Bumgardner beats Wright by 20 votes in 41st House race

Republican newcomer Aundré Bumgardner outpaced four-term incumbent Democrat Elissa Wright by 20 votes to take the 41st District seat in the House of Representatives, after absentee ballots were added in from one district in Groton late Tuesday.

“It’s certainly a nail-biter,” said Bumgardner, who was endorsed by both the Republican and Independent parties. “We waged a hard-fought race, and I’m proud of how the district turned out.”

A close margin between the two candidates could force a recount. Wright said earlier Tuesday night she didn’t want to comment until she had a complete picture of the results.

Preliminary results showed Bumgardner received 2,885 votes in the Groton portion of the district, while Wright received 2,919 votes. In the New London portion, he received 723 votes to Wright’s 669. Among the Groton districts he won in early totals was the area that includes Noank, where Wright lives.

Both Bumgardner, 20, a campaign operative, and Wright, 68, an attorney, are both from Groton. The district comprises the southern portion of New London and southern portions of Groton City and Groton Town, with about 10,400 registered voters on the Groton side and 2,655 on the New London side. Democrats outnumber Republicans and unaffiliated voters in New London, while unaffiliated voters outnumber both Republicans and Democrats in Groton.

During the campaign, Bumgardner emphasized his support for the creation of an all-magnet school district in New London and the need for a fresh voice in Hartford to represent the district’s interests.

“We’ve knocked on over 5,000 doors,” Bumgardner said around 4 p.m. Tuesday outside the polling place at Nathan Hale School in New London, his last stop after a day of greeting voters throughout the district.

Wright emphasized that she has been an advocate for education, supporting pre-kindergarten and early education initiatives, and her work on the Thames River Heritage Park.

j.benson@theday.com

Twitter: @BensonJudy

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