Updated: May 22
Updated 3:40 pm EDT, Thursday, May 21, 2020
NORTH HAVEN — Former East Haven Mayor April Capone has won the Democratic nomination for the 34th District state Senate race.
Capone won with a 24-18 vote to vie for the seat currently held by Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, who announced he is not running for reelection.
“Tonight is the first step in turning this seat blue,” Capone said after the nomination Tuesday. “I am thankful for all the support the delegates and the town committees have shown me. When we launched this campaign three weeks ago, we knew that to get where we are tonight it wouldn’t be easy. I’m no stranger to hard-won fights. We have demonstrated that in a short time we have organized and built a campaign that is ready to win in November.”
Capone won the nomination over Democrat Aili McKeen, a Wallingford resident who won a Democratic primary against East Havener Josh Balter in 2018 and then took 41.5 percent of the vote against Fasano in her first run for public office in November 2018.
District 34 includes North Haven, East Haven, Wallingford and Durham.
Capone showed unanimous support in East Haven delegates and also won the majority support from North Haven, where she lives.
Capone in 2007 was the first woman ever elected mayor of East Haven. She served two terms from 2007 to 2011 before being defeated by returning former Mayor Joe Maturo Jr. After leaving office in 2011, she took a job as as manager of intergovernmental affairs for the state Office of Policy & Management during former Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration.
“Since the moment I entered this race, it has never been about me, but what we can do together, particularly in these extraordinary times,” Capone said. “Look, I know people are scared. People’s houses, their livelihood and their health are at risk. People on the other side of the aisle would have had the State reopened by now. That’s not the kind of representation we need. People want an experienced leader to help them through this and carry our message to Hartford.”
James Albis, a former East Haven state representative who nominated Capone, said she knows how government works and has proven she can lead people through a crisis like she did as mayor.
“Now more than ever we need someone with April (Capone’s) credentials to help us through the challenges our state is currently facing,” he said.
“Since April (Capone) announced her candidacy, she has created energy and momentum,” said Kathy Grant, North Haven Democratic Town Committee chairwoman and chairwoman of the nominating convention. “Her record setting fundraising and her decisive win tonight show the excitement democrats have for her candidacy. She is the best chance to beat the Republicans in November.”
Republicans unanimously endorsed Paul Cicarella for the seat earlier this week.
McKeen said a statement on her Senate race plans is forthcoming.
By Clare Dignan