A 22-year-old Georgetown University graduate has defeated a Republican incumbent to win a seat in the Connecticut state Senate.
Will Haskell, who announced his candidacy during his senior year of college, ran on a platform of toll roads and tougher gun control, according to the Hartford Courant.
He defeated Toni Boucher, a Republican who has been serving in the state legislature since 1997 — almost as long as Haskell has been alive.
Before running for office, Haskell worked in campaigns with Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Hillary Clinton, according to New Canaan News. Haskell was endorsed by former president Barack Obama and Sen. Chris Murphy (D).
Haskell touted his lack of experience as a benefit, telling New Canaan News that “years of bad experience is worse than no experience.” Regarding gun control, Haskell told the Courant that “you don’t need 22 years of experience to know kids need to feel safe in school.”
Results are still rolling in, but Haskell’s victory could help Democrats claim a majority in the Connecticut Senate, where control is evenly split 18-18 between Republicans and Democrats. (The Connecticut Mirror reports that Democrats picked up three state Senate seats; the Courant shows Democrats need three more seats to win a majority.)
Haskel told the Mirror that former president Barack Obama’s farewell speech inspired him to seek office.
It was a light bulb moment for Haskell when he heard Obama say, “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.” Those words are even inscribed at his campaign office, a recently shuttered local Chinese restaurant with no heat where he works alongside high school volunteers.
His former boss and colleague celebrated his victory.