Democrats make big gains in local elections, but what about next year?

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The dust is settling from Tuesday night’s election victory parties and Connecticut Democrats were the overall big winners at city and town halls.

Democratic candidates for mayor, first selectman and town governing boards were victorious in seizing control from Republicans in more than twenty communities, but political planners are already saying next year will be different.

As chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Governor Dannel Malloy couldn’t have been happier about the big wins for Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, saying, “Pretty extraordinary. I think Democrats have had a good night last night around the country.”

Related Content: 2017 Connecticut Municipal Election Results

The Governor also says that the Democrats’ big gains at city and town halls here in Connecticut is a reflection of the party’s overall appeal to women, minorities and the middle class. He added, “I think when you see in small towns and big towns that kind of swapping out of one party to another, it means our message is resonating.”

It’s hard to argue with the outcome. The Democrats flipped control of either the mayor, first selectman, or town governing bodies away from Republicans in 22 Connecticut communities. The Republicans were only able to flip 6 communities from Democrat to Republican.

Related Content: New Haven Mayor Harp outlines next steps for the city

State Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto says that party organizers learned from major Republican gains made in last year’s legislative elections, saying, “Democrats came back home and really
performed after Nov. 9 of last year. The activists throughout the state with the state party were very, very vocal and put in a lot of work.”

The party contacted hundreds of thousands of potential Democratic voters, making fifteen times as many phone calls as last year.

Republican State Party Chairman J.R. Romano admits the Democrats were able to get people out that probably never voted in municipal elections before, but says that next year’s legislative races will be different. Romano said, “The crisis isn’t going away, the business climate isn’t going away and the Democrats own the mess that our state’s in fiscally.”

Of course, Romano is talking about this year’s long state budget crisis which technically is still not over. There is also every indication it will continue into the next year with more deficits and difficult decisions to be made by state lawmakers about more cuts in spending.

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