HARTFORD — Connecticut’s Speaker of the House is locked in a tight battle with his Republican opponent. The race is so close, it triggered an automatic recount.
As of Tuesday morning, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz was winning by just 37 votes. He also just filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission centered around an edited graphic used in two ads. One of the ads was paid for by his opponent Michael Gagliardi, the other by an anonymous “concerned citizen.”
Aresimowicz claims the use of the same graphic shows the two entities coordinated the attack. We attempted to contact Aresimowicz and Gagliardi, but our calls were not returned.
The two are locked in a close 37 vote race which is under an automatic recount.
“We have not had a recount for probably 20 years,” said Betty Tedeschi, the Registrar of Voters in Berlin. Berlin and Southington both re-fed their ballots through the machines. All except the absentee ballots.
“Because of the ballot problems we had, a lot of the absentees had to be hand counted,” said Tedeschi.
Aresimowicz original opponent, Steve Baleshiski, dropped out of the race after posting insensitive comments on social media. The ballots had to be reprinted several times.
“The first ballot we had to have printed, there was no Lieutenant Governor. The second one looked like it was going to be alright and then a candidate dropped out. The third ballot was blank and the 4th one we had a new candidate so it’s been quite and process,” said Tedeschi.
It’s a shockingly close race considering Gagliardi only started running 3 weeks prior to Election Day. Stephen Kalkowski is the Chairman of the Southington Republican Town Committee.
“Mike was originally the candidate that we had back in April. Unfortunately because of his employment situation he had to drop off. I think we would have had a different outcome if Mike was the candidate right from the beginning,” he said.
But Democratic State Rep. Liz Linehan said she’s not surprised because the 30th District is always contested.
“There was no Democrat that won in these areas,” she said.
She’s no stranger to recounts.
“I myself was in a recount two years ago. So I know this process and I know this process well. I really feel confident that we can trust in our system,” said Linehan.
Aresimowicz has held this seat for the last 14 years. He’s already said this will be his last run at office. As for that complaint, the SEEC meets Wednesday to decide wether or not they want to take it up.