SOUTHINGTON — The Republican challenger in the 30th House District is calling for a recount in a close race with Democrat Joe Aresimowicz.
The Secretary of the State’s election results show Aresimowicz, who is House Speaker, with a 37-vote lead over Republican Michael Gagliardi, with more than 11,000 total votes cast. The state’s election laws allow a candidate to request a recount if the margin is half a percent or less of the total votes. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a total of 5,892 votes were cast for Aresimowicz and 5,855 for Gagliardi.
“I think I owe it to the voters to have a close election like this double checked,” Gagliardi said Wednesday.
Aresimowicz is not opposed to a recount, but does not think the result will change.
The district includes portions of Berlin and Southington.
Gagliardi said he’d seen the precinct vote totals from Berlin, but not Southington. He believes the close race is proof that voters don’t like that Aresimowicz is employed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
“I think the people of Berlin don’t like the conflict of interests with Joe’s voting record and his involvement with the union,” he said.
Aresimowicz is an AFCSME education coordinator. He called the union charge a “made-up accusation,” and previously got an advisory opinion of the Office of State Ethics that his employment presents no conflict with being House speaker.
“I’ve never done anything to put my beliefs in collective bargaining ahead of my job as a state representative,” Aresimowicz said.
Aresimowicz said his role as speaker does at times put him at odds with district voters.
“I said throughout that I would not go away from my caucus,” he said. “That was difficult.”
He also pointed out that Democrats Ned Lamont and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy lost the district by thousands of votes.
“I think I’m a rock star” by comparison, Aresimowicz said. He announced at the beginning of the campaign that this would be his last run in the district.
Gagliardi joined the race with just three weeks left after former Republican candidate Steve Baleshiski dropped out. Considering the late start, Gagliardi was pleased with his showing.
“I’m really proud of the support we got,” he said. “I’m really happy with the support and the work the volunteers did on my behalf.”
Aresimowicz defeated his Republican challenger Chris Morelli, at the time a University of Connecticut sophomore, two years ago by about 400 votes.