Democrats extended their control over the Connecticut General Assembly in the Nov. 3 election, gaining an expected six seats in the state House and two in the Senate.

The outcome gives Democrats a preliminary 97-54 edge over Republicans in the state House and a tentative 24-12 advantage in the Senate. (There may be recounts in several close races.)

Democrats will likely gain a net six seats in the state House and two in the Senate.

Nationally, members of Connecticut’s U.S. House Delegation—all Democrats—retained their seats, according to preliminary results.

The relection of U.S. Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Jahana Hayes helped Democrats maintain control of the U.S> House.

Neither of the state's two U.S. Senators were up for election this year, although control of the U.S. Senate was too close to call.

Democrats and Republicans hold 47 seats each with six races undecided.

In the presidential race, Connecticut chose Democrat Joseph Biden over Republican President Donald Trump although, nationally, votes were still being tallied the day after the election.

Rebuilding Connecticut

After Democrats picked up several seats in the state House and Senate in 2018, they passed a number of measures impacting small businesses, including a sweeping leave mandate and a minimum wage hike of almost 50% over four years.

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima is hopeful that lawmakers will be more attuned to the plight of businesses, especially as Connecticut recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

DiPentima noted that nine successful Senate candidates, including three Democrats, and 45 in the House, including 15 Democrats, signed CBIA’s Rebuilding Connecticut pledge.

The pledge is built around 11 policy initiatives designed to support essential state services while creating a climate for growing jobs and driving critical investments in infrastructure and cities.

“CBIA has a history of working with whoever gets elected, regardless of party, and will fight hard to make sure that jobs and the economy are the top priority for returning and new policymakers, starting with the policies in our Rebuild Connecticut pledge,” DiPentima said.

“It is critical that elected officials do not get distracted as they must focus on what our residents need the most—job creation and economic growth.

“Mandates, bigger government, higher taxes, and pet projects are not what Connecticut residents voted for and not what Connecticut needs to rebuild.”

Reboot

As bad as the pandemic has been, it gives Connecticut a chance to reboot, DiPentima said.

“We must take advantage of this opportunity to rebuild Connecticut's economy better, stronger, and more prosperous than before,” DiPentima said.

“We must implement policies to strategically grow our businesses and population, which will grow our economy and make Connecticut economically competitive again—something CBIA continues to fight for.”

Connecticut voters, who turned out in record numbers—including voting by absentee ballot, available to all voters this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic—favored Democrats at the state and national levels.

House Races

Democratic challengers toppled Republican incumbents in several state House races.

In the 17th District, which includes Avon and Canton, Democratic Eleni Kavros DeGraw defeated Republican incumbent Leslee Hill.

Democrat Mike DiGiovancarlo, a Waterbury police officer, defeated incumbent Republican Stephanie Cummings in Waterbury’s 74th District.

In the 101st District in Durham and Madison, John-Michael Parker ousted five-term Republican incumbent Noreen Kokoruda.

And in the 132nd in Fairfield, Republican Brian Farnen lost to Democratic Jennifer Leeper in a rematch of a special election earlier this year.

Other Races

Democrats also picked up the 114th District seat held by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby), who did not seek reelection.

Orange Board of Education member Mary Welander won the seat against Republican Daniel DeBarba.

Two Republican challengers were successful against Democratic incumbents.

In the 43rd District covering Stonington and North Stonington, incumbent Kate Rotella fell to Republican challenger Greg Howard, and in the 53rd District covering Ashford, Tolland, and Willington, Republican Tammy Nuccio defeated incumbent Democrat Pat Wilson Pheanious.

In addition, Republicans picked up the 30th District seat vacated by retiring House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), with Berlin town council member Donna Veach defeating Democrat JoAnn Angelico-Stetson, who also sits on the town council.

State Senate

Democrats padded their lead in the state Senate, adding two seats.

Former Democrat state representative Rick Lopes beat Republican incumbent Gennaro Bizzaro in the 6th Senate District, covering New Britain, Berlin, and Farmington.

It was a rematch of the February 2019 special election won by Bizzaro.

And Democrat Jorge Cabrera, a union representative, defeated Republican incumbent and business executive George Logan in the 17th District covering several towns in the Naugatuck Valley and suburban New Haven.

Regardless of the outcome, new legislative leaders will be elected next year in the state House and a new minority leader in the state Senate after Aresimowicz, Klarides, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) decided against seeking re-election.

Republicans also held Fasano's 34th District Senate seat, with political newcomer Paul Cicarella defeating Democrat April Capone, a former mayor of East Haven.