Democrat wins Southington House seat by one vote

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SOUTHINGTON — Democrat Chris Poulos won a seat in the General Assembly by one vote following a recount Monday.

While Poulos had a six vote lead over his Republican opponent Tony Morrison on election night, a recanvas of more than 10,000 ballots over the course of the day Monday dropped that lead to a single vote.

The final total was 5,297 votes for Poulos to 5,296 votes for Morrison.

Poulos said he was honored to be elected and said he expected a close margin.

“It’s overwhelming. It’s great, great news,” he said.

“Having knocked on 5,300 doors it’s clear that people are divided,” Poulos said. “We need to wipe the slate clean of animosity and we need to move forward together in a civil and productive way to do what's best for our town and our state.”

He praised town election workers for an “absolutely professional” handling of ballots.

Steve Kalkowski, Southington Republican Town Committee chairman, said he’s never seen an election decided by one vote.

“There was one hand count ballot that was the difference. The voter put their pen on Morrison and made a dot then circled Poulos,” Kalkowski said.

Lawyers for both parties oversaw the recanvas of ballots on Monday, a process that took from around 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

After work, Poulos went to Town Hall where he watched the remainder of the recount.

Morrison, who is from the United Kingdom, was out of the country Monday for a family matter. Reached by phone Monday night, he said he hasn’t made a decision about his next move.

“I’m not going to make a decision now. I’m not even in the country,” Morrison said. “Since it was one vote, the Republican team is going to revisit the numbers, check them out.”

Morrison said he appreciated the work done on the election and regretted a result wasn’t sooner in coming.

Unofficial results on election night showed that Poulos had a six-vote lead over Morrison. While the Republican had a lead of around 300 as district totals were compiled, the absentee votes went heavily Democratic and put Poulos just barely ahead.

Election for an open seat

The election pitted Poulos, a Spanish teacher at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, against Morrison, a retired programmer and executive at IT and software companies.

The 81st state House district is entirely within Southington and currently held by Republican John Fusco, who didn’t run for reelection. While Fusco has held the seat since 2016, Democrats held it prior to that year. Poulos will be sworn in early next year.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in town, although the margin has been closing in recent years. While Democrats had 600 more registered voters than Republicans in 2019, the gap closed to 300 in 2021.

Unaffiliated voters outnumber either party, according to state records.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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