SOUTHINGTON —Republican challenger Michael Gagliardi, who jumped into the race last month, was a few hundred votes ahead of Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz Tuesday night, but not all Berlin precincts had reported by press time.
Gagliardi won in the Southington precincts of the 30th House District.
The close race followed other GOP victories Tuesday night.
Rob Sampson, a Republican state representative for the 80th district, won his race for the 16th Senate District against former state representative and Democrat Vickie Nardello.
Sampson said the election was about selecting candidates who could fix the state’s financial problems and preserve American freedoms and culture, which he believes Democrats are risking with a “a dangerous agenda that’s tearing our country apart.”
Sampson was also pleased with his campaign.
“We ran a clean race. We didn’t send out any negative mailers,” he said Tuesday.
Nardello did well in Waterbury precincts, but Sampson won consistently in the district’s other towns.
Nardello said she advocated for taking care of the entire community “instead of every man for himself.”
“I’m proud of the campaign we ran,” she said.
The 16th district includes Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Wolcott and Waterbury. It has been held since 2010 by Joe Markley, a Republican running for lieutenant governor. Markley and Sampson have similar campaign platforms.
Gagliardi jumped in as the Republican challenger to Aresimowicz after the resignation of Republican candidate Steve Baleshiski.
While Republicans watching election results at Friends Cafe in Southington didn’t know the outcome of that race, they were encouraged that a newcomer and Berlin resident who started his campaign in early October was in a close race. Southington Republican Town Chairman Steve Kalkowski said Gagliardi was nearly tied with Aresimowicz in Berlin districts but he didn’t have exact numbers.
Gale Mastrofrancesco won in the 80th House District, defeating Democratic challenger David Borzellino. She felt she focused on the issues that mattered most to district residents and rejected the “identity politics” of the opposing party. The district includes Southington and Wolcott.
Fusco won the 81st House District, an all-Southington district, defeating Democrat Ryan Rogers.
Fusco said he felt the win reflected support from his constituents and that it “felt good” to be supported by voters for a second term.
“It’s about finding a better way forward,” he said.
James Sinclair, Rogers’ deputy treasurer, said Rogers congratulated Fusco on the victory. Rogers’ wife went into labor Monday and the candidate was at the hospital on Tuesday.
“Ryan is going to be very happy with his baby boy Will,” Sinclair said.
A referendum on open space spending and another calling for a roof replacement at Southington High School both passed Tuesday night.