Democrat Ned Lamont will take office as Connecticut's 89th governor Jan. 9, facing a number of high priority challenges, including multibillion dollar budget deficits and economic growth.
"My door is going to be open," the Greenwich business leader said the afternoon following the election.
"I'm going to do everything I can to be a champion for small business, big business—make sure you have confidence in the state, make sure this is a state where you want to invest, grow, and hire people.
"I've got to bring people together to make sure this is a state that hangs together going forward to make the decisions we need to get this state growing again.
"Just leave the labels at the door. I want labor there. I want business leaders there. I want Democrats there. I want Republicans there.
"We've got to work together to get through this thing, and that's how we're going to do it. That's how we get Connecticut growing again and that's what I need to do."
'Ready to Collaborate'
Lamont defeated Republican Bob Stefanowski in a tightly contested race, with the outcome undecided until the morning after polls closed.
He won by 44,581 votes, taking 49% of the vote, with Stefanowski at 46%, and the independent candidate Oz Griebel at 4%.
CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan called for collaboration between the private sector and the new Lamont administration, noting the Governor-elect has a broad perspective of the state's business climate and economic challenges.
"Connecticut has many positive things going on right now, including a resurgent manufacturing sector, sustained job growth, and a strong entrepreneurial presence," Brennan said.
I'm going to do everything I can to be a champion for small business, big business.
"We will be very vocal in our advocacy to make sure we don't slow down the recovery in Connecticut.
"The private sector is ready to collaborate with the new administration and General Assembly to be partners in finding the solutions to the state's greatest challenges."
Statewide, Legislative Results
Lamont's victory capped a series of Election Day wins for Democrats, with party candidates sweeping all statewide offices, all U.S. Congressional races, and picking up a raft of seats in both the state Senate and state House.
Democrats broke the 18-18 tie in the state Senate, flipping five Republican seats, including three in Fairfield County held by long-time incumbents.
One Senate race remains undecided—Senator George Logan (R-Ansonia) has a 65-vote lead over his Democratic opponent and a recount is scheduled for next week.
The GOP lost at least 13 seats in the state House, including 11 held by incumbents, while picking up the 51st District seat held by Danny Rovero (D-Dayville), who did not run for reelection.
Democrats picked up five House seats in Fairfield County, including the 150th District currently held by Mike Bocchino (R-Greenwich)—a seat Republicans have held since 1912.
Three House races remain undecided pending recounts, among them the seat held by House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), who leads his Republican opponent by 37 votes.
State Democratic legislative leaders told post-election press conferences that a number of workplace mandates—including a $15 hourly minimum wage and paid family and medical leave—would be priority issues in the 2019 General Assembly session.
Statewide Offices, Congress
Democrats also maintained control of the Attorney General's office, with the legislature's current Judiciary Committee co-chair William Tong (D-Stamford) defeating Republican Sue Hatfield.
Democratic incumbents Kevin Lembo and Denise Merrill retained the comptroller and secretary of state offices, and former Hartford City Council president Shawn Wooden defeated Republican Thad Gray in the treasurer's race.
Voters also sent Democratic incumbents Senator Chris Murphy and representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, and Jim Himes back to Congress, with fellow Democrat Jahana Hayes winning the 5th District seat vacated by Elizabeth Esty.
Democrats are poised to regain control of the U.S. House for the first time in eight years, while Republicans maintained their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Connecticut voters also overwhelmingly approved two amendments to the state's constitution in Tuesday's elections.
One amendment creates a lockbox to protect dedicated funding for highways and mass transit. The state's Special Transportation Fund has often been the target of legislative raids.
The lockbox amendment was supported by 88% of voters, while 84% approved a ballot question requiring public hearings and special votes when certain public lands are sold or transferred.