Newly elected McGorty's top priority is to cut state spending

Ben McGorty is congratulated by supporters after winning the special election during a celebration at Vazzy's in Shelton.
Ben McGorty is congratulated by supporters after winning the special election during a celebration at Vazzy’s in Shelton.

Newly elected state Rep. Ben McGorty of Shelton said his priorities will be simple in Hartford.

“Cutting state spending is the number one task,” McGorty, a Republican, said after winning the July 22 special election. “Also, creating jobs and keeping people in Connecticut.”

McGorty defeated Democrat Arlene Liscinsky of Shelton by a comfortable margin to win the state legislative seat in the 122nd District that was left vacant by the death of longtime incumbent Larry Miller.

The district includes slightly less than half of Shelton as well as small parts of Stratford and Trumbull.

McGorty said he hopes to play a role in stopping the growth of state government. “Spending is crazy,” he said, blaming Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for continuing to create public-sector jobs. “He’s creating jobs left and right,” McGorty said.

Being sworn in on Friday

McGorty will be sworn into office on Friday. He was elected to fill out the term of Miller, which goes through the end of this calendar year. It’s unlikely he’ll have to cast any votes during the term, with the state Legislature out of session until early 2015.

McGorty will be busy trying to hang onto the seat, however.

First, he faces a Republican primary on Aug. 12 to run for a full two-year term this fall. His primary challenger is Michael C. Vickerelli of Stratford. McGorty is the party-endorsed candidate.

Then the winner of the Aug. 12 primary will compete in the Nov. 4 general election, with two independent candidates likely to be in the race.

After his decisive Tuesday victory, McGorty said Vickerelli’s challenge seems unnecessary and only serves to divide the party and the towns within the district.

‘Quality and strong candidate’

McGorty credited his win to working hard during the campaign. “I went door-to-door, working at it right away after winning the nomination,” he said.

State Rep. Jason Perillo, a Shelton Republican who helped run McGorty’s campaign, said McGorty would serve his district well.

“This speaks to what a quality and strong candidate Ben McGorty is,” Perillo said of the results. “Voters believe Ben McGorty is going to be a strong representative of their interests.”

McGorty’s big victory should send a message to Hartford, according to Perillo. “In many ways, this was a referendum on Dan Malloy and what voters think of his job performance,” he said.