New political ball game at State Capitol

Politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — While there’s going to be a change of power in Washington, there’s also going to be a big change at the State Capitol in Hartford. Republicans have picked up a total of 11 seats in the General Assembly that will drastically change the make up of both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives.Related Content: Republicans make tremendous gains in Connecticut

The three new Republican State Senators that won Democratic seats; Heather Somers of Groton, George Logan of Ansonia, and Len Suzio of Meriden, joined the new 18 member Republican State Senate Caucus at the Capitol Wednesday.

“As of today, officially, there’s no longer a majority party in the State Senate. We are now a chamber of equals,” said State Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven.

The 21 to 15 majority that Democrats have had in the Senate for the past two years will now be a split 18 to 18. It means that Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who serves as President of the Senate, will be called upon to break any votes that result in a tie. It’s the first time this has happened in 112 years.

“The old way of doing things is gone…is gone…we need a brand new playbook,” added Fasano.

Republicans say it was a combination of hard work by the winners, a groundswell of support for Donald Trump in some districts, and voter displeasure with Gov. Malloy and the Democratic leadership of the Assembly.

“For us, it was a perfect storm. I think there’s so much dissatisfaction in how the Democrats have led this state. And they own it, they can’t run from it,” said Connecticut State Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano.Related Content: Big gains for Republicans in the State House and Senate

Although Republicans won’t have a tie in the House of Representatives, they gained 8 seats to come a lot closer. For the past two years, Democrats have had an 87 to 64 majority in the House. Starting next year, that majority will be trimmed down to a much closer 79 to 72.

Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin, who is expected to be voted the Speaker of the House in a Democratic Caucus Thursday night, says the message is that voters want bipartisanship at the State Capitol.

“I think the frustration at Washington D.C. boiled down to the local level,” Aresimowicz said.

“Now, with a different dynamic at play in the legislature, we have the opportunity and even the obligation to work even better together, said Gov. Malloy, putting the best face he can on what can only be described as a drubbing at the polls.

There will be at least two re-counts in State Representative seats. Democratic State Rep. James Albis of East Haven won re-election by just 14 votes. In the district that includes parts of Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford, the Democrat Liz Lineman won by 54 votes.

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