By SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ It was a mixed showing for incumbent Connecticut legislators, with several withstanding intra-party challenges Tuesday night while one veteran Democrat from New London lost to a political newcomer.
Rep. Ernest Hewett, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2005, was defeated by Chris Soto, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and founder of a nonprofit organization that helps guide low-income and first-generation college students. According to preliminary results, Soto won 66 percent of the 1,507 votes cast.
With no statewide primary on the ballot this year and only a dozen legislative intra-party contests, voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary elections in Connecticut was light. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, a Republican, tweeted that turnout in her city was only 16 percent as of 6 p.m., two hours before the polls closed.
“So low,” she wrote.
Of the dozen General Assembly primary races on Tuesday, 10 involved incumbents from both parties _ eight Democrats and two Republicans. The two GOP incumbents, Jason Perillo of Shelton and Jay Case of Winsted, each successfully fended off fellow Republicans. In
New Britain, well-known state Sen. Terry Gerratana, the co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee, easily defeated Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, president of the city’s Board of Education.
In Stamford, first-term Democratic Rep. Terry Adams fended off fellow Democrat Dan Dauplaise to advance to the general election. Newcomer Laura Bartok, a social worker and former legislative staffer, has defeated fellow Democrat Christy Matthews in Bristol in the 77th Assembly District primary.
In the most recent election seasons, primary ballots statewide featured high-profile battles for governor or U.S. Senate.
In 2014, for example, there was a two-way Republican primary for governor and a three-way GOP primary for lieutenant governor. In 2012, there were both Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate. The statewide average that year for turnout was 22.4 percent. There were also statewide primaries in 2010.
This year, former Olympian August Wolf attempted to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate and challenge state Rep. Dan Carter, who had won the party’s endorsement at the state convention. However, Wolf failed to collect enough signatures.
Carter now faces Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal in November.
Only registered Democrats and Republicans were able to vote Tuesday. There were also four primaries for registrars of voters and judges of probate.
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