Groton — Democratic incumbent Edward "Ted" Moukawsher edged out Republican challenger Andrew Lavery Tuesday to secure his sixth term as a state representative in the 40th District.
Moukawsher won all four of the Groton districts in the 40th but lost the lone district in Gales Ferry.
Official numbers show Moukawsher with 3,377 votes to Lavery's 2,777.
"It says the people approve of the work I've done over the years," Moukawsher said of his win. "I'm going to keep representing the people the best I can."
Moukawsher has served the district since 2002.
Lavery, a 10-year Navy veteran, a political newcomer and owner of a mobile photo booth business, presented the first challenge to Moukawsher's seat in the past three elections. Lavery, who announced his engagement on the eve of the election, did not rule out a future run at a state office.
"I'm not going anywhere," Lavery said. "I'm going to take a few days off, but I plan to stay active in town."
Moukawsher, an attorney from Groton, celebrated his win with cheers from fellow Democrats at their headquarters at the former Geico office off Route 12 in Groton.
The newly configured 40th District encompasses the northern third of Groton and a southern portion of Ledyard where Mike Cherry, a Republican, said both candidates had a fair shot. It is typically a Republican-leaning district, he said.
"With the new districts, both candidates had the same name recognition coming in here, even though one is an incumbent," Cherry said.
Moukawsher said one of his first priorities when returning to the legislature is taking a harder look at the tax burdens faced by taxpayers across the region.