House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz will return to his post for a final term after a recount Tuesday confirmed his victory over Republican Michael Gagliardi in the 30th House District.
The district includes portions of Southington and Berlin.
Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, saw his lead grow from 37 to 50 votes as a result of the recount.
“The counts are pretty close,” said Elizabeth Tedeschi, Berlin’s Republican registrar of voters, during a morning break inside Town Hall.
Campaign representatives and state officials were present as local election officials sorted ballots and fed them into tabulators.
The final tally for Aresimowicz was 5,898, while Gagliardi received 5,848 votes.
Aresimowicz, who announced during the campaign that this will be his last term, was elected by the Democratic caucus last week to again be House speaker when the new General Assembly convenes in January.
He will have a significantly larger majority over the next two years, with Democrats expecting to have 92 of the 151 seats, up from their current 80, pending the results of other recounts. All recounts must be completed by today.
Gagliardi was a late entry to the race, joining in mid-October after the previous Republican endorsed candidate, Steven Baleshiski, dropped out. Both towns’ Republican committees withdrew their support for Baleshiski amid controversy regarding Facebook posts he wrote about Islam and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg.
Local officials in Southington and Berlin began their recounts around 9 a.m., with Southington finishing around 1 p.m. and Berlin completing their count roughly three hours later.
The difference in vote counts on Election Day and Tuesday is because ballots with folded edges or circles not completely filled in can be misread by the machines, according to election officials.
The 37-vote margin initially reported in the Nov. 6 election fell within the 0.5-percent margin triggering an automatic recount. In a notice to town election officials last week, Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill said “you must immediately impound the voting machines, absentee ballot materials, moderators’ returns and all other notes, worksheets or written material used in the election to be recanvassed.”
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