CT election results: Highlights from a busy Wednesday after Election Day

Photo of Dan Brechlin

It was a late night for election results in Connecticut Tuesday and, in many cases, the vote tallies weren't even complete by the time political candidates went to bed.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, for instance, left his party's event at the Trumbull Marriott Shelton at around 11:30 p.m. as he insisted votes wouldn't be fully in until the morning. A few minutes later, Gov. Ned Lamont was claiming victory at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. He, too, knew the final count of votes was still a long way off.

When Lamont headed out for the night, many of the candidates on his party's line on the ballot had yet to know whether they were heading to office or ending their own political runs. 

"Connecticut gets it right, we had a good election, a fair election and now we have to come together to get it done," Lamont said in a victory speech, optimistic the Democrats had pulled out a victory.

Meanwhile, things were playing out well into early morning hours. Here's a rundown:

The 5th District conundrum

It's been over 20 hours since the polls closed around Connecticut - so why no definitive result in the 5th District race between incumbent Jahana Hayes and challenger George Logan?

As of 4:30 p.m., Hayes led Logan 126,962 to 125,138 with 95 percent of the expected votes tallied. The Secretary of the State's Office shows Hayes with 125,948 votes to Logan's 125,171.

So what is going on here?

The Associated Press relies on people at voter precincts sending results to the Associated Press, while the SOTS relies on local election officials submitting their results. Election officials have 48 hours to submit absentee ballot totals and oftentimes those results are not submitted right away. In fact, as of this morning and even this afternoon, it's likely many of those absentee ballot totals were still missing. The Associated Press, meanwhile, is using unofficial results researched at the poll or town halls by people working for the news service.

So while that explains, why the Associated Press has a higher vote tally than the Secretary of the State's office, there remains confusion over some percentages. That portion of the conversation gets more technical.

The Secretary of the State's Office relies on precinct reporting, meaning the percentage of polling places that have tallied their votes. Accuracy can be a challenge because a the precinct could be credited with submitting without actually submitting all of the votes on hand, absent ballots or otherwise. The expansion of rules when it comes to absentee ballots since the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a far higher number of absentee ballots.

Instead, the Associated Press uses its own percentage system, which is also displayed on the CT Insider live election results page. The Associated Press estimates the expected vote total, using past elections to help create a more accurate prediction. 

In short, even as late as 5 p.m., not all of the ballots are accounted for on the Secretary of the State Office website mostly because they are not required to. And that office isn't responsible for deciding races - that typically falls on the losing campaigns to concede unless there is a recount.

Absentee ballots

In total, 150,900 absentee ballots across the state were returned and tallied toward Tuesday's election results, or 92 percent of the total absentee ballots that had been requested and distributed.

Of those returned, 20,015 were from Republicans, 39,706 were from unaffiliated voters and whopping 80,327 were from Democrats. Other parties accounted for 1,852 absentee ballots.

George Logan confident

George Logan, the former state senator and current Republican candidate for Connecticut's 5th District, issued a release early Wednesday afternoon expressing confidence that he would be the next representative for the district. To be clear, U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes has not conceded and unofficial race results still show a close race.

"We're closely monitoring the vote count, but given the results reported by the secretary of the state we're confident that after all the votes are counted we believe George Logan will be the next Congressman from Connecticut's 5th Congressional District," the statement read.

As of 12:30 p.m., the results showed Logan had 2,710 more votes than Hayes with just over 98% of precincts having been tallied.

Lamont, Democrats look ahead

Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday morning outside the State Capitol that he received a concession call from Independent Party candidate Rob Hotaling Tuesday night and a call from Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski Wednesday morning.

Lamont was focused on looking ahead, repeating much of what his focus has been on throughout the campaign trail including holding taxes in place, supporting Connecticut businesses, helping families in need and more.

Lamont appeared with fellow Democrats who had claimed victory in other races, including treasurer, secretary of the state, comptroller and attorney general.

Lamont flips Connecticut

If you're wondering what happened to give Gov. Ned Lamont such an edge on election night, look no further than this list compiled by CT Insider politics reporter John Moritz.

The Democrat didn't just flip a couple of towns - he flipped dozens. Unofficial results indicate Lamont may have won every shoreline town Connecticut has to offer outside of East Haven. That means he flipped a number of those towns including Greenwich, Darien, Milford, Stefanowski's hometown of Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Lyme and Waterford. Greater Hartford went heavily toward Lamont, with wins in Farmington, Avon and Rocky Hill. And even in eastern Connecticut, Lamont had wins in Pomfret, Andover and Ledyard.

Logan vs. Hayes too close to call

If you're wondering whether U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes or Republican challenger George Logan won their race for the 5th Congressional District, you're not alone.

