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Sampson re-elected to state Senate; recount expected in 81st House race



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SOUTHINGTON — A Republican senator won re-election Tuesday night while in the 81st House District a tight lead by the Democrat will be contested in a recount.

Democrat Chris Poulos was up by 20 votes, according to Democratic officials Tuesday night, over his Republican opponent Tony Morrison in the race for the open state House seat. Republican officials had the Democrat’s lead at eight votes as absentee ballots were counted.

Morrison was up by about 300 votes before absentee ballots were counted. The 1,100 absentee votes heavily favored Democrats, putting Poulos ahead of Morrison.

“I’m going to ask for a recount,” Morrison said Tuesday night. “It’s so close.”

Poulos said it was a great night and that his approach was a winning one. He told supporters Tuesday night that he believed a candidate can be tough on crime but also concerned about children, and could be concerned about affordability as well as economic growth.

“There were people who said a moderate Democrat can’t win in today’s society,” Poulos said. “We made it to the front row.”

Republican victory in 16th state Senate district race

Voters returned Republican state Senator Rob Sampson to the General Assembly, giving him sweeping victory over his Democratic challenger Chris Robertson. Sampson got more than 21,000 votes in the five-town district while Robertson got more than 13,000.

The 16th Senate District includes Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Waterbury and Wolcott. Sampson, a Wolcott resident, has held the seat since 2018. 

His campaign focused on affordability, public safety and parents’ rights, a message that he said resonated with voters.

“I think Republicans deserve a chance to run the state,” Sampson said. With Republican gains in 2018, there was a “flash of parity” with Democrats who have controlled Hartford for decades and Sampson hoped he’d get more help in the General Assembly after Tuesday night.

“What I need more than anything else is help,” he said.

Robertson said he was pleased with how hard he and his team worked.

“People are scared with inflation, with the rise in food costs, gas, oil,” Robertson said addressing Tuesdays’ results. “People are nervous of the future.”

Also Tuesday night, voters approved a referendum for Southington High School roof work but rejected one for improvements to the athletic field work.

The referendums allocate $7 million for roof work at the high school. Voters turned down a $17 million spending plan for the high school’s athletic field.

A charter change referendum related to library management also passed. Following a charter revision commission, Republican town leaders suggested that the town manager oversee finances, collective bargaining, staffing and building operations at the library. Supporters of the change said the current system splits duties between the library director and the library board, a confusing arrangement for library staff.

Many Democrats opposed the change, saying it would allow the town manager to exert influence over the library operations. Republicans said operations will remain the purview of the library board and director.



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