Updated: FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Democrat Kevin Kiley claimed victory in the special election Tuesday in Fairfield to fill an empty seat on the Board of Selectmen.
Republican Ed Bateson came up short in the voting. The unofficial vote tally was 5,434 for Kiley and 3,727 for Bateson, according to the town of Fairfield. The results were unofficial as of late Tuesday.
Kiley claimed victory late Tuesday at a party with supporters.
"This is a great night for the Democratic Party, this is a great night for the town of Fairfield," he told a crowd of supporters. "It was six months of hard work ... and we've done it and we've done it together."
The Democratic victory was applauded at high levels. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said via Twitter: "This is a big deal. Special election in a swing town flips Board of Selectmen control from R to D. And it wasn't close."
The Connecticut Democratic Party said via Twitter: "Democrat Kevin Kiley wins a landslide victory in #FairfieldCT special election! #Momentum #LocalElectionsMatter."
The special election was held to fill the seat vacated when Selectman Laurie McArdle, a Republican, resigned in December just one year into a four-year term.
Bateson was appointed that same month to fill the seat by First Selectman Mike Tetreau, a Democrat, and Selectman Chris Tymniak, a Republican.
The election has been debated and tied up in a court case after objections from a group of Democrats in town, but the Appellate Court issued an order last week that there was no stay on the special election.
A group of Democrats had gathered signatures on a petition to force a special election for the seat on the Board of Selectman.
The debate was over whether the Town Charter allowed the replacement to be named and whether the appointment was made in the allotted timeframe.