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In a contest for 47th House District representative that Canterbury First Selectman Brian Sear cast as a question of ideals vs. experience, the man with a stronger political background won Tuesday night.
Sear, a Democrat, beat Republican Noah Enslow, a Coast Guard veteran and Sprague Planning and Zoning Commission member, in the sprawling and newly expanded district encompassing the rural towns of Hampton, Chaplin, Scotland, Sprague, Franklin and Canterbury as well as sections of Lebanon, Lisbon and the northern tip of Norwich.
The unofficial final tally was 6,076 to 4,868 in favor of Sear, who won every town in the district that previously had been represented by Republican Christopher Coutu. The state representative ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate post held by retiring Sen. Edith Prague, D- Columbia.
"Familiarity, confidence, capability and visibility," Sear said when asked what turned the election in his favor. "I worked very hard. We did it by the book."
Sear said returning the district to Democratic control could be very positive for local towns looking to the Democratically controlled legislature for help.
Enslow wasn't immediately willing to concede, though he acknowledged being down by about 900 votes with a few towns left to count. He estimated turnout in the district at 75 percent to 80 percent.
"The turnout was absolutely monstrous," he said.
Sear, who plans to retain his first selectman's seat, said during the election that he would push for small towns to get expanded funding to address specific needs. He also called for an end to burdensome mandates.