BERLIN - Republicans are going to court over the final results to the 30th House District race contending that votes for the original GOP candidate in the race should count toward the replacement who was on the ballot.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, the Democratic incumbent, won re-election over Mike Gagliardi after a recount Tuesday of the Berlin and Southington polling places that comprise the district.
Aresimowicz was declared the winner by 37 votes on election night. That margin was slim enough for an automatic recount.
After Tuesday’s recount, Aresimowicz ended up winning by 50 votes after picking up six votes in Berlin and having no change in Southington, as Gagliardi gained one vote in Berlin and lost eight in Southington.
J.R. Romano, the state chairman for the GOP, said “51 votes were thrown out,” referencing absentee ballots that were cast for the original GOP candidate, Steven Baleshiski. Local registrars of voters are the ones who told Romano of that number of ballots being thrown out, he said.
“51 people said I am voting against Joe Aresimowicz,” said Romano adding that those votes should carry over to Gagliardi. Or, the ballots that had Baleshiski on them with votes that were cast for Aresimowicz should be thrown out too, he said.
Baleshiski resigned his candidacy in early October after becoming embroiled in a controversy over online comments he had posted.
“The question here is, does every vote count?” Romano said. The 51 people with their ballots thrown out are not being allowed to vote, Romano said.
Gabe Rosenberg, spokesperson for the state’s Secretary of the State’s office, said votes cast for someone who is no longer a candidate do not count. “There’s not really a transitive property,” for votes, Rosenberg said, and votes for Baleshiski should not transfer to Gagliardi.
Aresimowicz said, “This was a hard fought election, and the voters want us to get to work continuing to fight for the middle class, not continuing the partisan bickering and one-upmanship. It’s enough.”
Prior to the lawsuit news, Aresimwoicz said, “The recount process was handled in a very thorough and professional manner, and reconfirmed the result from Election Day.
“To be able to continue to represent the communities of Berlin and Southington that I love so much in Hartford is a privilege and I look forward to continuing to work hard on behalf of my constituents,” he added.