By LISA CAPOBIANCO
The Republican party of Bristol gained an additional seat in the state legislature after a tight race last Tuesday during the 2014 Election.
City Councilor Henri Martin defeated Democratic opponent Rob Michalik for the 31st District state senate seat, gaining 8,701 votes in Bristol, according to the preliminary results reported by the Registrar of Voters office on the city’s website. Michalik won 7,852 votes in Bristol, according to the preliminary results reported by registrar. District 31 includes Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston, and Harwinton.
“Henri ran an upbeat, positive campaign focused on the issues that matter most to the citizens of the 31st District,” said Bristol Republican Town Committee Chairman Derek Czenczelewski. “As a councilman, Henri has been a steward of fiscal conservatism and a champion on new ideas for job growth, economic development and the overall improvement of his constituent’s quality of life. He always does his homework on the issues.”
Serving in the state legislature since November 2010, Republican State Representative Whit Betts was reelected again, gaining 2,495 votes in Bristol. His opponent, Dan Santorso, received 1,205 votes in Bristol, according to the preliminary results.
Betts said he feels proud to be reelected, and views the election as a “job evaluation.”
“My constituents are my boss—if they’re pleased with the job, they’ll reelect me,” said Betts, adding he would like to see a structural change in the state budget. “I’m very excited and I look forward to the next two years.”
Cara Pavalock, a civil attorney in Connecticut, won 4,073 votes in Bristol for the 77th District, defeating opponent, the Democratic incumbent Chris Wright. Wright, who served in the State House of Representatives for three terms, received 3,773 votes, according to the preliminary results.
Czenczelewski said Pavalock will be an “outstanding representative for Bristol,” knocking on over 7,000 doors to speak directly with voters in the 77th District.
“She has a great message of fiscal responsibility, upholding the Constitutional rights of our citizens and growing our economy,” said Czenczelewski, adding that Betts also ran a great race.
Democrat Frank Nicastro defeated Republican opponent Josh Levesque for the 79th District state representative seat, winning 3,290 votes in Bristol. Born and raised in Bristol, Nicastro has served four terms in the state legislature. Nicastro also served 10 years as city councilman and 10 consecutive years as the mayor of Bristol, as well as working for 17 years as a truant officer in Bristol.
“This will be 10 years in the House,” said Nicastro, who also served in the U.S. Navy and in the Connecticut Army National Guard. “It is quite an honor people let me continue.”
Nicastro further commended his opponent for running a “clean” campaign. Levesque, who gained 2,380 votes in Bristol, said he has a lot of respect for Nicastro, who served as a mentor during the campaign.
“It’s a tough race, but Frank has been a great opponent,” said Levesque while standing outside South Side School on Election Day. “Even though he’s a tough guy to beat, he’s gracious and [like a] mentor.”
This year marked a close race at the state level, as the reelected Governor Dannel Malloy faced off against Republican opponent Tom Foley. Although Malloy won the state overall, the majority of Bristol voters supported Foley with over 9,000 votes, according to the preliminary results. Among all five congressional districts in the state, Malloy won 552,395 votes while Foley won 523,211 votes, according to results from the secretary of state’s office. Foley lost to Malloy by 6,404 votes out of 1.1 million votes during the 2010 gubernatorial election. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, who endorsed Foley two days before the election, received 11,393 votes.
Other Democratic candidates also won reelection, including Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Treasurer Denise Nappier, and Comptroller Kevin Lembo. John Larson won reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives for his ninth term, receiving 9,835 votes in Bristol.
PHOTOS by TAMMI NAUDUS