Republican candidate Tom O'Dea won the election for the 125th District in the Connecticut General Assembly, receiving 5,878 votes to Democratic challenger Mark Robbins' 2,750 votes, or a spread of 67 percent to 31 percent.
O'Dea expressed his happiness with the results and his excitement about the office after he received a concession from Robbins in person at Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
"I feel great," he said. "My initial announcement was that the town is best served when people have a choice in office. I'm glad we took the high road in the campaign. I'm a blessed man. My wife has been fully behind me, and this hasn't been easy.
"Being an active and outspoken member of Town Council means that you make some people unhappy with your votes (sometimes). But I think the (voters have faith in me) as you can see dictated in the results of the election. I promise to do the best I can with the honor I've been given to represent New Canaan and Wilton," he said at Cava, minutes after receiving Robbins' concession.
His opponent was upbeat in his defeat.
"This was a spectacularly good experience," he said. "I am very happy to have the (Democratic) party be heard. I will carry the energy message forward. ... I'm grateful for the people that supported me. I've made great connections with people, and I look forward to championing energy solutions for the community in the future," he said in an interview at Democratic Party headquarters Tuesday night.
O'Dea, who has served on New Canaan's Town Council for the past seven years, including two as council secretary, will replace Republican John Hetherington in the Legislature, who held the 125th seat for the previous 10 years.
O'Dea is a partner at the law firm Halloran and Sage, based in Westport.
He has described himself as a small-government, fiscal conservative, and sees the state's budget deficit as the most important challenge the state faces.
"In state office, how am I going to try and make the state a better place? By addressing the fiscal catastrophe this state is facing. We're at a tipping point," he said in an interview in October.
O'Dea favors a 10 percent cut in expenditures across the board and a reduction in taxes to go along with it.
"It's not rocket science that if you have more people paying a little less, you have more revenue," he said at a debate in October.
Hetherington was on hand Tuesday night at Republican headquarters.
He said leaving office was a bittersweet experience, but that he had "utmost faith" in O'Dea.
"I think he'll do a great job," he said.
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