Jutila wins another term in 37th House District

East Lyme — Democratic incumbent Ed Jutila easily defeated Republican Elbert M. “Elby” Burr Tuesday in an unusually quiet race for state representative in the 37th District, encompassing East Lyme and Salem.

Vote totals from East Lyme and Salem combined favored Jutila 5,824 to 2,881.

“You got the high score!” said Jutila’s 7-year-old granddaughter, Katie Avery, at a campaign celebration in downtown Niantic.

Jutila won the three districts in his hometown of East Lyme by more than a 2-1 margin, easily outdistancing his long-shot rival from Salem.

“It’s very gratifying,” he said. “It’s a validation of the work that’s been done for the past five terms.”

The win meant a sixth term for the 59-year-old attorney. Burr, 77, a retired businessman and current Salem selectman, had made government mandates and private-sector jobs the cornerstone of his first statewide run, but did little campaigning.

Burr, at the Republican get-together at Flanders Fish House restaurant in East Lyme, congratulated Jutila and said he thought his numbers were surprisingly good considering the last-minute decision to challenge a popular incumbent. Burr decided to make a run against Jutila when it appeared that the incumbent would be unopposed.

Burr had hoped that a strong showing by GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, combined with a win by Paul Formica, East Lyme’s Republican first selectman, in the 20th Senate District would help put him over the top. Instead, voters returned Jutila, apparently happy with his efforts focused on such local issues as the acquisition of property for Oswegatchie Hills in East Lyme and his push to resolve longtime transportation issues such as funding for Route 11 and improved rail service to the region.

l.howard@theday.com

Twitter: @KingstonLeeHow

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