AREAWIDE— State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook won the Democratic nomination in the 33rd Senate District Tuesday, defeating challenger Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam by about 480 votes in the Democratic Primary in the 12-town district.
Crawford, a former teacher who was elected state representative for the 35th House District in 2010, claimed victory around 9:15 p.m. after learning that he had carried Haddam, the last of the towns to report results. Crawford awaited the result with a group of supporters in the parking lot at 190 Westbrook Road in Essex, outside the law office of Adam Stillman, a supporter who serves as Democratic town chairman in Old Saybrook.
Unofficial returns showed Crawford with 2,499 votes and Klinck with 2,007 votes. Klinck carried four of the 12 district towns, winning her hometown of East Haddam by a vote of 438-86, and also carrying Colchester, East Hampton, and Lyme. The result was close in Deep River, where longtime First Selectman Richard Smith supported Klinck, with 131 votes for Crawford and 120 votes for Klinck.
Crawford carried the other district towns, taking his hometown of Westbrook by a vote of 233 to 40. Crawford carried Essex by a vote of 325 to 124, also winning in Chester, Clinton, Haddam, Portland, and Old Saybrook.
After taking a phone call from Gov. Dannel Malloy, Crawford said he was pleased the contest with Klinck was a “clean race,” that helped him become better known throughout the large district without dividing district Democrats. “This was as tight as I thought it was going to be,” he said, adding “now we need to make sure this seat remains Democratic.”
Klinck, contacted at her headquarters in East Haddam, said she was “disappointed, but proud of what we did”, adding “I have proven that at any age you can be a contender.” Klinck pledged to actively support Crawford in the Nov. 6 election, adding that she had urged her supporters to rally behind Crawford in the fall vote.
Crawford said he is ready for the November contest with Republican nominee Arthur Linares of Westbrook and Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag of Haddam. Crawford said he expects to participate in “more than one” public debate with all three candidates during the campaign.