MANSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Special Election results out of Mansfield Tuesday night led Democrat Brian Smith to claim victory to fill the 48th District State House seat left open by the passing of Representative Linda Orange last year. Smith defeated Republican candidate Mark DeCaprio by more than a two-to-one margin in unofficial results.
Smith issued a statement following the results:
“I want to thank the voters of Colchester, Lebanon, Mansfield, and Windham for trusting me with continuing Representative Linda Orange’s legacy. Linda Orange was one of the most respected, passionate, and effective leaders in the General Assembly. I will strive to honor her values to live up to the challenge of filling her seat and be the independent voice that the 48th district needs in Hartford. “– Representative-Elect Brian Smith
Despite Smith claiming victory, DeCaprio’s campaign is not conceding the Special Election, saying in a statement that amid “concerns over hand counts at two polling places and mucked ballots we will be considering a recount.”
Half a dozen polling places closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, but there was one location that had some extra eyes on it: Mansfield.
Voters at that polling location had their ballots hand-counted by volunteers instead of a machine.
Democratic State Party Chair, Nancy Wyman, said money was the issue.
“The registrars, both Democrats and Republicans are watching,” Wyman explained. “They make the best decisions and they think that this was the best way to go…saving money for the people of Mansfield. “
The two candidates, Republican Mark DeCaprio and Democrat Brian Smith, had campaign staff watching the count to ensure this race was fair — with low turnout, hundreds of votes could make a difference.
In the Special Election for the 132nd district, Republicans held the seat as Brian Farnen narrowly defeated Democrat Jennifer Leeper. The seat – representing Fairfield – became vacant after Brenda Kupchick resigned on November 25, 2019, following her election as Fairfield First Selectman. Kupchick nominated Farnen as the Republican candidate to replace her after winning the top elected position in the town government.