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Osten returns to 19th Senate District for fourth term

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, is returning to Hartford for a fourth term after she defeated Republican challenger Mark Lounsbury.

Not including absentee ballots and Election Day registrations, Osten received 20,009 votes to Lounsbury's 14,604.

At 9:24 p.m. at a low-key Democratic gathering in Norwich, Osten said she was ready to declare the race in her favor. She confirmed the victory via phone shortly before 10 p.m.

"I (want to) thank everybody for their hard, hard work," Osten said to about two dozen attendees. "We just decided to move forward one more time with a good agenda for the people of eastern Connecticut. I'll say it again. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Let's get this done."

Osten said another main focus for the next two years will be mental health care, "not just because of the opioid crisis," but to provide services promised to people after the closing of Norwich Hospital in 1996.

She highlighted the high voter turnout this year, especially for a day with such dreary weather.

The district covers Ledyard, Norwich, part of Montville and several other towns between Marlborough and Lisbon, but this year's race was a battle between Sprague politicians. The incumbent, Osten, also is serving her sixth term as first selectwoman, and Lounsbury, a retired Norwich police detective, served on the Board of Finance before an unsuccessful bid for Osten's seat last year.

In his campaign, Lounsbury supported the reduction of taxes in the state, saying in an Oct. 10 debate that high taxes are driving businesses and residents away. He also said the state minimum wage should be tied to the market rather than assigned an arbitrary number, such as the $15 an hour that Democratic candidates have supported.

Osten rejected Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski's plan to eliminate the income tax, saying it would severely reduce funding for towns and education up through the state colleges and universities.

Claire Bessette contributed to this report.


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