Results indicate Boucher wins 26th District State Senate Race
Published 8:30 pm, Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Unofficial election results from the 26th State Senate show that Republican Toni Boucher beat out challenger John Hartwell, a Democrat, on her way toward another term as State Senator in the 26th District. Boucher received 2,586 votes in New Canaan, while Hartwell received 999, with an additional 21 Working Families votes.
"I think we had a terrific night," Boucher said. "It was really impressive that we were able to win in Westport, the town of my opponent."
Boucher was also pleased by all the residential support in New Canaan for her race. She believes her message of promoting fiscal responsibility and strong education among other things resonated very well with everyone.
Hartwell, despite losing for the second time remained optimistic.
"First of all, I want to congratulate Toni. She worked very hard, got her message out and I wish her the best," he said. "Toni does so well and works so hard between the elections. You have to give her credit."
Nationally, the Republicans have won a vast majority in Congress but that same sensation did not sweep all of Connecticut. Many Democrats took key victories across the state and the new State Legislature is remains mostly Democrat. New Canaan, on the other hand, largely supported Republican voters as evidenced by the numbers.
"The majority has certainly changed, in that it is not as Democrat as it was before," Boucher said. "But I do hope that both sides can share each other's ideas and work cooperatively." Boucher mentioned that she had already begun contacting her Democratic colleagues in hopes of working cooperatively over the next two years.
Hartwell also praised his party for their victories and accomplishments Tuesday night.
"I think we have an incredibly talented team put together," he said. "I believe that once everything is said and done, Dan Malloy is going to be governor and that will be huge."
Hartwell believes that a Democratic governor combined with Democratic legislature will mark the end of divided government in Connecticut that has been "for the last 20 years."
"It will be a difficult year ahead and hard decisions will have to be made," he added.
Still, party politics is not always as prevalent in state government elections and the 26th district was not the exemption to the rule. The race this year has been devoid of the typical personal attacks and party politics found in other races.
"I am really proud of our campaign," Boucher said. "It was all positive and not about our opposition. The message was clear."
Debates for the 26th focused heavily on the budget spending and businesses in the state and while they might have different party associations, Boucher and Hartwell both come from business backgrounds.
Hartwell, a business and management consultant, served as vice president of Chase Manhattan Bank for some time before turning his attention to politics with the likes of Howard Dean and Ned Lamont. He also has a Masters degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management.
Boucher received her MBA from the University of Connecitcut business school and also holds a series 7 and a series 63 license.
"I never had a burning desire to run for office," Boucher, of Wilton, said surprisingly. It was her strong interest in the education system that launched her into politics. After holding various posts with the Wilton Board of Education and on the Wilton Board of Selectmen, Boucher decided to run for State Legislature.
She maintains that education was the primary reason for her entry into politics.
"Education was worth the interruption of a normal life," she said.
It was not until 2008 that she decided to run for State Senate after 12 years as a representative. "It was time to do something different and I plunged headfirst into it."
Boucher overwhelmingly won the last election, but that did not deter Hartwell from throwing his hat in the ring a second time.
"The problems to the state have gotten worse in the last two years," Hartwell said. "I want to find a way to work together to solve them rather than take a partisan approach."
Hartwell's main concern, as expected, was job growth and the economy.
"We have been dead last in job growth in this country over the last 20 years."
However, Hartwell did not just plan to focus on regular small business jobs.
"I am working to get new small businesses to our region," he said. Hartwell believes that once newer businesses move to Connecticut, they will stay here.
"If we can create a supportive environment, then that will encourage entrepreneurs to start their companies in Connecticut."
Hartwell also said that this race has not discouraged him from considering another attempt in the future but it is not currently his top priority.
In terms of what is next for Hartwell, he said, "I'm not sure. I've got some ideas. I am currently working with venture capital groups on how to make Fairfield county more attractive for businesses. I intend to continue that work, it was not just a campaign promise.
Boucher believes that her last two years have been very productive. She cited various initiatives as accomplishments as reasons for her victory.
"Among many things, I helped to defeat a new tax on hospitals," she said. But she believes her most important accomplishment had to do with transportation. "There have been significant improvements in the Danbury rail lines during my time as senator," she said.
Her Metro-North project allowed the lines to run more efficiently by eliminating manual signaling. "More lines were added and things are running smoothly. I am very proud of that."
"I will continue to work hard for my towns and move towards more cooperation in Hartford," Boucher said for her upcoming term.
"I just want to thank everyone that helped us so far. Our campaign was completely, and I mean completely, volunteer based. So that really allowed us to efficiently use our resources. I am very proud of everything we have accomplished."