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Duff keeps top post; no leadership challenges seen

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney. (CTMirror file photo)

The Senate Democratic caucus unanimously voted Thursday to retain the leadership team of Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney of New Haven and Bob Duff of Norwalk as Sen. Gary Winfield of New Haven declined to pursue Duff’s post.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin has the backing of his caucus for a second and final term as speaker in January — if he can survive a recount. Unofficial results have him winning his seat by only 37 votes.

Barring a failure by Aresimowicz to win re-election, it appears the Connecticut General Assembly will open its 2019 session in January with the same leaders of all four legislative caucuses.

Winfield had been making calls exploring a challenge to Duff, but he did not seek a vote.

“We have a nice supermajority. Let’s start it off well,” Winfield said.

Looney said he was “honored and humbled” by the support of his caucus.

“We have a caucus that is fully representative of Connecticut. The Senate Democratic caucus not only boasts racial, gender, and geographic diversity, but is also diverse in practical experience, with innovative business leaders joining a caucus that has consistently championed progressive legislation. I look forward to continuing to work on a bipartisan basis with my friend, Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano.”

Fasano, a Republican of North Haven, will see his title change to Senate minority leader, as Democrats made a net gain of at least five seats Tuesday, turning an 18-18 tie in that chamber into at least a 23-13  advantage. Depending on an expected recount, Democrats could end up with 24 seats.

Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, appeared to lose in results tabulated Wednesday, giving Democrats 24 seats. But amended results Thursday now show him winning, 18,513 to 18,448 — a plurality of 65 votes. A Democratic spokesman said Jorge Cabrera, his challenger, has retained an elections lawyer.

Chuck Pyne, the manager of Logan’s campaign, said a math error was responsible for the shift in leads.
“Towns have to load in numbers to town clerks or registrar of voters and in one town’s case there were some key errors, and numbers didn’t get picked up before hitting send,” Pyne said.

The Senate GOP caucus met Thursday.

After the loss of so many seats, Fasano said of his caucus, “If they want to make a change they are certainly entitled to make a change. I told them, ‘Only vote for me if you have confidence in me.”

Fasano said they viewed the losses as the result of a blue wave kicked up in opposition to President Donald J. Trump, whom Fasano declined to endorse in 2016.

“They looked at it as a Trump issue,” he said. “There’s not much anybody could have done about it.”

House GOP members met Wednesday to endorse another term for Themis Klarides of Derby as Republican minority leader.

8 comments

Bryan Meek November 8, 2018 at 11:27 pm

This would be a miracle of miracles for the union leader to not win the House leadership position. Could it possibly happen? So far we have learned that it is impossible for vote recounts to go against Democrats….some 20 plus races now. A 2 to the 20th probability in the normal world, but in the world of vote counts they only ever seem to go one way. It’s been awhile since my math undergrad degree, but can anyone explain to me how it would be easier to win powerball 6 straight times than have all recounts go one way?

John J. Flynn November 9, 2018 at 2:34 am

I challenged his leadership. I asked him quite publicly to stand up to DCF. Women have had their parental rights taken because they smoked pot in CT. I challenged this Burgess Meredith many times over the years. I called him out many times. This Stern thing is very unsettling. I asked questions, I filed a complaint with the SEEC for campaign finance fraud. Any Senate Majority leader should have to demonstrate ethics in my State. My State lost. Norwlak and Darien lost.

Mike Lyons November 9, 2018 at 9:15 am

Wonderful news for upstate; Bob can keep ‘standing up for Hartford’ while Norwalk keeps getting the short end of the stick, sending ten times as many tax dollars to Hartford as Bob brings back. But apparently most Norwalkers are OK with that.

Mike Lyons November 10, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Ken and Pam – do you have different data than the state-published budget numbers showing that Norwalk pays ten times as much taxes to the State as we get back? Or are you, as I suggested above, OK with that state of affairs?

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