Republican edges Democrat in tight race for 22nd House district

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Plainville Republican Francis Rexford-Cooley won election in a narrow race for the 22nd House District seat on Tuesday, after results were delayed as Southington’s absentee ballots were counted late into the evening.

Based on unofficial results reported to the state, Cooley won by 53 votes over Plainville Democrat Rebecca Martinez, just outside the margin that would require a recount. 

The redrawn district now covers parts of Southington and Farmington, in addition to Plainville.

In total, Cooley garnered 5,046 votes — just over 50% overall — while Martinez received 4,993 votes across three ballot lines due to cross-endorsements. The difference was roughly 0.53% of total votes cast, just shy of the 0.5% that would trigger a recount.

“I’m looking forward to representing the 22nd in the General Assembly,” Cooley said.

Martinez on Wednesday said she was waiting for official results in the tight race. “It’s hard to offer information when we don’t have official results,” she said. “That’s my only comment at this time, we don’t have official results.”

On election night, both candidates expressed their gratitude for being given the opportunity to run and meeting with the residents of the district.

The winner will succeed Republican incumbent Rep. Dr. William Petit, who opted not to pursue re-election after two terms in office. 

Cooley’s primary concern when taking office next year is addressing the state’s pressing economic issues, which he cites as the biggest threat to the state’s long-term prosperity. 

“We’re hemorrhaging businesses, we’re hemorrhaging people,” Cooley said, citing how the last two governors have left the state after leaving office, “What is that saying to the rest of our state? We need to fix our economic business climate.”

Cooley looks to spearhead legislation to lower state taxes to make Connecticut attractive to businesses large and small, along with reducing overall state spending. 

Crime is another issue that Cooly is passionate about, mentioning the recent shooting in Bristol that resulted in the death of two officers, alongside other shootings that’ve happened in Southington, Plainville, and across the state in the past several months. “It’s reaching a crescendo across the entire state — that’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Cooley said. 

His major proposal is to do away with the catch and release system, which he feels gives potentially violent offenders the ability to easily post bond and commit worse offenses. “It’s not like the legion of doom has shown up in Connecticut, we’re just releasing the same bad apples again and again. We’ve got to stop that,” Cooley said. 

Cooley has been a resident of the Southington and Plainville area for many years, having lived in Southington for 15 years and in Plainville for the last 12 years. Prior to his campaign he had an extensive career in education, having taught history at Paier College of Art for 23 years and serving as the college’s dean for 13 of those years.

If the election results are verified as they stand, Cooley will officially assume office on Jan. 4. 


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