In a possible preview of trends for next year’s critical midterm elections, a Republican has just flipped a blue seat in a Connecticut state senate district won by President Joe Biden by more than 25 percent in the 2020 presidential election.
Republican Ryan Fazio edged out Democrat Alexis Gevanter by just under three percent in Connecticut’s wealthy suburban 36th state senate district. Fazio’s campaign message centered on excessive government spending and promoted the deregulation of businesses. Gevanter is a staunch gun control advocate who supported universal absentee voting and increased state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Fazio said that he believes the Republican shift in his district is not a Connecticut-specific trend but marks a coming national trend.
Biden got 61.8 percent of the vote in the district 2020, while President Trump received 36.6 percent. Fazio ran for the same seat in 2020, losing to incumbent Democrat Alex Kasser by less than 3 percent of the vote.
Kasser resigned his position due to publicity related to his divorce, leading to this year’s election. The turnout for the special election was less than half of what it was for the general election last year.
National Republicans are hopeful that Fazio’s win is an early indicator of a GOP wave in the 2022 U.S. House and Senate races.
While the small margin of victory and low turnout might dampen Republican enthusiasm about Fazio’s win, national polling indicates that many voters have some buyer’s remorse over last year’s election.
Biden’s approval rating had slipped to only 46 percent just before the collapse of the government and military in Afghanistan following the chaotic withdrawal the president ordered. It is virtually sure that numbers will take significant damage after the events of the last few days.
A Punchbowl News poll from May indicated that 78 percent of staffers from both parties in Congress believed that the House would be returned to Republican control in 2022.
If a trend develops for Republicans in winning local elections, a more significant movement in winning back national seats is very likely to follow. It will undoubtedly be worthwhile to pay close attention to elections for state legislative seats, local councils, and school boards around the country between now and next fall.