Democratic State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven won a special state senate election on Tuesday. He succeeds veteran Toni Harp, who's now the mayor of New Haven.
The New Haven Independent reports that Holder-Winfield defeated Republican Steven Mullins with 76 percent of the vote. Holder-Winfield had the backing of top state Democrats for the 10th District seat, including state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.
Holder-Winfield held off a last-minute crush of negative campaign mailings and TV ads, according to The Independent, that included robo-calls associating him with "sexual predators" and former proposed legislation (not his) that would have created a statewide property tax.
"I hope to be a good senator to you," Holder-Winfield told a celebratory gathering at The Greek Olive in New Haven. "And if I'm not, I hope you let me know, because that's how I maintain the type of advocacy I've done."
Mullins is interim chairman of the West Haven Planning and Zoning Commission. The New Haven Register reported that Mullins said he opposes gun regulations enacted into state law last year following the fatal shootings of 20 children and six educators in Newtown.
Harp was elected New Haven mayor last November.
The special election campaign came up during WNPR's Where We Live political roundtable, The Wheelhouse, on Wednesday. Colin McEnroe said this campaign went into the toilets, literally, with plenty of sordid discussion. "One of the ads actually made it seem as though Gary Holder-Winfield was in favor of just men being able to go in and use women's toilets willy-nilly," he said, "which struck me as kind of a distortion."
Listen to an excerpted segment of the discussion below:
This report contains information from The Associated Press.