MERIDEN — Cheers erupted across the Democratic Town Committee headquarters on Pratt Street around 9:55 p.m. on Election Night, as party leaders declared victory in the 13th State Senate District race.
Meriden Democrat Jan Hochadel appeared to have staved off Republican Joseph Vollano by a margin of at least 2,000 votes. Official vote totals were not yet reported and Vollano had not conceded as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The district includes all of Meriden and Middlefield and covers parts of Middletown and Cheshire.
If the 13th Senate District results hold, Hochadel, an educator and the current leader of the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, will succeed incumbent Democrat Mary Daugherty Abrams, who did not seek re-election in the race.
“I just have a lot of people to thank, because of all the work,” Hochadel told the Record-Journal. “It’s not just one person, right, but I think people believe in the vision I have for Connecticut. You know. Women deserve a right to [make reproductive decisions] themselves. Education is really important. Working class families are really important and the voters show that.”
Tuesday night’s counts showed that Hochadel appeared to hold commanding leads in two of the four municipalities that make up the 13th district. Unofficial tallies showed Hochadel leading in Middletown by 4,077 votes to 2,722. Unofficial numbers compiled in Meriden, including absentee ballot counts and Election Day registration totals, showed Hochadel holding a lead of 8,139 votes to 7,039 votes.
Vollano currently sits on Meriden’s Board of Assessment Appeals and has been an active presence in the city’s political scene. Vollano has been particularly vocal on issues, including addressing soaring rates of juvenile crime, economic inflation and either scaling back or overturning the statewide police accountability law that was passed in 2020. Locally, Vollano had been steadfast in his opposition to the Meriden City Council’s decision in 2021 to establish a Civilian Police Review Board to review complaints around police use-of-force.
Early in the day, both candidates expressed optimism that their campaigns would prevail. Vollano, while holding signs and greeting voters in front of the Meriden polling location at Israel Putnam Elementary School on Parker Avenue, forecast Republicans’ victory.
“Tonight, the headline should read, ‘Forget the propaganda. Republicans bring real change.’ That’s the headline for you tonight — because that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” Vollano said.
“They’re going to do all their propaganda over there,” Vollano said of Democrats. “We’re making real change here…. Talking to the people today, the wave is coming.”
Hochadel visited multiple polling places throughout the district’s four municipalities.
“Every place I’ve been to there’s been a really good, steady turnout. From the comments that I’m getting, and the thumbs up, I’m feeling really good,” Hochadel said.