Democrat Stephanie Thomas has claimed victory for the state assembly’s 143rd district, which includes parts of Wilton, Westport and Norwalk.

“It’s a bit surreal,” Thomas, a Norwalk resident, said. “It certainly feels all the hard work paid off.”

Thomas defeated Republican challenger Patrizia Zucaro. She will fill the seat vacated by Republican Gail Lavielle, a longtime member of the legislature who decided not to run for re-election in March.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, Thomas won with 8,007 votes to Zucaro’s 6,423 votes.

Thomas also flips a seat that has historically been Republican with Toni Boucher filling the role from 1996 until her election to the state Senate in 2008. Democrat Peggy Reeves of Wilton held the seat for one term after being elected in 2008.

“I like to say the district is flipping to align with the Democratic values that I support,” Thomas said. “What I hear in the district is fiscally responsible and socially progressive, and I think that does represent Democratic views.”

This is Thomas’ second campaign for the 143rd district seat, having narrowly lost to Lavielle in 2018. She ran a platform based on protecting voting rights, gun safety, affordable healthcare that includes a public option and cap on prescription drug prices, investment in transportation, environmental protections, a women’s right to choose and affordable college.

She said her campaign was a grass roots, community effort.

“It never felt like war it felt like family,” she said.

Zucaro, a Westport attorney who ran on the Republican and Independent ticket, campaigned on the platform of improving transportation, focusing on supporting small businesses, and addressing what she saw as the state’s structural fiscal weaknesses: high taxes and debt.

Zucaro received endorsements from Westport, Wilton and Norwalk’s police unions, and the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut. She also received an endorsement from Lavielle in her bid for the seat.

Zucaro could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Thomas said between visiting residents in her district at their door, making phone calls, and text messaging she was able to communicate with residents across the aisle.

“I think that is how you move forward — with conversation,” she said. “I go to doors for all parties and I’ve always said if I win I have to represent you too.”

Thomas received endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Connecticut. This was the second time she was backed by NARAL.

Thomas said she was thankful that people trusted in her to represent the district in Hartford.

“I come from a spirit of public service it’s in my DNA, so I’m here to be a public servant which means my door is always opened,” she said. “I have a big tent approach and I look forward to the entire community moving forward together.”

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com