November 21, 2018

Miller narrowly defeats Peckinpaugh in race for State House seat

It was not supposed to be that way. In the overwhelming Democratic 36th State House district, Democrat Phil Miller was forecast to win in a walk over Republican Janet Peckinpaugh. Instead the final unofficial totals were 2,751 votes for Miller to 2,526 for Peckingpaugh, in percentages 52% to 48%.

With just a shift of just a hundred votes, from Miller to Peckinpaugh, the Republican could have won.  One of the biggest surprises of the vote was that Peckinpaugh carried the traditionally Democrat town of Haddam by close to 200 votes. If Miller had not carried his home town of Essex by over two hundred votes,  the Democrats would have  suffered a surprising defeat.

Miller thanks his winning campaign manager, Lon Seidman of Essex

By towns, the unofficial tallies were: 

   Essex 1,100 to 909 for Miller
   Deep River 509 to 463 for Miller
   Chester 484 to 299 for Miller
   Haddam 658 to 855 for Peckinpaugh.

In victory Miller acknowledged that the race was “pretty close.” He also credited his opponent, Peckinpaugh, with running a “spirited race.”  As to why his victory had been so narrow, he admitted that Governor Dan Malloy’s recent announcement of new state taxes may have helped Peckinpaugh. Peckinpaugh based her campaign on “no new taxes.”

As for his future work in Hartford, Miller said, “We are going to have to under promise and over deliver.” Also, Miller reiterated that he is going to keep his position as First Selectman of Essex, until his term is up in November. After that he said he would be looking for a part time job, as do most legislators, to augment his modest income as a state representative.

Peckinpaugh after here concession speech at Griswold Inn

For her part Peckinpaugh was close to tears, when she addressed supporters at the Griswold Inn after the returns were in. “The reason that I am so emotional,” she said, “is that all of you worked so hard.” “We won Haddam,” she said, “but lost because of a big turnout in Essex.“

She concluded, “I was so ready to go to Hartford. Thank you so much. It was so close.”