MILFORD — Republican incumbent Kathy Kennedy appears to have squeaked out a win in the 119th District race for the state House of Representatives.

According to Milford Democratic Registrar of Voters Kerri Rowland, Kennedy has defeated Democrat Bryan Anderson by 153 votes, 7,258 to 7,105, a margin of 1.06 percent. The district includes parts of Milford and Orange.

“I am thrilled to be going back to Hartford for my second term,” Kennedy said Thursday. “In the end, I feel the people must have liked the work I did. I am honored to serve the people of Milford and Orange and look forward to doing so.”

Milford officials spent three hours Wednesday counting 319 absentee ballots that had been dropped off late Monday and Tuesday, and Kennedy’s lead stood at 46 at the end of the day. Kennedy’s lead climbed by about 100 votes Thursday, following a hand count of a small number of Milford ballots and the addition of some ballots from Orange that were received on Election Day.

Although close, the race was not close enough to trigger a recount, Rowland said. That only happens if the difference between the two candidates is less than one-half of one percent. The vote tally should be finalized and official by late Friday or Monday, she said.

Next steps

“I can breathe now,” Kennedy said, in regard to the election being over.

Now that she has won another term, Kennedy listed some issues she hoped to address in Hartford, including the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses and the budget.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I will do everything I can to make it easier for the taxpayers for the residents of Milford and Orange,” she said.

She also congratulated Anderson, who she said “ran a very good race.”

“I wish him the best in whatever his next venture will be,” she said.

Anderson said he will never forget the experience of running, and strongly believes in public service.

“The electoral process is what allows every American an equal voice in their government. Through the direct election of our leaders and representatives, we ensure the continuity of our democratic system. I firmly believe public service is the highest calling,” he said.

He added he is “truly fortunate” to have been a candidate for State office during a presidential election “with record turnout.”

“Being able to discuss with residents what was on their minds and how I could represent them meant the world to me,” Anderson added.

He said he was impressed by the number of young voters who were engaged this year. “It portends well for our future,” he said.

He added he wishes Kennedy well in representing the people of Milford and Orange. Additionally, he said he’s grateful to all “of our volunteers, party members, and Sen. James Maroney and his staff, who helped throughout the campaign. Most of all, I’m grateful to Milford and Orange residents for our conversations. We live in special communities in a state of great potential. I am optimistic about our future.”

Republican Town Chairman John Drapp also congratulated the candidates on a hard-fought race.

“While the margin is a testament to Mr. Anderson’s reputation, Rep. Kennedy has worked hard for Milford and Orange as a state representative, and it appears that the voters agreed that she should continue her work in Hartford,” Drapp said.

sfox@milfordmirror