Sen. (D) defeated challenger (R) in the 32nd Senate District race, another blow to the GOP's attempt to take control of the General Assembly.
As of 12:05 a.m., Howell has 60.17 percent of the vote over Forrest's 39.77 percent. With 44 of the 32nd District's 51 precincts reporting, voter turnout stands at 26.57 percent.
Howell has been in the state Senate since 1992. She has moved up the Democratic ranks over the years and became the first woman to ever serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
Forrest is a first-time candidate who quit his job in order to launch a vigorous campaign against the longtime incumbent.
In recent weeks, the Forrest campaign has accused Howell and her staffers of spearheading a whisper campaign to discredit Forrest, telling people Forrest would push “the homosexual agenda.” Forrest is openly gay.
Howell denied the accusations, pointing to her many votes in favor of gay rights over the years.
“Janet’s got a sterling record of supporting GLBT issues throughout her career, and that’s just not the kind of campaign that I run, and that’s not the kind of campaign that she runs,” said Nick Kowalski, Howell's campaign manager.
Senate District 32
Patrick N. Forrest 17,021 39.69% Precincts Reporting:
50 of 51 (98.03%)
42,878 of 134,047 (31.98%)
42,878 of 144,378 total voters (7.343%)
Janet D. Howell 25,834 60.25%
Write In 23 0.05%