Westport Votes Blue; 2 Democrats Win

Westport backed all 4 Democratic candidates in yesterday’s state Senate and House races. That helped deliver 2 of those districts to the Democratic Party.

Will Haskell

In a race that drew statewide — even national — attention, 22-year-old Staples High School graduate Will Haskell thrashed longtime incumbent Toni Boucher, for the State Senate 26th district seat.

Haskell’s 64-36% winning margin — against a politician who was in office as long as he’d been alive — was helped by a strong base of active volunteers. The recent Georgetown University graduate galvanized many young voters, and women.

Staples grad Jonathan Steinberg returns to Hartford, representing House district 136. He beat back a challenge from Republican Greg Kraut, a newcomer to politics and a 2-year Westporter. The unofficial margin was 61-39%.

In races that involved small portions of Westport, Republican incumbents Tony Hwang (State Senate district 28) and Gail Lavielle (State House district 143) retained their seats. However, both lost Westport to their Democratic challengers, Michelle Lapine McCabe and Stephanie Thomas, respectively.


19 responses to “Westport Votes Blue; 2 Democrats Win

  1. We are very proud of will and John now I hope we all can come together and work to make westport better I want thank Marla and Kevin great job yesterday and others

  2. Ccngratulattions to Will Haskell on his exciting win, and we wish him great success. Being so young represents an opportunity to learn and hopefully make a difference in the decades ahead in his political career. It’s also important to thank Toni Boucher for her 22 years of representing us so passionately and tirelessly. It is often a thankless job but Toni has always been there for our town. The Governor’s race hasn’t been called yet – that race will have the most profound effect on our state’s future fiscal health and our property values.

  3. Bart Shuldman

    As one who is quite outspoken in Westport I send my sincere congratulations to all winners and your supporters. Your win was very convincing and the voters spoke. Congratulations on a serious victory.


    • Your congratulations don’t come off as remotely sincere when elsewhere you continue to post asinine comments attacking Mr Haskell.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Chris. You know that is not true. Since the election there is no post from me about Will. I congratulate him one more time and know he has a lot of work ahead of him.

        I have posted on my Facebook site named Fiscal ImpaCT regarding the CT Transportation Fund and the future issues of borrowing more money and also Senator Looney’s press release regarding his first initiatives as the President of the Senate with a super majority. If you care to join the 1,000+ members who are from all over CT, please join us. I welcome anyone from from Westport to join. There will be ongoing posts about the fiscal issues and Heath of CT as we enter the first 4 years of Ned Lamont’s term. The latest projections is not good, the CT budget cumulatively will run a $11 BILLION deficit over his first 4 years.

        All my best.

  4. Chuck Greenlee

    Thank you too Toni!
    And congrats Gail.. a terrific worker and great representative!

  5. I want thank Toni to

  6. Dear Senator Haskell,
    You won the Respect & Trust of the voters. Being a young man you have a unique opportunity. Your Job for the next 50 years will be to maintain that TRUST and move us all forward. I have great expectations for you, this is just the beginning of a long journey. Congratulations!

  7. Andrew Colabella

    Thank you to Toni Boucher for her service to our area for the last 22 years, but congratulations to Will Haskell, a young independent man, with a vision who saw the opportunity to bravely run and after 140+ meet and greets, driving to every town with the 26th district, door knocking and canvassing, sign placing and advertising, he won and deserved it! This is only the beginning of what I feel will be a promising and positive career in politics to HELP people.

    Jonathan Steinberg, our wonderful and brilliant well spoken thoughtful man who never stopped campaigning and won by a huge margin winning in each district, his record and legislative skills are stellar beyond any other representative in our state.

    The rain was heavy, but the votes were heavier! Voices were heard yesterday and bubbled in on paper and YOU were accounted for. We are the present and together, regardless of party affiliation, must work TOGETHER to not only make Connecticut a better place and improve our infrastructure and incentivize people to move, but stay. “He who transplanted will sustain.”

    Proud of who represents me!

  8. Eva Rosenblatt

    Congratulations Will. You had me at “hello” & I’m so glad that mine was one of the doorbells you rang during your campaign . Initially concerned about your youthful appearance , I now see it as a positive. You’ll have so many years to accomplish your goals. Best of luck!

