Delia wins Republican primary for probate judge in close race

 

Anselmo Delia of Clinton won the Republican primary Tuesday for judge of probate for the 33rd District in a 859-850 vote against Kevin J. Hecht of Old Saybrook, according to unofficial results.

The 33rd Probate District serves Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Delia, the party-endorsed candidate, said it was a close race and thanked Hecht for graciously calling him around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to congratulate him and concede. 

"We both worked very hard to try to prevail, so it's always nice when you come out ahead, but it's always nicer when your opponent is so gracious," Delia said Wednesday by phone.

Delia, who is promising to exclusively focus on his judicial duties and terminate his private practice if he wins the election in November, said he has been a lawyer for 35 years and is in general practice law with a concentration on probate and litigation. He said he has been involved in his town for about 30 years, including most recently as chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission. He has served on the Board of Education, Economic Development Commission, Youth and Family Services and the Charter Revision Commission. Delia previously ran against Terrance Lomme for the seat, but did not win.

Hecht, an attorney, said he has been practicing law in Connecticut for 32 years with extensive experience in probate matters. He said he has served as a special master in Superior Court for family matters and tax appeals; as president of the Chamber of Commerce in Cheshire; chairman of the Trial Commission and as judge advocate for the Grand Lodge of Connecticut A.F. & A.M., president of the UConn Law School Alumni Association and on the board of governors for the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.

"I am proud of my campaign and the integrity with which it was run," Hecht said Wednesday by phone. "I found the strong support I received to be gratifying and would like to thank all of my supporters and all the people who helped me along the way, especially state Representative Devin Carney."

The close vote means there will be an automatic recount, unless the candidate who lost the primary opts out, according to Gabe Rosenberg, director of communications for the Connecticut Secretary of the State's office. The Secretary of the State's office plans on Thursday morning to inform towns of the need for a recount, unless the candidate informs the office before then that he does not want a recount.

Each town would have to complete the recount by next Tuesday, if it moves forward, Rosenberg said.

Hecht said Wednesday that he would not be seeking a recount, if one were not automatic.

Essex attorney Jeannine Lewis is running as the Democratic candidate for the position.

Unofficial results for Tuesday's primary provided by the Secretary of the State's office are as follows: Lyme, Hecht, 44-20; Chester, Hecht, 23-12; Clinton, Delia, 444-228; Deep River, Delia, 24-14; Essex, Delia, 79-59; Haddam, Delia, 140-37; Killingworth, Hecht, 78-53; Old Saybrook, Hecht, 277-46; Westbrook, Hecht, 90-41.

k.drelich@theday.com

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