Rebimbas tops Samela in 70th District

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Luke Marshall, Republican-American

From left, state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, Rosa Villano, and state Sen. George Logan watch as vote totals come in Tuesday night at Rebimbas’ campaign headquarters on Church Street in Naugatuck. -LUKE MARSHALL/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — Republican state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas faced her first opponent in over 10 years in Tuesday’s election, but the results were the same.

Rebimbas, 44, defeated Democratic challenger Stephen Samela 5,975 to 3,863, according to unofficial numbers, to earn her sixth term representing the 70th House District.

Rebimbas was first elected to represent the district, which covers most of Naugatuck, in a special election in 2009. She hadn’t faced another challenge for the seat until this year.

“It feels good,” Rebimbas said of her victory. “The good feeling is only on behalf of the borough of Naugatuck. I say that because whether opposed or unopposed, every race I take seriously. I base it on my track record from day one, working on behalf of Naugatuck.”

Rebimbas said there is still work to do in Hartford.

“I still have the drive and fortitude to continue to represent the borough of Naugatuck, the businesses and the people. I think it is very important they have a strong voice at the capital. I feel that, at this time, it is still me,” Rebimbas said.

Rebimbas said making sure the interests of Naugatuck are met is still her top priority

“That’s anywhere from transportation all the way down to the school system. I say all the way down in the sense that there are a long list of items that we need to continue to address,” Rebimbas said.

Stephen Samela

Samela, 33, of Naugatuck, was pleased with the campaign he ran, despite the loss.

“I feel like we did all we could,” Samela said. “It was definitely a grassroots effort after coming in as a relative nobody and building up support as we went along the way, which was why we did as well as we did. I am proud of that.”

Samela, who is a member of the Naugatuck Board of Finance, said he hopes his example shows that no politician is above challenging.

“I hope that this means we will stop being complacent about our entrenched incumbents and are able to take a more critical eye on how they legislate,” Samela said.