BRIDGEPORT — The city’s dominant Democratic Party on Tuesday returned all six incumbent state representatives to Hartford, handing each an easy win over challengers.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting by mid-day Wednesday, state Reps. Charlie Stallworth, Andre Baker, Jack Hennessy, Stephen Stafstrom, Chris Rosario and Antonio Felipe all won their races, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office.
The margins of victory ranged from racking up more than 80 percent of the vote to more than 60 percent. The six legislators beat Republicans, Democrats running as petitioning candidates and Independents.
The victories helped Democrats retain their majority in the House of Representatives, which expanded statewide as high turnout benefited the party overall. The Democratic majority in the 151-seat House rose to 98-53, from the previous ratio of 91-60.
In Bridgeport, Democrats hold a commanding 10-to-1 advantage over Republicans in voter registration and have controlled its legislative delegation for years.
Baker won his seat by 80.5 percent of the vote, raking in 3,665 votes compared to 781 for Republican challenger Jasmin Sanchez and 104 votes for Independent Wilfredo Martinez, according to unofficial results.
A father of two sons, Baker was first elected to the House in 2014 and again won elections in 2016 and 2018.
Baker is the owner of Baker-Isaac Funeral Services in Bridgeport and Baker Funeral Services in South Norwalk. He moved to Bridgeport in 1994 and was elected to the Democratic Town Committee in 2003, the start of his political career.
Sanchez unsuccessfully ran for the 139th District in 2017 and 2019.
Stallworth was re-elected with 80.3 percent of the vote. The long-time legislator received 4,804 votes, compared to 1,199 for Republican Lee Grisby, according to unofficial results.
Stallworth, a senior pastor at the East End Baptist Church, has held his seat for the last decade. He ran on a pledge to make this his last term representing voters in Hartford.
Stallworth listed the state’s ongoing battle against COVID, social justice reform — particularly police accountability — and improving education as top legislative priorities.
Hennessy took 66.4 percent of the vote. He garnered 2,865 votes, compared to 1,351 for Republican Peter Perillo and 99 votes for Robert Keeley, a long-time Democrat who ran as a petitioning candidate, according to unofficial results.
Hennessy, a retired FedEx employee first elected in 2004, pledged to fight for more education dollars and funding to spark city development. Hennessy said flooding issues in his North End district continue to be a major concern.
Perillo, a hotel general manager in Milford, ran unsuccessfully for Bridgeport City Council three years ago. His top legislative priorities are improving public safety and combating gang violence; better funding for education and lowering taxes, or at least holding the line on taxes.
Keeley is a former Democratic state representative who served for 25 years until losing the party primary in 2008. Keeley has since tried unsuccessfully to win a City Council seat and his old job in the state Legislature.
Keeley petitioned his way onto the November ballot, pledging to bring more state dollars back to Bridgeport and pursue construction of a municipal athletic center.
Rosario claimed 77.9 percent of the vote, taking 2,424 votes, compared to 564 votes for Republican Ethan Book and 41 votes for Wanda Simmons, a Democrat running as a petitioning candidate, according to unofficial results.
First elected in 2014, Rosario ran on a promise to make sure students and small businesses have the resources necessary to battle through the coronavirus. He also pledged to take care of senior residents and people of color who have been “devastated” by the pandemic.
Rosario previously worked for the City of Bridgeport overseeing anti-blight programs. He has a part-time civilian position in the Shelton Police Department.
Book has run unsuccessfully for City Council, mayor and the state Assembly. His candidacy this year marked his fourth challenge of Rosario.
Book is the owner of the New England Limousine Service of Fairfield. He ran on a fiscal responsibility platform and said he believes Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s anti-COVID-19 measures curtail “individual liberties” and have often been “over-broad and not consistently designed.”
Simmons, a long-time activist, ran on a platform to reform education for communities of color, pursue legislation to recall “unscrupulous politicians” and addressing racial inequalities.
Stafstrom won 73.3 percent of the vote. He received 3,452 votes, compared to 1,151 votes for Republican Helene Kouassi and 135 votes for Independent Robert Halstead, according to unofficial results.
Stafstrom, the House judiciary committee chair, first won his seat during a special election in February 2015, defeating Republican Enrique Torres and three other candidates, including Keeley and Halstead.
A Black Rock resident and attorney, Stafstrom is married with two young daughters.
Stafstrom has said his legislative priorities include rebuilding the economy, getting people back to work, securing investments in the city and schools and reforming the property tax structure.
Halstead ran on legalizing recreational marijuana, placing tolls on highways and addressing zoning laws that promote racial segregation.
Republican Kouassi, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Hope Health Care, is a first-time candidate for state representative in Bridgeport. Her platform included eliminating taxes on fixed incomes, law enforcement reform and encouraging job creation.
Felipe won his race with 83 percent of the vote. He garnered 3,016 votes compared to 617 votes for Republican challenger Terrence Sullivan, according to unofficial results.
Felipe won his seat in 2019 following the sudden death of then-state Rep. Ezequiel Santiago.
Felipe works as a consultant for Carmichael Group, a limited liability corporation that, according to state records, is managed by his father. Carmichael Group has done political work and also database management for nonprofits.
Sullivan in 2018 was defeated for the House seat by the late Ezequiel Santiago.