Polls open for special elections to fill vacant legislative seats

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Polls officially open for special elections in a number of towns around the state. Two of the general assembly seats on the ballot could change the balance of power in the state senate.

Polls are just opening in West Haven, and in two other parts of the state. Three seats in the assembly might not sound like much, but two of these elections could decide who controls the state senate.

The one to really watch is the second senate district. That’s Bloomfield, Windsor, and part of Hartford. Democratic Senator Eric Coleman stepped down to become a judge. The democrat looking to replace him is currently a state representative. His name is Doug McCrory. But if Michael McDonald, a republican town councilman from Windsor, wins then republicans would pick up a longtime democratic seat in the senate.

Related: Special elections planned for 3 open legislative seats

That won’t matter unless republicans hang on to the 32nd senate district, which includes Watertown, Middlebury, and some other towns north and west of Waterbury. Republican Senator Rob Kane stepped down to be a state auditor of public accounts. The republican looking to replace him is current state representative Eric Berthel. The democrat looking to flip that district is Doug Cava, a Region 12 Board of Education member. Unaffiliated candidate Dan Lynch petitioned his way onto the ballot to create a third option for district voters.

And in West Haven, longtime state representative Steve Dargan stepped down from his seat representing the 115th district. He’s a democrat. The democrat trying to replace him is Dorinda Borer. If that last name sounds familiar, she is the ex-wife of former Mayor Richard Borer. She also served on the Board of Ed. She faces republican Edward Granfield. He has been on the economic developments commission and the harbor commission. That’s a house seat. It’s important, but the senate races could really make a difference.

“Right now, these two state senate races, one was previously a democrat, one was previously a republican. Both of them are contested, so even the change of one seat can influence the direction of the state senate, so that’s very important,” said Denise Merrill, (D) Secretary of the State.

With the 18-18 tie right now, democratic Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman breaks any deadlocks, so the democrats effectively still control the senate, but that one seat could give republicans control for the first time in two decades.

Polls in those communities are open until 8 p.m.

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