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Voters from Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District have elected Democrat Norm Needleman to represent them in Hartford after a heavily contested race.
Needleman narrowly defeated Republican Melissa Ziobron by a margin of 303 votes or 0.6 percent. The race was too close to call on election night; Ziobron ended up conceding shortly after noon on Nov. 7. The unofficial results were 25,361 votes for Ziobron versus 25,664 votes for Needleman.
The 33rd District represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Deep River, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and northern Old Saybrook.
This race was considered a key race to watch in determining which party controls the Senate, which was tied 18-18 in the current session. Three-term incumbent Republican Art Linares, Jr., did not seek re-election and has moved out of district. Linares won the seat after longtime Democratic incumbent, the late Eileen Daily, chose to retire. Following the Nov. 6 election, the balance will tilt in favor of Senate Democrats by an expected 21 to 15.
Needleman touted his experience as the first selectman of Essex and as the founder and CEO of Centerbrook-based Tower Laboratories during his campaign. Needleman ran on a platform that pledged to work to raise the minimum wage, work to get the state’s budget under control, and to pursue transportation improvements.
Needleman told Zip06.com, “I’m glad to have won this race. I’m grateful to the voters of the 33rd for thinking I can do the job for them.”
Needleman also thanked his team and volunteers for helping him during the race.
“They really made the difference,” he said.
Needleman said his next step is to meet with leadership and explore committees he can possibly join, noting that committees that deal with economic development, finance, and the environment are possible fits.
Of his opponent, Needleman said that while he disagreed with her on several issues, he respected her service to the district.
“Melissa is a good legislator, she’s smart, and hardworking,” he said. “She worked hard for the people she represented.”
Ziobron is completing her third term representing the 38th House District of Colchester, East Haddam and East Hampton.
Reached for comment on Nov. 7, Ziobron provided the following statement:
“Melissa Ziobron, Republican candidate for the 33rd State Senate District and outgoing House Representative for the 34th District, called her opponent to concede the race just after noon today. According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Mr. Needleman leads by 303 votes, or 0.58 percent, which is just 0.08 percent over the 0.5 percent threshold that would trigger an automatic recount.”
The statement continued, “I am very proud of the race that I ran and grateful for the tremendous effort from my campaign staff and volunteers. We worked hard, earned every vote, and did not give an inch of ground.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me, both in this race and elsewhere, most especially my family,” Ziobron concluded.
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