Toni Boucher concedes in effort to reclaim CT Senate 26 seat

WILTON — Republican Toni Boucher has conceded in her effort to reclaim the state Senate seat she once held for a decade.

Around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Boucher conceded the District 26 Senate race to Democrat Ceci Maher.

Maher had garnered about 60 percent of the vote as of about 11:20 p.m. 

"I'm tremendously honored that everyone voted to choose me as their next state senator and that they shared in my vision for a Connecticut of the future, working on continuing to protect women's rights, keeping classrooms safe and preventing gun violence, working to mitigate climate change and to preserve our state," Maher said. "I'm looking forward to representing Wilton, Ridgefield, Darien, Stamford, Westport, gee, all of them. It's truly a remarkable evening." 

Mahers comments came about an hour after Boucher called her to concede.

“I wish you great success in your new role as our state senator," Boucher said in a phone call to Maher.

The majority of voters in District 26 are registered Democrats. 

"Going into it, you knew that it was always going to be an uphill battle, but the process of good government and involvement is key," Boucher said. 

Boucher was looking to return to the seat she held from 2008 through 2018. She previously represented state House District 143 from 1998 to 2008. She has also served on the Wilton Board of Education and the state Board of Education.

The district looks slightly different from 2018. It now includes Wilton, Westport, Weston, Redding, and parts of Ridgefield, Darien, New Canaan and Stamford. Its previous representative, Democrat Will Haskell, ousted Boucher in 2018 and did not seek reelection so he could attend law school.

Boucher aimed her focus on retaining the state's workforce, reducing taxes and helping the state grow in the technology and life sciences industries.

She also has proposed repealing a highway tax on trucks that she said will "drive up the costs of food, consumer products and services." Boucher said she wants to cut the income tax from 5 percent to 4 percent for families making less than $175,000 a year and index state income tax brackets so that taxes paid on earnings do not outpace inflation. She also pitched eliminating the 1 percent meals tax enforced by the state. 

While campaigning, Maher said there needs to be a focus on growing biotech and financial tech businesses in Stamford. 

She also said she wants to support local businesses through a number of efforts, but encourages more work with the Women's Business Development Council to help women-owned businesses. 

In addition to serving as executive director for Person-to-Person, tackling issues of food, clothing and housing insecurity as well as providing easier education access and summer programs to children, Maher also served as interim director of Sandy Hook Promise and is keenly focused on gun control, including limiting buying firearms in bulk. 

Boucher said she is still helping put together an entrepreneurial program at the University of Connecticut, her alma mater. 

"We're in the middle of writing a book that's been 20 years in the making," Boucher said. "So I had to suspend that for a while but now we're going to be knee-deep in that. And, as I said, we're working to create a wonderful program in the UConn business school and I'm still on several nonprofit boards, so there's a lot to do, not to mention a lot of family time that has been missing." 

"I feel tremendously grateful," she added. 

Staff writer Liz Hardaway contributed to this report.