alex Tiktinsky in the Democratic primary, receiving more than 70 percent of votes. Abrams swept every precinct and received 3,995 votes, or 72 percent, to Tiktinsky’s 1,490 votes, according to unofficial results tabulated at Abrams’ headquarters. Those numbers do not include absentee ballots.
“It feels amazing, quite honestly, and very humbling because it’s really due to (hard work by my campaign staff),” Abrams said after declaring victory at her campaign headquarters at 5 Colony St. “For me, this shows what Democrats can do when they’re really inspired and pull together. I think it’s just the beginning.”
Abrams earned the right to challenge Suzio, of Meriden, in November’s general election in what both parties view as a key race for winning control of a split Senate. The 13th Senate District covers all of Meriden, along with parts of Cheshire, Middletown and Middlefield.
Abrams, of Meriden, is a former educator and school administrator and the wife of former state Rep. James Abrams, now a Superior Court judge. Abrams said she was compelled to make her first run for public office by the 2016 national election.
Tiktinsky, a 2016 graduate of Colgate University, moved to Meriden from Fairfield earlier this year after getting involved in the district while working for Susan Bysiewicz when she was exploring a run for the seat.
Tiktinsky congratulated Abrams’ campaign team Tuesday and said he will support her in the general election.
Tiktinsky said his campaign was “up against party leadership that’s been decades in power in most cases.”
“That’s a difficult obstacle to navigate,” he said.
Tiktinsky, 24, has raised objections to the primary process over the past months, saying he didn’t feel like the local party gave him a fair chance to receive the endorsement over Abrams. He petitioned onto the ballot by collecting more than 918 signatures.
Tiktinsky said Tuesday’s results are not indicative of how hard his campaign worked, noting his campaign knocked on “over 17,000 doors.”
“We’ve achieved a depth of outreach not seen in this district in recent memory and tapped into a desire in the community to build a better Democratic party,” Tiktinsky said.
Abrams believes she won handily, in part, because of her longtime ties to Meriden. “People wanted someone who was going to truly be from their community,” Abrams said.
Because Abrams and Tiktinsky’s views on campaign issues largely mirrored each other, the candidates tried to separate themselves in other ways. Abrams emphasized her longtime connections and experience in the district, while Tiktinsky promoted himself as a “new wave of Democratic leadership” needed to fix the state’s problems.
Abrams said she thinks Tuesday’s results are a good sign for Democrats heading into the general election. Suzio won election in 2016 by defeating Democrat Dante Bartolomeo by less than 1,000 votes, despite the fact the district has a higher number of registered Democrats than Republicans.
“This shows that we’re on the right path,’ she said.