  9. Ellen Lautenberg

    Congratulations to Will and Jonathan who worked hard for their victories and thank you to Jonathan for his continued service to Westport! We are excited to have them both representing us. I would like to add my thanks to Toni Boucher for her many years of service. As Chair of the Westport DTC, I am happy with our results, however, I also know it’s important for us to all work together and across the aisle to accomplish great things for Westport and for CT.

  10. Congrats to all the candidates for races that were generally well run and mostly constructive and positive. As a former Dem and now Independent who has lived in Westport for a few years, I’m honestly curious why the town – and especially entire state of CT – votes in all Dems? I’m truly not pro/anti Dem or Rep but rather grew up in a state that was dominated by one party for a long time, and it was only when there was more balance did the state recover fiscally and thrive (took decades). Objectively, CT is a fiscal disaster and yet, even more Dems (different names Lamont for Malloy, etc) will be going to Hartford than before. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Still relatively new to CT and it’s my sixth state of residence due to work reasons. But it’s definitely the worst off fiscally than anywhere else I’ve lived.

    • Taking that as a sincere question, I will offer a couple of thoughts.

      First, I think the regressive social policies of the national GOP are a turn-off to Connecticut voters. No, that has nothing to do with the economics of our State. But I think that a vast majority of Connecticut voters can’t have progressive values bought off with tax cuts.

      There is plenty of room for fiscal conservatism in the Democratic Party. When you look at national trends over the past nearly forty years, Republicans run up deficits, Democrats reign in deficits – Democrats arguably *are* the fiscal conservatives. So the argument that we need the Republicans in Connecticut to protect us from deficit spending to improve the State economy, at the very least, comes off as inauthentic. But, to bring the two points together, a moderate to conservative individual with principle is perfectly capable of saying “enough is enough” about the divisive and vile social policies of the GOP and bring a conservative economic agenda to Democratic politics. I do believe that in much of the nation, unwillingness to walk away from the “party of Trump” is seen as a genuine, inherent character flaw.

      Otherwise, the message that Connecticut voters get from individual Republican candidates is, “I personally like gay people, I personally like trans people, I like Jewish people, I like black people, I like brown people, I respect women… but I will stand with people who attack ALL of those people because I think I can buy you off with a tax cut.” It is the kind of disgraceful attitude that had me leave the GOP in 2006 – and I still wonder what took me so long. I’m not unique. I mean, Jon beat a rich guy who has seemingly been relentlessly campaigning since the winter by 22%. Will beat an incumbent Republican who has been in Hartford as long as he has been alive by 28%. These weren’t flukes.

      As much as Republicans tried to portray it otherwise, Connecticut’s economic problems are complicated. The Atlantic had a great piece on the struggles in our state (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/connecticut-tax-inequality-cities/532623/).

      Long story short, I believe the voters knew the Republicans weren’t a magic bullet to complicated economic problems in Connecticut. And voters were put off by a toxic connection to regressive national Republican politics.

      (And every Republican politician in Connecticut should take notice. What is the message that you are sending voters when, say, a common-sense centrist Republican like our First Selectman records a “vote straight Republican” robocall?)

      Pardon the long-winded reply to your comment.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Chris. You won it and now you own it. If you think for a second the democratic leaders in Hartford are fiscally thoughtful I would respectfully disagree. There history has been just the opposite.

        But now that you won and won by a super majority we will all get to see what happens in CT. If history is any indication then CT taxpayers will experience much higher taxes and a continuation of the Financial Death Spiral that started.

        Before you criticize me as I expect you will, I suggest you watch the video below. What you think a democratic legislator can potentially do out of Westport, you will learn they will have no control or influence. Hartford will control the budget.

        Westport helped to set a super majority of democrats in the Senate and House in CT and there will be no checks or balances when it comes to any fiscal control.

        The video I submit is the President of the Senate in CT, Senator Looney (that is his real name) who is answering question from the press after the election. If you decide to watch, you will learn of all his ‘spending’ initiatives.

