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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    Osten wins a sixth term in 19th state Senate District

    Norwich ― Democratic state Sen. Cathy Osten of Sprague won a sixth consecutive term Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Pietro “Rocky” Camardella by a margin expected to exceed 3,000 votes, unofficial results showed.

    With one small town in the district yet to report and some absentee ballots yet to be counted, Osten had 17,118 votes to Camardella’s 14,213 votes, according to totals tabulated at Democratic headquarters behind 66 Franklin St.

    The absentees were expected to break in Osten’s favor.

    “I’m honored to represent the people in the 19th District,” Osten said shortly after 9 p.m. “Their faith in me is awe-inspiring.”

    Informed of the outcome, Camardella said Tuesday night he accepted the voters’ choice.

    “I’ve been saying all along we should give people a voice. If that’s what they chose, that’s great,” he said. “I jumped in the race because they’re not really paying attention to the common folk in Hartford.”

    The district comprises Norwich, Ledyard, a small portion of Montville and four other northern New London County towns ― Franklin, Lebanon, Lisbon and Sprague ― as well as Columbia and Hebron in Tolland County and Marlborough in Hartford County.

    Osten said she visited all 16 polling places in the district Tuesday. Camardella, too, had planned to visit every municipality in the district.

    Osten, 67, who co-chairs the legislature’s Appropriations and Public Safety and Security committees, has forged a reputation for constituent service while advocating for such groups as senior citizens, workers and Connecticut’s state-recognized Indian tribes. The 19th District includes the Indian reservations occupied by the state’s two federally recognized tribes, the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans, owners, respectively, of Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun.

    In recent years, Osten has proposed increasing the shares of tribal gaming revenue distributed to eastern Connecticut towns from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund.

    An unaffiliated voter since immigrating from Italy in 1981, the 67-year-old Camardella, who has been hosting a weekly radio talk show for eight years, registered as a Republican and announced his candidacy in the spring after being recruited by Republican Party members.

    On his campaign website, he said he was “guided by a deep faith in God,” and, if elected, would focus on small business owners, citing his own experience as a professional photographer. He also had vowed to support state and local law enforcement.

    Osten first claimed the 19th District seat in 2012 in a relatively close race against Republican Christopher Coutu. She succeeded Edith Prague, a Democrat who held the seat for nine terms after first being elected in 1994.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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