"We've got to regroup and do an analysis of why the election went the way it did Tuesday," Smith said.
There is reassessment going on among Republicans. But there's disagreement over whether the problem was the message, the messengers or the message delivery system.
"I think the Republican Party had better take a real close look at what just happened, nationally and at the state level," said Rep. David Kidder, R-New London. "The right wing has been repudiated. If we are honest when we look at that, we will move back toward the middle."
Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, reflecting on the losses last week, said Republicans need to stay true to their principles. She's confident voters will come around as Democrats pursue a path of increased spending and taxes.
As a Republican activist, Smith has roots in the party's social issues. But, as a candidate, his campaign focused on business development and tax reform. He believes that is the key moving forward.
"Republicans will win by keeping their focus and message on jobs and the economy," Smith said.
A big part of the Democratic success was the party's ability to get out the vote.
"That ended up being a significant advantage for them," Smith said.
Republicans, he said, need to respond by being better organized.
Galdieri said the election results amount to a strong repudiation of the path the Legislature has taken since 2010.
"Republicans now face a tricky challenge in distinguishing themselves from the Democrats — without bringing back voters' memories of the O'Brien-era Legislature," Galdieri said. "One way to do that might be use their position in the Senate not as a blockade, but as a means for extracting meaningful policy concessions and changes that they could then point to as resulting directly from their actions."