        CT is facing a massive $4.5 Billion budget deficit the next 2 years. Senator Looney mentions all the spending initiatives he will want to implement. Overcoming the deficit and adding in more spending will drive the need for much higher taxes. Just the facts.

        If Senatot Looney as the Leader of the Senate gets his way, and let’s remember the Governor can only propose a budget but the legislators create and implement the budget, then state income taxes will need to rise by at least 30-40%. The top state income tax could rise to close to 10%. Senator Looney will not care. He believes the people in Fairfield County can pay more-and we will. Happy watching:


  11. Last night I met Jonathan Steinberg to concede the race for State Representative. While this is clearly not the result I desired, I wish Jonathan, the town of Westport, and the state of Connecticut great success over the next two years.

    I am incredibly humbled by the significant support we received throughout the campaign from both Democrats and Republicans, and I am hopeful that we can all work together as Westporters to move our great state forward. I am also glad that we were able to draw significant attention to several key financial and social issues that need to be addressed in this state.

    I will be forever grateful for the love and support the town has shown me, my family, and this campaign over the last 6 months. I also want to thank my wife Haley, my 2 boys, and my dedicated supporters for taking this journey with me and putting in countless hours of work over the past few months.

    I have learned a lot throughout this campaign, but the biggest takeaway for me is that we need to find balance and come together in whatever we do for the common good of all Westporters.

    I look forward to remaining involved in bettering our town and our state.

    Congratulations to Jonathan once again.

    • John F. Suggs

      Nice concession statement Greg.

      Thank you for caring enough to stick your neck out and making a run for state office. It is never an easy thing to attempt under the best of circumstances. But the race for the 136th Assembly Seat this election cycle seemed to be particularly heated and antagonistic on both sides.

      I am sure that a honest postmortem would reveal ample examples of negative actions undertaken on both sides in this election. Undoubtedly there is blame enough for all to go around.

      Yet, for me, the lowest and saddest moment was during the afternoon of the election itself. When a highly provocative photo of you, Jonathan and one of his campaign workers was posted on social media and quickly went viral. Not surprisingly there were several different explanations offered about the events that immediately proceeded the photo. While I am sure the truth resides somewhere in the middle of those various explanations, what was clear is that none of you involved came out the better for it. I felt that everyone involved was left diminished by the incident.

      But, for me, the worse part of it were the many ugly, dismissive and yes, gleeful, comments that quickly posted online in response. (I am including your own comment Dan – I know that you are better than that Dan.) Still, the worse comment of all came from one Westporter who took that moment to urge you, Greg, (and, by extension, your entire family) to move out of Westport!

      (I am reminded of the famous old saying advising a person that before they go out to seek vengeance on another to first dig two graves. One for the person being sought and another for yourself – for the effort to obtain revenge will ultimately destroy both of you.)

      This was one of the ugliest campaigns I have ever seen in Westport – and I have seen a lot of campaigns over the years.

      My hope, my wish, is that we can all take a step back from the edge and recommit ourselves, once again, to “our better angels”. I think your concession speech here is a good first step in that direction. I hope that your political opponent will join you in this sentiment.

      In the last analysis, we all have chosen to call this place by the Saugatuck River home. Perhaps we can all remember, if just for a moment, that the poet Robert Frost famously defined “home” as “the place where they have to take you in, no matter what.”

      Welcome home everyone!

      • I made a comment about Greg’s robocalling. I stand by it. I heard numerous complaints from readers about his incessant calls (including to cellphones). I agree. They were really intrusive — more than I’ve gotten from any other candidate, for any office, ever. I posted that on a friend’s Facebook page — not on “06880.” Though a number of readers asked me to address his robocalls on this blog.

      • Werner Liepolt

        I thank all of the candidates for running, wish the winners success (they are working for us!) and console the also rans (watch for them next time).

        The grating phone messages, insulting attacks by candidates and partisans have proven irrelevant at best and counterproductive and off putting at worst. We can’t help the out of touch cranky trolls spouting venom, but if we live here we ought to recognize our common purpose.

        Just one request… refrain, politicians, from starting 2020. Wait for the rest of us to tell you when.

  12. David J. Loffredo

    The State is a mess, best of luck to the “winners”. Hoya Saxa Will, lots of people proud and hopeful for your success.