Norwich — Democrat Emmett Riley cruised Tuesday to an easy victory over Republican Mikel Middleton in the 46th House District, which encompasses urban and southern sections of the city.
Riley, husband of Democratic state Rep. Melissa Olson-Riley, who has held the 46th District seat for five terms but decided not to run for re-election this time around, reportedly beat Middleton by a 2-1 margin, though specific figures could not be immediately obtained.
The Stanton School voting district had Riley ahead by 1,845 to 1,027, according to Middleton’s numbers. The Bishop School district had not yet finished a count late Tuesday night.
“I knocked on about 4,000 doors and lost about 15 pounds,” Riley said. “I’ve been around politics all my life ... but this is amazing.”
Riley has not held elective office in the past, but has been exposed to politics both through his wife’s campaigns and the work that his father, Dennis Riley, did in the past for Democratic candidates including former U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson.
Riley has said childhood education will be one of his priorities as a state representative. He supported an initiative to construct a new city police station, though he considered the projected $33.4 million cost a little too high.
Middleton, 62, is a Navy veteran and member of the Republican Town Committee who had never before sought public office. He vowed to cut waste and unnecessary spending if elected, as well as to fight to help the small business community revitalize downtown.
He supported a referendum question on whether the city should pay for a new police station, but questioned if other revenue sources could be used to help pay for the project.