By Tim Pearce
Aug 20, 2021
Republican Ryan Fazio beat Democrat Alexis Gevanter.
Republican Ryan Fazio beat Democrat Alexis Gevanter by nearly 3 points to secure a seat in the Connecticut Senate, flipping state Senate district 36 from blue to red.
“Today the voters of Greenwich, Stamford, and New Canaan sent a message loud and clear to the state Capitol in Connecticut that a change is going to come,” Fazio told supporters on Tuesday night, according to the Greenwich Time.
“Together we can reduce taxes and the cost of living and create economic opportunity for all. We can once again make our neighborhood safe and support local police. We can protect personal freedom and local control, and we can bring people together to create a brighter future for all,” he added.
During the 2020 presidential election, then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the district by roughly 25% against then-President Donald Trump. The GOP hailed the victory as a prelude to the 2022 midterm elections.
“Republicans coalesced in support of State Senator-elect Ryan Fazio and brought a sweeping victory in Connecticut. Fazio’s monumental win crushed Connecticut Democrats’ hopes to tread water in the midst of a failing presidency and [Connecticut Governor] Ned Lamont’s far-left agenda,” said Rachel Lee, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee (RNC).
The seat was a key victory for Republicans. District 36, which flipped blue in 2018, gave Democrats a supermajority in the Senate. The seat came up for special election following the resignation of former state Sen. Alex Kasser. Kasser resigned in June citing stress from her divorce. Before Kasser, district 36 was solidly GOP-held territory. As the Greenwich Times reports:
The seat had been securely Republican for more than three-quarters of a century until Kasser’s successful run in 2018, defeating incumbent Republican L. Scott Frantz. Before that, a Democrat had not been elected to the seat since 1930 when H. Allen Barton held it.
Kasser’s divorce has grown increasingly contentious since she announced she is gay in 2019. Two years later, she resigned from the Senate citing stress from her divorce from her husband Seth Bergstein. She made the announcement in a post on Medium:
It is with deep sadness that I announce my resignation as State Senator. Serving the residents of Connecticut’s 36th Senate district has been a profound honor and a great joy. However, due to personal circumstances, I cannot continue. For nearly three years, I’ve been trying to divorce Seth Bergstein. As all survivors of domestic abuse know, emancipating ourselves is an epic struggle that takes years, requires unflinching courage and all our resources — mental, physical, and financial. Seth uses his powerful position at Morgan Stanley to enable his conduct, so I must work even harder to fight for my freedom. Because of the enormous time and energy this consumes, I can no longer serve my constituents to my fullest ability.
Bergstein’s lawyer, Janet Battey, hit back at Kasser’s allegations in a statement to The CT Mirror.
“Ms. Kasser’s outrageous allegations and narrative couldn’t be further from the truth. Ms. Kasser sadly continues to wage a public battle in the press while simultaneously dragging out the court proceedings,” Battey said. “Throughout the marriage, Ms. Kasser described Seth as a devoted father and patient and loving husband.
“Seth and his three children sought to keep this matter private, but Ms. Kasser continues to make blatantly false public statements in furtherance of her own agenda,” Battey continued. “Mr. Bergstein trusts the legal system and family court and that the upcoming trial will reveal Ms. Kasser’s narrative for what it is.”