Connecticut home invasion survivor declares victory in state House race

William Petit

CBS Connecticut

PLAINVILLE, Conn. — A Connecticut doctor who survived a 2007 home invasion that took the lives of his family has declared victory in his race for a seat in the Connecticut state legislature. 

Conn. Home Invasion: Steven Hayes Death Penalty Verdict Not About Revenge, Says Dr. William Petit

Haley, Michaela, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, William Petit 

family photo

Republican William Petit accepted the concession of 11-term Democrat state Rep. Betty Boukus in the district that includes Plainville and part of New Britain. 

The family doctor said he ran for the legislature as a fiscal conservative, not a crime victim, and that he plans to work with both political parties to get the state out of a financial hole. 

“The patient has a lot of symptoms right now and we need to approach these symptoms in a reasonable fashion and try not to kill the patient,” he said, apparently referring to the state. 

Boukus, 73, who serves as House chair of the powerful bonding subcommittee, came to Petit’s headquarters to concede. 

Petit, 60, became a national figure after surviving the attack in Cheshire in which his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were murdered. 

The race got attention last month when a labor union’s political action committee ran an internet ad that tried to link Petit to Republican Donald Trump and “attacks on women and families.”

Boukus says she was horrified by the ad, which led to the resignation of the union official who authorized it. 

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Steven Hayes, Joshua Komisarjevsky, Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion suspects

CBS/AP

Republicans began to approach Petit about seeking public office several years ago after he testified against the eventual repeal of capital punishment in Connecticut and spoke out against the state Supreme Court decision that removed the death penalty for those already sentenced. The ruling removed the two men who killed his family from death row. 

But Petit said he had no plans to try to revive Connecticut’s death penalty. He said he will act as a victim-rights advocate, but wants to focus on pushing for needed budget cuts. 

“There’s many things that we want, but don’t necessarily need, and we’re at a point where we need to make hard choices,” he said. 

Boukus said she has nothing bad to say about Petit. She said she didn’t mention him while campaigning, instead focusing on her own record and what she could do for her constituents. 

“When you run for office, you accept it - running, losing,” she said. “I have to get some stuff done that I started. I’ll clean up house, then find the next avenue of excitement.”