2012 elections review: Several incumbents defeated in Connecticut primaries

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August 15, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The primary season continued with elections in Connecticut yesterday.

Here's what happened in primaries for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State House, and State Senate yesterday.

Contested Primaries in Connecticut -- August 14, 2012
U.S. House
(5 seats)
State Legislature
(187 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 1 (20.00%) 14 (7.49%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 2 (40.00%) 1 (0.53%)


U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Connecticut, 2012

Connecticut had a total of 5 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 16 candidates filed to run, made up of 3 Democratic challengers, 9 Republican challengers, and 4 incumbents. A total of 387 U.S. House seats held primaries. Thus far, 55.43% of possible primaries have been contested. Connecticut's contested figure of 30.00% (3 out of 10 possible party primaries) is less competitive than the national average.

Four of Connecticut's five incumbents ran for re-election. All four also ran unopposed in their primaries. John Larson (D) of the 1st District, Joe Courtney (D) of the 2nd District, Rosa L. DeLauro (D) of the 3rd District, and Jim Himes (D) of the 4th District are all seeking re-election. Incumbent Christopher S. Murphy won the Democratic nomination in the race for Connecticut's U.S. Senate seat.

There were only three congressional contested primaries yesterday. In the 2nd District Republican primary, candidate Daria Novak was defeated by Paul M Formica for the nomination.[1]

The open seat in Connecticut's 5th District drew candidates from both parties, and there were contested races on both tickets. In the Democratic primary, Christopher Donovan, the current Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives, Elizabeth Esty, a former Connecticut state representative, and Dan Roberti all ran for the nomination.[2] Elizabeth Esty emerged as the winner of the nomination, and will face the winner of the Republican primary, Andrew Roraback in the general election.[1] On the Republican ticket, Justin Bernier, Mark Greenberg, Connecticut, and Lisa Wilson-Foley were all defeated by Andrew Roraback in the race for the nomination.[2][1]

U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Connecticut, 2012

Incumbent Joe Lieberman, who first assumed office in 1988, chose not to seek re-election in 2012.[3] On the Democratic ticket, candidates Susan Bysiewicz, the former Connecticut Secretary of State, and current 5th District representative Christopher S. Murphy both ran for the nomination. Christopher S. Murphy, who was favored to win in the primary, defeated challenger Bysiewicz.[1][4]

On July 19, 2012, Democratic candidate Susan Bysiewicz began airing an ad that takes aim at her rival for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Christopher S. Murphy.[5] The problem was, Susan Bysiewicz made an error and was actually attacking Murphy based on information about former Congressman Scott Murphy (D-NY).[5]

The ad accused Murphy of taking “more hedge fund money than any Democrat in Congress.”[5] In 2010, the top Democratic recipient of hedge fund contributions was Scott Murphy (D-NY), but not Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT) as the ad falsely claims.[5]

On the Republican ticket, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Linda McMahon and former U.S. Representative Chris Shays ran against each other for the nomination.[2] McMahon defeated Chris Shays for the nomination, advancing her to the general election to take on Murphy. McMahon is seeking another shot at the Senate seat after being defeated in the 2010 election when she ran for the open seat created when incumbent Christopher Dodd (D) decided not to run for re-election. McMahon reportedly spent $50 million over the course of her 2010 campaign.[4][6]

McMahon reportedly already spent at least $12 million in her primary election run against Chris Shays, much of it out of her own pocket.[7] Murphy (D), who was favored to win the primary, has already been targeted by McMahon's campaign ads.[7] McMahon reportedly launched a TV ad during the primary criticizing Murphy and his congressional record.[6]

Members of the U.S. House from Connecticut -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 5 5
     Republican Party 0 0
Total 5 5

State legislature

Connecticut State Senate elections, 2012 and Connecticut House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 187 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 26 Senate seats and 151 House seats.

There were 14 (7.49%) contested Democratic primaries and 1 (0.53%) contested Republican primary. Thus, there were only 15 (4.01%) races yesterday with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 4.01% figure of total contested primaries in Connecticut is significantly lower than the current national contested average of 19.38% for states that have had filing deadlines.

Note: In Connecticut:

  • Endorsed candidates must be chosen at a party convention.
  • No more than one candidate is allowed to be nominated for any office at the convention.
  • That candidate then runs in the primary as a "party-endorsed candidate."
  • Both endorsed and non-endorsed candidates must receive at least 15% of the vote at a convention or gather enough signatures to equal 2% of enrolled party members.
  • If there is only one candidate, no primary is held.


These were a total of three contested races in the Connecticut State Senate.

Democratic Party District 19: Incumbent Edith Prague did not seek re-election, leaving an open seat. Catherina A. Osten defeated Tom Reynolds for the nomination. She will face Christopher Coutu (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 23: Andres Ayala, Jr. defeated incumbent Edwin Gomes and Ernest E. Newton, II in the Democratic primary. He will face will face Caz Mizera (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 33: James Crawford defeated Mary Ellen Klinck in the Democratic primary for incumbent Eileen Daily's open seat. He will face Art Linares (R) in the general election.


Twelve seats were contested in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Three incumbents were defeated by their primary challenger and two races still have results outstanding.

Democratic Party District 3: Incumbent Minnie Gonzalez defeated Victor Luna for the Democratic nomination. She now runs unopposed in the general election.
Democratic Party District 5: The race has not yet been decided. Preliminary results showed Leo Canty tied with Brandon McGee with 774 votes each. Donald Trinks is out of the race after only receiving 267 votes.
Democratic Party District 6: Edwin Vargas defeated incumbent Hector Robles for the Democratic nomination. He will face Michael J. Lupo (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 13: Incumbent John Thompson did not run for re-election, leaving an open seat. Joe Diminico defeated Tom Gullotta, earning the Democratic nomination. He faces Mark Tweedie (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 58: David Alexander defeated incumbent Kathleen Tallarita in the Democratic primary. He will face Tom Sirard (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 63: Michael J. Renzullo defeated Doug Bendetto in the Democratic primary. He will face Jay M. Case (R) in November.
Democratic Party District 75: Victor Cuevas defeated incumbent David Aldarondo in the Democratic primary. He faces John F. Alseph Jr. (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 91: Incumbent Peter Villano did not seek re-election, leaving an open seat. Michael C. D'Agostino defeated John P. Flanagan for the nomination and the district seat. Republican candidate Joseph C. Bertini, Jr. initially filed, but failed to appear on the official candidate list. Therefore, Flanagan will face no general election competition.
Republican Party District 107: Incumbent David Scribner (R) defeated challenger Harold A. Shaker in the Republican primary. He faces no competition in the general election.
Democratic Party District 116: This race is currently undecided. Preliminary results showed incumbent Louis Esposito leading David Forsyth by ten votes. The winner will be unopposed in the general election.
Democratic Party District 128: Incumbent Andres Ayala, Jr. did not run for re-election, leaving an open Democratic seat. Christina M. Ayala defeated Angel Reyes for the nomination in the Democratic primary. She will face candidate Manuel Bataguas (R) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 132: Sue Brand defeated Kevin Coyner in the Democratic primary. She will on incumbent Brenda L. Kupchick (R) in the general election.
Connecticut State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 22 22
     Republican Party 14 14
Total 36 36

Connecticut House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 99 98
     Republican Party 52 53
Total 151 151

See also

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