Hartford has elected a new mayor. Democrat Luke Bronin defeated a field of three challengers in a landslide to win the race to lead Connecticut's capital city.
"Today, Hartford voters spoke loud and clear that it's time to get Hartford working again. And I am so proud to stand with my fellow Democrats, soon to be my partners in government," Bronin said.
Bronin ran against Republican Ted Cannon and Working Families Party nominee Joel Cruz.
On Tuesday night, Gov. Dannel Malloy was also in attendance at Bronin's election night party with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, telling an enthusiastic crowd, "Hartford's having a good night tonight, isn't it?"
"People ask me what advice have I given Luke Bronin and I've given him the advice that I've always tried to take, but it's a lot easier for me to do than it will be for him. My rule is to always hire people who are brighter than you," Malloy said. "That's how I ended up with Luke Bronin working for me. Listen, he's the hardest working guy, he's bright, he believes in the future of Hartford, so much so that he decided after living here and going to Washington, he was going to come back and work for me. He did a great, great job. You couldn't have a better lawyer. But let me say this, Hartford, you could not have a better mayor for the city of Hartford than Luke Bronin."
Bronin's campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads to spread a wide message that he's the capital city's future. That message worked and now he says it's about getting the city's checkbook balanced.
"I think it's important that we start the work of checking out what's under the hood as early as possible," Bronin said.
He thanked his volunteers for knocking on doors for him and volunteering a lot of time, as well as residents and current Mayor Pedro Segarra.
"Mayor Segarra has served our city with all his heart and he showed his heart to the city of Hartford when he so graciously called for unity six weeks ago," Bronin said.
During Bronin's speech, a cry of "salvation" could be heard from the crowd.
One of his supporters, Hyacinth Yennie said "when a person gets elected, it's all excitement, but to be honest with you the real work just started because there's so many things that need to be done."
Bronin said that there are no easy answers for the challenges the city faces, including a "budget crisis" that's been in the making, city schools that are "underenrolled" and "over-burdened."
"There is no easy answer when one out of three of our fellow residents lives today in poverty and when thousands more struggly every day on the edge. There are no easy answers and change takes time. But, what this team has is a willingness to make our tough choices and to face our challenges head on and to be held accountable. We have energy. Energy that you can feel in this room tonight. And let me tell you, you will feel it in City Hall."
Reports from across the city indicate that turnout might have been higher than originally expected.
Bronin said he wants to focus on improving education and growing jobs.
"I know how to get things done and we have a lot of hard choices to make here in Hartford,” he said,
While campaigning, Republican Ted Cannon, a businessman who lives in Hartford's West End, said Hartford is on the wrong path and he plans to spend money wisely.
"I just want to make sure that the city is a safe, sound and viable place for my children and all the children of Hartford to live in in the years to come,” he said earlier in the day.
Cruz, a current member of the Hartford City Council and a member of Working Families Party saisd he hoped his humble roots, growing up in poverty, connected with voters.
“Vote based on character and not based on party lines,” he said earlier on Election Day.
Later on, NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss spoke with both Cruz and Cannon and they were both gracious in defeat, congratulating Bronin.
While Segarra was not at Bronin's victory party, former Mayor Eddie Perez was in attendence.
In the early hours of voring on Tuesday, there was one hiccup.
The polling location at the Southend Wellness Senior Centern Hartford opened around half an hour late after a moderator overslept, according to the Secretary of the State’s Office.
Some voters who arrived early left, while others waited in line.
There has been a lot of scrutiny on Hartford elections since problems at the polls last November, which prompted officials to try removing the three registrars of voters from office and the secretary of the state established an election monitor for Hartford in July.