State Rep. Kim Fawcett had to wait until the final votes were reported to Fairfield Democratic Town Committee headquarters Tuesday night before she could breathe easy.

Fawcett knew her hard-fought race against Republican challenger Dee Dee Brandt in the 133rd State House of Representatives District would be close -- and it was. The Democrat defeated Brandt -- 4,896 votes to 4,157 -- to earn a third term representing the district, which includes parts of Fairfield and Westport. Fawcett defeated Brandt by 739 votes.

Fawcett claimed victory in Fairfield by a margin of 640 votes (4,351 to 3,711). She also won in the district's only Westport district, Greens Farms, by 99 votes (545-446).

"I'm completely exhausted, but really I'm thrilled," Fawcett said after learning that she had won. "I had an extraordinary dream team of supporters. I didn't win this race, it was a team effort. I can't even emphasize that enough."

"I had an organization of incredible people who worked really hard, more than a 100 volunteers who put in time to make this happen for me. So I am so in debt to so many friends and supporters," added Fawcett, who spent Election Day greeting voters at the Fairfield Ludlowe High School polls along with her daughters and their friends.

Brandt was able to keep her head high in spite of the defeat. "We ran a campaign in a most civil manner and it has been one we will always be able to say it was done with honor," Brandt said Tuesday night at the Fairfield Café, where local Republicans gathered to monitor election returns.

The tally in the 133rd District was not the closest margin of victory in Fairfield on Tuesday; that distinction goes to Republican Brenda Kupchick's 13-vote apparent win over incumbent state Rep. Tom Drew, but the race between Fawcett and Brandt was the most heated. The two went head-to-head in League of Women Voters' debates, first in Westport and then in Fairfield. They clashed publicly over voting records, with Brandt criticizing Fawcett's votes in the legislature and Fawcett faulting Brandt's record on the Fairfield Board of Finance.

The race against Brandt, who in addition to the finance board has been a member of the Representative Town Meeting, was the toughest test for Fawcett since she won the state representative seat from Republican Cathy Tymniak in 2006.

Two years later, Fawcett easily defeated GOP challenger Amanda Parks, then a 20-year-old, by nearly 3,000 votes.

With the campaign over, Fawcett plans to turn her attention back to her work in Hartford.

"I think there is a really high bar that has been set for me, for us to work harder and smarter," she said. "And they need us to do a good job and I am going to pour my heart into the next two years."

With a $3.5 billion budget deficit facing the state, Fawcett said, "I will do the same thing that I have been saying throughout the campaign -- we need to spend less money.

"We have to spend our money smarter and I am going to be a fiscal conservative voice consistently for the next two years," she added.