Zupkus wins House seat in 89th District

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Republican Lezlye Zupkus, left, celebrates with her campaign manager Robert Hiscox at her home in Prospect Tuesday night after being elected state representative in the 89th District. Zupkus defeated longtime Democrat incumbent Vickie Nardello. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

PROSPECT — The support of Prospect voters carried Republican Lezlye Zupkus to victory in the 89th House District race over longtime Democrat incumbent Vickie Nardello.

“It’s just very exciting. The people wanted a change and they spoke up. I’m very humbled and honored to represent the 89th District and be a voice for them,” said Zupkus as she celebrated her victory with a few dozen, family, friends, and supporters in her Colonial Drive home in Prospect.

Zupkus, who is the director of development for the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, won the race by an unofficial count of 5,925 to 5,648 or 277 votes. The difference for her was Prospect, where voters supported Zupkus by an official count of 2,855 to 2,090. The 765 votes in her favor were enough to carry her to the win as voters in Bethany and Cheshire leaned in favor of Nardello.

Nardello won in Bethany by an unofficial count of 1,592 to 1,463 and in Cheshire by an unofficial count of 1,966 to 1,607. The two towns favored Nardello by 488 votes, according to unofficial results.

Nardello, 61 of Prospect, has been the state representative for the district since 1994.

“I’m proud of the campaign that I ran. The voters have spoken and they made their decision. The best of luck to Lezlye,” said Nardello, a retired public health dental hygienist for the Hartford school system.

The race was Zupkus’ first run at a state office, but she is no stranger to politics. Zupkus, 46 of Prospect, has served on the Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission and has been a member of the Prospect Republican Town Committee for the past 14 years.

Zupkus attributed her success to hard work and the voters’ desire for change from the status quo.

“People are hurting and they want a voice to represent them in Hartford,” Zupkus said.

As she prepares for her first term in Hartford, Zupkus said she will work to steer the state in a better direction.

“I will work to make progress on taking the state on a different path. I’m one vote. At least I can change the way the vote has been in the district,” Zupkus said. “I look forward to representing the people and being their voice.”