Berlin Republican Donna Veach had a lead in primary votes over Southington Republican Jim Townsley Tuesday night, but with many absentee ballots expected there was no clear winner.
Veach won the party’s nomination to run for the 30th House District, a seat that’ll be open next year after the retirement of Democrat Joe Aresimowicz. Townsley is challenging her to run against Democrat JoAnn Angelico-Stetson, a Berlin Town Council member.
Veach is in her first term on the Berlin Town Council. Townsley is the pastor of Central Baptist Church and a school founder.
The 30th district includes Berlin and a portion of Southington. Delegates at the Republican nominating convention were split mostly along town lines.
Steve Kalkowski, Southington Republican Town Committee chairman, said Veach had a 100-vote lead Tuesday night with 598 votes to Townsley’s 498.
He said turnout at Southington polling locations had been “very light.”
“Which was disappointing. Hopefully there’s going to be a lot of absentee ballots coming in,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get quite a few absentees coming in.”
Sandy Coppola, Berlin Republican Town Committee chairwoman, said she was pleased with the turnout in Berlin, particularly considering the recent storm and ongoing pandemic. She expected Veach’s lead to hold as absentee ballots are counted.
“Based on the current numbers, I don’t think there’ll be enough to make a significant change. I’m hopeful we’re still going to win, but we’ll know for sure on Thursday,” Coppola said.
There could be an additional thousand absentee votes, Kalkowski said, so it was impossible to call the primary on Tuesday. Coppola didn’t expect that many absentee ballots.
Aresimowicz, house speaker, has held the 30th district seat for 14 years. He decided not to run for reelection this year.
In 2018, the Southington portion of the district voted for Michael Gagliardi, a Republican challenger who'd entered the race three weeks before the election. In a recount, Aresimowicz won by just 50 votes.