Updated Results Show Cabrera Squeaked By Logan

J. Henninger photo Both campaigns in the race for the 17th district state Senate seat went to bed Tuesday believing incumbent Republican George Logan of Ansonia held a slim lead over Democrat Jorge Cabrera.

But the campaigns woke up Wednesday morning with results from the secretary of the state’s office showing Cabrera actually pulled off an upset win, besting Logan by 176 votes.

By 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, Cabrera’s lead grew another 11 votes: 18,699 to 18,512.

According to state law, a recount is triggered if the margin of victory is less than one half of one percent, or 0.005, of all votes cast.

Cabrera’s 187-vote margin comes out to 0.005025, just above the recount threshold.

Cabrera told The Valley Indy Wednesday afternoon he was waiting to hear from the campaign’s lawyers, but was confident of a victory.

“It may be above the margin (for a recount), we’re just waiting to hear. We feel pretty confident we’re going to win with or without a recount.”

Logan did not concede the race Wednesday. He first declared victory Tuesday, as shown in the video toward the end of this story.

Cabrera, who was making his first run for state office, reacted to the news in a Facebook post Wednesday at 8:50 a.m.

“The official results show that we were victorious last night!” the post read. “I am honored to have received support from so many extraordinary people in our community. There will likely be a recount soon, but we are now confident that we won.”

Cabrera struck a positive tone, saying he hoped to unite a divided electorate.

“The close numbers in this race reflect the many divisions that exist in our state and our nation. I ran to unite people and I will go up to Hartford to do the same. I look forward to reaching out and working with everyone in my district to improve all of our lives.”

Cabrera’s statement is embedded below.

Logan had declared victory late Tuesday, with the caveat about the numbers being unofficial, after tallies from his campaign and Cabrera’s campaign showed him in the lead with all precincts reporting.

Logan’s campaign displayed results showing him with a 119-vote lead. Cabrera’s campaign showed Logan up by 98 votes.

The campaigns use volunteers to collect vote totals from the various polling places and town halls. How the campaign tallies differed with the results towns submitted to the secretary of state was not clear Wednesday morning.

In a series of email exchanges with The Valley Indy, Chuck Pyne, Logan’s campaign manager, said his team was scheduled to discuss the numbers today. What comes next remains to be determined, Pyne said in an email early Wednesday. This story will be updated later with Logan’s reaction.

The 17th state Senate district includes Ansonia, Derby, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Hamden, Naugatuck, and Woodbridge.

The Cabrera-Logan contest was one of the races impacted Tuesday by Connecticut’s “wet ballot” problem: voters soaked with rain dripped water onto paper ballots, rendering those ballots unable to be read by the machines.

Both campaigns had a difficult time tracking results Tuesday, with the tallies constantly changing.

“Some of the towns called us back after they reported their numbers to correct their numbers,” Cabrera said.

J. Henninger photo

Cabrera, a married father of two, is a union organizer with a long association with the Democratic Party.

He supports raising the minimum wage and exploring whether instituting tolls in some way can help the state’s financial mess.

Cabrera faced a tough fight in the lower Valley, trying to unseat a Republican in towns that had been increasingly voting for the GOP (see Mayor David Cassetti’s resume in Ansonia).

In addition, opponents tied the Democrat to Gov. Dannel Malloy, one of the most unpopular governors in the U.S.

As of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Cabrera said he hadn’t yet spoken to Logan but expected to soon.

“He was a worthy opponent and a good guy,” Cabrera said. “I’ve talked to George a couple times. We have a lot of work to do and we’re glad to get the confidence and support of the district.”

Whether Logan’s apparent loss is part of a “blue wave” is subject to debate. It’s probably more of a “blue correction,” since the Democrats held the 17th District for 12 terms until Logan scored an upset victory in 2016 over Joe Crisco.

Voters in Ansonia and Derby Tuesday also chose Democrat Kara Rochelle over Republican Joseph Jaumann in the race for the 104th District state House seat.

The 104th seat is currently held by Democrat Linda Gentile, who opted to retire.

According to tallies from the campaign Tuesday, Logan lost Hamden by some 3,000 votes, a margin that shocked his supporters at his headquarters on Ansonia’s Main Street.

