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After a close election, time to serve

Now that the holiday season has really taken hold, and we are in the thick of so many community-building events and gatherings, it is rather nice to be able to leave the election season behind us. But this time around, for the 64th District for the Connecticut State House, it was so extended a race that it is hard to call it quits.

But finally call this race the secretary of the state has done, after a short, interrupted start at a recount right after Election Day, then another complete recanvass that wrapped up Nov. 16. As described in the articles written for this newspaper by Cynthia Hochswender and Patrick Sullivan, in between the two recounts were continuing questions on the way the voting numbers from the registrars at the towns and the secretary of the state matched up. This newspaper is glad that there was that final recanvass, and the numbers are now confirmed from all sides.

The winner remains Democrat Maria Horn, who had always come out ahead of incumbent Republican Brian Ohler at each new turn, but not by much. This was a difficult countdown for the candidates’ supporters and for the candidates themselves. Yet both these candidates handled this unusual situation of an extremely close race with admirable grace and a maturity we could only wish to see in all politicians’ behavior. 

As this newspaper said in the endorsement editorial that ran two weeks before the election, the voters of the 64th could not lose. Both these candidates presented themselves during the race as people who cared deeply about their constituents and wanted to do their best, as they understood it, to serve them. While they may not have agreed on all the ways to do that, they did not disagree disagreeably at any public debates or other venues. They treated each other with respect, as they should have done, and stuck to the issues.

So it is thanks to their handling of such a close race that the rhetoric surrounding the recounts was not contentious, and that there was no hint of accusations that the other side cheated or somehow tried to steal the election. There were no threats of lawsuits or other challenges. Rather, there was acceptance of the outcome as soon as it was clear, and one does have the feeling that there remains a mutual respect between these candidates. Kudos and thanks to them both for setting a high standard for public discourse and service.

As Horn now will need to step in to serve the 64th, it is to be hoped that she will receive support even from those who were disappointed she won the seat. And, equally, that she will be committed to serving all in the district, even those who did not vote for her. 

Both candidates proved themselves worthy of the support they received during the race. Now it’s time to move forward, leave that close race behind, and root for all who won in the state house and senate to be able to solve the many problems that face them during their upcoming terms in office.