As of 11 a.m., neither candidate had conceded. Unofficial race results according to the Associated Press showed Hayes with a lead of 1,200-plus votes (with over 245,000 votes cast in the district). The secretary of the state's office actually has Logan with a slight lead, but with fewer votes counted.

Both candidates appeared enthused and confident about their chances in the early morning hours Wednesday. It's expected they will address supporters at some point today.

Greenwich goes blue

In an interesting and somewhat surprising twist, Greenwich leaned heavily toward Democrats Tuesday at the polls. Hector Arezeno defeated Republican Peter Sherr, according to unofficial results, becoming the first Democrat to ever represent the 151st House District. Another Democrat, Stephen Meskers, defeated Republican Ed Lopez and will now represent the 150th House District in Hartford. Rachel Khanna, a Democrat, won the 149th House District, defeating Republican Kimberly Fiorello.

The only race still to be decided is the state Senate race in Greenwich between Republican Ryan Fazio and Democratic challenger Trevor Crow. The race could be headed to a recount.

Sean Scanlon named next state comptroller

A Democrat from Guilford, Sean Scanlon received three party endorsements for comptroller: from the Democrats, the Independent Party and the Working Families Party. It was enough to push him over the finish line as he had nearly 120,000 votes more than Republican Mary Fay as of Wednesday morning.

The former state representative will fill the role that had been held by the popular Kevin Lembo for years before he resigned at the end of 2021. As comptroller, Scanlon will be charged with providing accounting services, preparing financial reports and administering benefits to state employees, among other responsibilities.

Stephanie Thomas next secretary of the state

Stephanie Thomas, a Democratic state representative from Norwalk, is Connecticut's next secretary of the state. Thomas, the first Black secretary of the state in Connecticut history, held a lead of 666,944 votes to Republican Dominic Rapini's 521,957 as of 10:45 a.m., with 95 percent of the expected votes counted.

Thomas said she was admittedly confident in the eventual results Tuesday night, but held off on declaring victory. The Associated Press called the race in her favor Wednesday morning.

Stefanowski concedes to Lamont in governor race

The Republican candidate for governor was optimistic that when the sun rose Wednesday morning, things would be working in his favor. That was not the case, as Ned Lamont held a lead of 676,902 votes to 535,205 over Bob Stefanowski as of 8:30 a.m., according to unofficial results

With 94 percent of the votes expected calculated, that was enough to for Stefanowski to offer a concession via a campaign email and one in-person to his supporters Wednesday morning.

"The results of this election are not what we had hoped for. But while the outcome was not in our control, the actions we take moving forward from here are," Stefanowski wrote. "This campaign was an example of what can be done when you stand up for what you believe in. We may not have won, but we changed the course of Connecticut by advocating for the people."

Stefanowski, who also lost four years ago in Connecticut to Lamont, trailed the governor most of the night as unofficial results came in. A map of those results shows Lamont won nearly every shoreline town from Greenwich to Stonington, while also holding strong throughout Greater Hartford, much of Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut's cities.

Democrats gathering in Hartford

A presumed victory press conference is being held in Hartford at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the State Capitol. In attendance will be Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, U.S. Sen. Blumenthal and Attorney General William Tong. While Lamont claimed victory Tuesday night, Blumenthal and Tong were offered concessions by their opponents by way of phone call.

Also expected at the press conference, according to Lamont's office, is Stephanie Thomas, listed as secretary of state-elect, Erick Russell, listed as treasurer-elect, and comptroller-elect Sean Scanlon.

None of the three statewide candidates had formally declared victory Tuesday night, but it appears Wednesday morning all three are feeling confident in the election results.

Early voting gets a nod in Connecticut

Voters in Connecticut decisively agree Connecticut should implement early voting, allowing voters to head to the polls prior to Election Day in a more flexible style.

The Associated Press called the race overnight and as of 8 a.m., the votes in favor of early voting far outweighed the votes against. Nearly 60 percent of the vote (or nearly 339,000 in total) supported early voting in Connecticut.

Early voting won't necessarily be put in place overnight, of course. This ballot measure allows the state legislature to amend the state's constitution to implement early voting. It will be up to them to decide exactly what the rules look like.

Joe Courtney wins 2nd Congressional District

It wasn't necessarily a surprise, but the Democrat is headed back to Washington for yet another term. Courtney was first elected in 2006 and has held steady, thanks in large part, to his efforts in increasing submarine production in Connecticut.

The confirmation of the win came around 2 a.m. from the Associated Press. As of Tuesday at about 8 a.m., Courtney was holding 58 percent of the vote in his district over Republican Mike France, Green Party candidate Kevin Blacker and Libertarian William Hall with 90.5 percent of the expected vote tallied. In total, he'd amassed over 163,000 votes.