Formica fends off Marx to retain seat in 20th Senate District

Republican state Sen. Paul Formica gets a hug from 37th District state Representative Holly Cheeseman as Formica celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Martha Marx at Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme, in the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Tim Cook/The Day)
Republican state Sen. Paul Formica gets a hug from 37th District state Representative Holly Cheeseman as Formica celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Martha Marx at Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme, in the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Republican State Sen. Paul Formica fended off a strong showing by Democratic challenger Martha Marx on Tuesday to secure a third term representing the 20th Senate District.

Marx received overwhelming support from her fellow New Londoners but was outpolled by Formica in all other towns in the wide-spanning district that includes Waterford, East Lyme, Salem, Old Lyme, Bozrah and portions of Montville and Old Saybrook.

The unofficial vote tally put Formica ahead by fewer than 1,600 votes: 20,272 to 18,727.

Formica, 65, waited on results with family and friends at his East Lyme restaurant, Flanders Fish Market and Restaurant.

“Martha ran a terrific race that was very well organized and it certainly was a close race,” Formica said. "I’m grateful the people in the 20th District elected me to go back for two years and continue to fix the economic picture here in the state of Connecticut.”

Formica, the former first selectman of East Lyme, had served as the co-chair of the Appropriations Committee and helped usher in a bipartisan budget with no new taxes.

He said “communication and collaboration” are key in the coming legislative session.

“I hope to be able to continue that work and really stabilize the state and continue growing, maintaining our business base and developing an economy where people are not leaving, while at the same time protecting the needs of the most vulnerable,” he said.

Formica championed legislation that will allow Millstone Power Station owner Dominion Energy to compete with renewable energy sources for the sale of electricity, something he says is critical in preventing the premature closing of Millstone.

Marx addressed her supporters at her New London campaign headquarters after calling Formica to concede the race.

“I told him I’d see him in two years,” Marx said to the applause of her supporters. “There are a lot of people here that worked very hard. We have a lot to celebrate. Now people know who I am.”

Marx, 55, is a former member of the New London City Council, a longtime registered nurse and a former union leader. During the campaign, she had cast herself as a progressive with a better connection than Formica to the middle class and working poor.

Marx said she’s been delighted by the support she’s gained during the campaign and the army of volunteers backing her ideas, which include implementation of tolls in the state to help boost revenue.

“I don’t think we could have done any better. From the very beginning there were so many people coming out to help and support me,” Marx said.

g.smith@theday.com

Republican state Sen. Paul Formica, center, celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Martha Marx at Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme, in the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.  (Tim Cook/The Day)
Republican state Sen. Paul Formica, center, celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Martha Marx at Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme, in the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Tim Cook/The Day)

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