The loss there could have been Democrats angry at President Trump’s pre-election rhetoric, Pyne acknowledged. But the campaign itself doesn’t do exit polling, so Pyne said such talk is speculation.

Cabrera said he had a “really deep appreciation” of how close the race was and pledged to work with those who didn’t vote for him.

He said voters care about the same things regardless of party — schools, access to health care, infrastructure.

“It’s a big district, it’s diverse economically, it’s diverse in many ways,” Cabrera said. “I think that’s part of the challenge. We have an opportunity in this district to show the rest of the state how we can work together despite what our political affiliations are.”

This story will be updated later.

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THE FOLLOWING IS THE STORY FROM TUESDAY NIGHT/WEDNESDAY MORNING:

Ansonia Republican George Logan declared victory Tuesday over Hamden Democrat Jorge Cabrera in a close race for the 17th district state Senate seat, but two tallies Wednesday morning showed the Democrat in the lead.

Unofficial results from Logan’s campaign Tuesday night had the tally 18,472 to 18,353 in favor of Logan.

The 119-vote difference would mean an automatic recount according to state law, which mandates a recount when the margin is within one half of one percent of all votes cast.

Cabrera’s campaign Tuesday had the margin even closer, with Cabrera down by just 98 votes. He did not concede, telling supporters nothing was certain late Tuesday.

But then the Associated Press published results at 1 a.m. Wednesday showing Cabrera up by a little more than 100 votes. The AP did not declare a winner.

Finally, the secretary of state’s unofficial results have Cabrera winning by 176 votes.

Logan’s campaign said Wednesday they are reviewing the results, and that the campaign’s next steps are to be determined.

More clarity is expected later today. The race was one of the races impacted Tuesday by Connecticut’s “wet ballot” problem: voters soaked with rain dripped water onto paper ballots, rendering those ballots unable to be read by the machines.

Both campaigns had a difficult time tracking results Tuesday, with the tallies constantly changing.

J. Henninger photo

The win, should it stand, would give Logan a second, two-year term. The Aquarion Water Co. executive was first elected in 2016, scoring an upset win over longtime Democratic state Sen. Joseph Crisco of Woodbridge.

Logan’s reaction was subdued because of the razor-thin margin.

“Assuming the numbers are accurate, what it does show is that we have a divided district,” Logan told supporters at his campaign headquarters at 158 Main St. in Ansonia. “And so, I’m going to have to do a lot of work to help bring folks together and try to make sure that we all function together as a community.”

Click the play button above to watch Logan’s complete reaction when his campaign official Chuck Pyne tells him he won.

According to unofficial results Logan won his hometown of Ansonia by 560 votes and Derby by 540 votes — but lost Hamden by some 3,800 votes.

Logan acknowledged he has a lot of work ahead of him in Hamden.

The loss there could have been Democrats angry at President Trump’s rhetoric, Pyne acknowledged. But the campaign itself doesn’t do exit polling, so Pyne said such talk is speculation.

Logan is an effective face-to-face politician, making constant appearances at community events and taking the time to talk to people.

He positioned himself as a moderate, business-friendly candidate who said getting the state’s economy back on track was his top priority. He joined the Republican Party in 2015, after being unaffiliated for years.

This was Cabrera’s first attempt at state office, though he’s been involved in politics and the Democratic Party for years.

J. Henninger photo

Cabrera is a union organizer who lives in Hamden who was counting on motivated anti-Trump voters to push him over the top.

“Thank you so much for your support,” Cabrera told supporters in Hamden. “We won’t know anything for sure tonight. Please go home and get some rest.”

The Valley Indy also sent Cabrera’s campaign an email seeking a statement.

The message below was posted on his Facebook page:

The lower Naugatuck Valley voted for Trump by a wide margin in 2016.

Logan’s parents were born in Guatemala. His extended family began immigrating to the U.S. in the late 60s. Logan was born in the states in 1969 and grew up in New Haven.

His father worked at American Crucible and Refractories Corp., a factory in North Haven, while his mother worked as a secretary at Yale University.

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