Election 2018 Historic gains in the Democratic vote fueled Haskell’s victory

November 7, 2018

WESTPORT — How the 22 year old Democratic wunderkind Will Haskell defeated longtime incumbent Toni Boucher for the 26th senate seat is a question to be unpacked in the days, and weeks to come, but one thing is clear now: historic gains in the Democratic vote across district towns fueled Haskell’s victory.

Take Westport, Haskell’s hometown, where he earned 64.21 percent of the vote, compared to Boucher’s 2016 opponent, Democrat and fellow Westporter Carolanne Curry, who came away with a comparatively less 48.25 percent of the vote in that town two years ago.

Haskell expectantlyfound his greatest gains in the liberal leaning Westport, but it was a surprise that he beat Curry’s 2016 turnout vote in every other town in the district—New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton, by at least 10 percentage points, except in Bethel, where Haskell gained 7.5 percentage points over Curry, who earned 40.65 percent of that town’s vote.

Wilton, where Boucher, 68, lives and served on both the town’s education board and as a select person, gave Haskell 47.73% of the town’s vote, up 15.29 percent from Curry 2016 turnout and the second largest percentage gain for Haskell in any district town after Westport.

In total, Haskell took 53.3 percent of the vote compared to Boucher’s 46.69 percent, an astonishing change from the 2016 election when Boucher won 60.19 percent of the vote and Curry earned only 39.81 percent.

In real numbers, Haskell won 27,991 votes while Boucher received 24,521 votes, according to unofficial results provided by the Secretary of the State’s office Wednesday. In 2016, Boucher received 34,627 votes verse Curry’s 22,898. Despite record turnout, 5,013 less people voted for a candidate in the 26th district race in 2018 compared to 2016.

What these numbers suggest, aside from Haskell’s promising political career in the state and perhaps beyond, is that the trend of increased Democratic registration in district town’s has solidified in electoral victories.

In New Canaan, where Lucy Dathan last night won the 142nd House District over two-term Republican incumbent Fred Wilms, Democratic registration has increased 4 percent since last year, rising from 2,869 registered Democrats in 2017 to 2,986 as of Oct. 1. Datham will be the first Democrat to ever hold the 142nd seat.

Registered Republicans in New Canaan have likewise decreased two percent since last year, from 6,425 Republicans registered in 2017 to 6,284 registered as of Oct. 1.

In Westport, the trend of rising Democratic voter registration goes back a decade. In 2010, the number of registered Democrats in Westport was 6,322 compared to 7,187 this year. The number of registered Republicans in Westport likewise decreased from 4,921 registered Republicans in 2010 to 4,446 registered Republicans this year.

The verdict may still be out on races nationwide, but in Fairfield County, and especially in the 26th district, it’s safe to say a blue wave crashed onto the shores of the Gold Coast.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1

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