Democrat Elissa Wright on Tuesday won re-election to a fourth term representing the 41st House District, defeating former three-term Groton Town Mayor Harry Watson by a 520-vote margin.
"It's humbling and gratifying to have this vote of confidence," Wright said, noting that her victory came despite the district being newly reconfigured.
Wright, 66, is an attorney and former member of the Town Council and school board. Watson, 63, was mayor from 2003 to 2009 and has also served as a council member and on numerous boards and commissions.
Watson edged out Wright by about 50 votes in the four Groton districts in the 41st, but Wright handily defeated her opponent in New London's 3rd District, receiving about 571 votes more than her Republican challenger. Unofficial totals show 4,541 votes cast for Wright and 4,021 for Watson.
"I'm disappointed," Watson said. "I worked hard. I couldn't have done anything more to get elected. I guess there's another mission in life for me. But I have no regrets."
There are about 15,500 registered voters in the 41st District, which was redrawn this year. It is comprised of the 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th voting districts in Groton — the Groton Long Point, Mystic, Center Groton and Noank sections, along with a portion of Groton City. The 3rd District in New London, at the city's southern tip, is also part of the 41st House District.
Basically, Wright said, "It's a long shoreline district, from the Mystic River to Alewife Cove. There are a lot of common issues." The two districts, she noted, share the mouth of the Thames River and the Long Island Sound coastline.
Wright said she is looking forward to working on the complex and difficult issues facing the state and her constituents in Groton and New London.
Both candidates focused on economic issues during their campaigns. Wright advocated building on the strengths of the local economy, including tourism and the defense industry.
Watson said he hoped to become "a friend of small business" at the legislature.