MERIDEN — Michael Skelps held a sizable lead over Ernestine Holloway in the 82nd House District Republican primary about an hour after polls closed Tuesday.
According to numbers provided by the Meriden City Clerk’s office, as of publication deadline, Skelps had received 277 votes to Holloway’s 121 with four out of six precincts reporting and a portion of absentee ballots counted. Skelps reported an unofficial vote tally of 537 to 188, which he said included all six precincts and absentee ballots. Because Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order this week allowing municipal officials to count absentee ballots received by mail so long as they were postmarked by Tuesday, it will likely take days for municipalities to receive and count all valid ballots to determine final vote tallies.
Skelps, of Middlefield, earned the Republican endorsement earlier this year by receiving the majority of delegate votes at the party’s nominating convention. He has lived in Middlefield for 15 years and is seeking his first state office after serving on Middlefield’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Finance.
“This is my first victory outside of Middlefield, so it feels good to know that my message and qualifications resonate with the people of Meriden as well as Rockfall and Middlefield,” Skelps said.
“My opponent conducted an energetic campaign, and though she lost, it was not for a lack of effort,” he added.
Holloway, of Meriden, couldn’t be reached Tuesday night. She needed to receive 89 signatures from registered Republicans in the 82nd District to qualify for a primary, according to the Secretary of the State’s Office. Holloway previously ran for the seat in 2018, losing to Democratic incumbent Emil “Buddy” Altobello. Altobello has held the seat for 26 years and announced earlier this year that he plans to step down. The 82nd House Distinct covers Middlefield and a section of Meriden.
The winner of the primary will run against Democrat Michael Quinn in November. Quinn is an attorney and partner at Mahon, Quinn & Mahon, a law firm in Meriden. He currently serves as Meriden’s corporation counsel, a politically appointed position.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lamont signed an executive order allowing all voters in Connecticut to vote via absentee ballot. Voters had a choice of mailing the absentee ballot in or dropping it off at ballot boxes placed outside City Hall. They were also able to vote in-person at polling places on Tuesday. Despite the changes, Assistant City Clerk Josh Broekstra said the primary election went smoothly overall.