Tony Hwang, a freshman Republican representing the 134th Assembly District, won a second ticket to Hartford as voters in the Fairfield-Trumbull district strongly supported his re-election.

"It's an affirmation where the voters have said, `We want our politicians to contribute, to add value to the Democratic process, to truly and sincerely represent their interests,' " said Hwang, who works in real estate.

Hwang was up against Democrat Michael Murren, a Fairfield business owner who lives in Trumbull, who entered the race in late August after Debbie Blanchard stepped down for personal reasons. Hwang bested Murren 3,422 votes to 1,620 in the Fairfield portion of the legislative district, and in Trumbull Hwang tallied 2,842 votes while Murren got 1,590.

Murren, who owns an insurance agency, said if he had started his campaign sooner, the outcome might have been different.

"I felt he was beatable," he said of Hwang. "But once I finished the campaign financing, I had less than 30 days to campaign."

Even so, Murren enjoyed the experience. "I had a great time meeting with the people," said the father of three. "Being pro-business and seniors were the focus of my campaign, and it was really resonating with the voters and, unfortunately, I just ran out of time as far as reaching them all."

He said the best part of his experience is "when you reach out to someone and you leave them with a message and it's a message that they really embrace ... A lot of seniors were really having a hard time and appreciated that someone was looking out for them and being an advocate for better policies."

Murren, however, said that his experience in politics soured when Hwang refused to shake his hand on Election Night.

"My kids were with me. I go to shake his hand, he says, `No,' and he turned his back on me," he said.

Hwang said he didn't shake Murren's hand because of the personal mud-slinging his opponent engaged in.

One campaign flier mailed last week particulary upset Hwang. It contended he voted against a bill that would have allowed people to use their co-pays to get medical screenings for cancer and other tests. The flier also featured a close-up photo of an elderly woman having a depressor placed on her tongue and looking worried.

Hwang told the Fairfield Citizen: "I care deeply about people about people who have died as a result of cancer, people who are suffering, as well as the caregivers and the family members who go through the same trauma. To use this (the mailer) as political fodder is disrespectful and demeaning to all those people who fight to eradicate this disease every day."

Hwang, who said the bill Murren referenced was part of "omnibus bill," said the mailer was a waste of taxpayer money from the public campaign financing fund. He surmises Murren used personal attacks because he didn't have much to say about himself.

"Where is his record of public service, of community involvement?" Hwang asked. "I welcome his involvement in giving back to the community."

In his new term, Hwang said he will work with others to bring jobs to the state and to improve the economy. The day after he was re-elected, he called, among others, citizens, non-profit organizations, principals of schools, and thanked them for their support and to "let them know it is an honor and privilege to serve them and that I am there for them."

Hwang said he wished that his father, Li-Kong Hwang, who died last year, had lived longer, to see him not only become a state representative, but win re-election.

"I wish he could have shared the moment with me," he said. Re-election "re-affirms the things that he taught me to be sincere and genuine and reminded me that we live in a great country. He taught me to do the right thing and to represent the community with grace and dignity. I serve because I care about giving back to the community that I live in and love.

Overall, Hwang said he enjoyed the process leading up to the election. However, he said that candidates, in the future, "should talk about what they've done in the community, not negative misleading attacks."

The voters, he said, "deserve better than that."

Murren said he'd be willing to battle it out against Hwang two years from now, but noted he has heard Hwang may try to unseat First Selectman Kenneth Flatto in next year's municipal election. Hwang, wondering where Murren got that impression, said he has no plans to become Fairfield's first selectman.