Former longtime Wilton state Sen. Toni Boucher running again for 26th District

Photo of Jordan Nathaniel Fenster

Former Republican state Sen. Toni Boucher, of Wilton, plans to run for her old seat in the legislature.

“It’s a big step,” she said. “This decision didn't come easily ... I have a sense of obligation to step up and serve Connecticut because it has been so good to me.”

Boucher had been a state Senator in the legislature's 26th District for a decade before losing her seat in 2018 to newcomer Will Haskell, who won with 53.4 percent of the vote, records show.

Earlier this year, Haskell, who defeated Boucher when he was 22, announced he would not seek reelection.

Boucher acknowledged the district, which includes Westport, Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding, along with parts of Bethel, New Canaan and Weston, is made up of predominantly Democratic voters.

Before Boucher was elected, the district was comprised of five towns. When she won the Senate seat after a 12-year run in the state House, redistricting added portions of two more towns. The latest redistricting will add portions of Stamford and Darien.

Of the 21,696 registered voters in Westport, 4,249 are listed as Republican, according to the Secretary of the State’s office, compared to 9,224 registered Democrats.

Boucher’s hometown of Wilton has 14,078 registered voters, 4,600 of whom are Democrats, compared to 3,759 registered Republicans.

But Boucher said her loss to Haskell was part of a Democratic “wave.”

“It was lost in 2018 when there was a wave that took a lot of Republicans out,” she said. “It’s not going to be easy. The numbers are stacked against us.”

When asked if the political climate was more favorable to Republicans this time, Boucher said: “In the past, there were very lighting-rod personalities. What I’m sensing is that the issues are more the thing now. The local elections did show some changes in voting patterns, but it’s not why I’m making the decision to do this.”

“I’ve run 12 races and won 11,” she added. “More than any, this time around the issues are really driving people’s concerns and attention to politics.”

When asked about specific issues, Boucher said Fairfield County “has really become unaffordable,” and mentioned her concerns over zoning issues.

“We need to make sure that education and zoning decisions are made locally,” she said.

Several Democrats are vying to take Haskell’s place, including Westport residents Ken Bernhard and Michael Gordon. Wilton's Ceci Maher has also announced her intention to run.

But when asked if she knew of any Republican primary challenge, Boucher said not yet, and she wouldn't know until the Republican convention in May.

“It doesn’t look that way right now,” she said.