16% Of City Dems Voted. Good News For Murphy?
by Melissa Bailey | Aug 15, 2012 3:33 pm
Posted to: Politics, Campaign 2012
As he cinched the Democratic nomination, U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy declared he had built a coalition that would “guarantee” victory against Linda McMahon in November. That coalition may need to round up a lot more votes in New Haven next time to meet that guarantee.
That may be the upshot of final city voting totals (including absentees) released Wednesday by the registrar of voters office.
Murphy beat Susan Bysiewicz for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate by a 2-1 statewide margin Tuesday.
“The coalition of regular, hard-working middle class folks who made this resounding victory possible tonight will guarantee that Linda McMahon will not buy the election this fall,” he declared at a victory party at New Haven’s Omni Hotel.
Official results released by Wednesday showed Murphy beat Bysiewicz by 5,603 to 1,658 in New Haven, including absentee ballots. A total of 16 percent of the city’s 44,383 registered Democrats voted.
In the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Linda McMahon beat Christopher Shays by a 3-1 margin statewide. In New Haven, where neither candidate had a campaign presence on primary day, 19 percent of the 2,384 registered Republicans cast votes. McMahon grabbed 319 votes to Shays’ 132.
The challenge for Murphy isn’t whether he can beat McMahon in New Haven on Nov. 6. It’s whether he can run up the margin enough the way other victorious statewide Democrats have.
“I’m gratified with the result in New Haven,” said New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney, a veteran campaign observer who is supporting Murphy. The investment Murphy made in New Haven—locking in early endorsements, making numerous campaign stops, and setting up a headquarters on Whalley Avenue—appeared to have “paid off,” he said.
New Haven had the “strongest team in the state,” he concluded: It brought in more Murphy votes than any other city. Hartford delivered 3,355 in-person votes for Murphy (63 percent of the machine total in that city); Bridgeport pulled in 3,467 (65 percent), according to the Hartford Courant. (The state will not finish compiling official absentee ballot figures and voter turnout for several days, according to secretary of the state spokesman Av Harris.)
Looney said Murphy’s votes stacked up well against totals the 2010 primary, which he called the best comparison.
Murphy outperformed the winning Democrat in the last statewide primary, the 2010 gubernatorial contest: Winner Dannel Malloy captured 4,469 votes in New Haven in that race. His opponent, Ned Lamont, who was supported by many insider Democrats, grabbed another 4,289 votes.
Overall Numbers Dropped
However, overall turnout in New Haven was lower this year. Looney reasoned that was because unlike in 2010, the race was not close.
“It takes two to tango,” Looney said.
Murphy’s opponent all but gave up on New Haven: There were barely any Bysiewicz signs, workers, or literature spotted on primary day. The campaign did not hire any workers, invest in signs, or rent office space in the city, according to campaign manager Jonathan Ducote.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s team hired 50 paid campaign workers and recruited about 150 volunteers to knock on doors, make phone calls, and drive people to the polls, according to New Haven Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Vice-Chair Vinnie Mauro. Mauro and a labor-backed team who had delivered votes for Malloy in 2010 returned to the same headquarters at 123 Whalley Ave. to work for Murphy. The Rev. Scott Marks and DTC Chair Jackie James dispatched canvassers from the Whalley headquarters.
Farther down Whalley, Yale union organizer Hugh Baran organized troops from the Beaver Hills home of Alderwoman Angela Russell. The home was one of six neighborhood outposts set up for Murphy’s campaign Tuesday, according to union organizer Gwen Mills.
She called a turnout of about 7,000 Democratic voters, compared to 10,000 in 2010, respectable. In 2010, “there was a neck-and-neck race” and New Haven was a “highly contested battleground.”
“To get that close” to 2010 turnout “is good,” she argued.
Murphy had announced he hoped for a 25 percent turnout statewide. Mauro said the local team was shooting for 15 percent in New Haven—“and we certainly got that.”
Murphy’s opponent in the November general election, McMahon, is on track to spend $50 million or more to try to win the seat. Murphy had raised only $5.5 million as of the latest count; he will need a fearsome vote-pulling operation to counteract her money. New Haven, with the largest bloc of Democrats and vote totals in statewide elections, is considered the most important terrain for that operation; Murphy practically moved into the city in the weeks before the primary as a result.
From the victory stage at the Omni Tuesday night, Murphy signaled that the toughest challenge still lies ahead.
“You guys get tomorrow off,” he said to his supporters, “and then you’re back on the job.”
Post a Comment
A 16% turnout (1/3 fewer than last election) is ” a testament to the newly reconstituted Democratic Party working as a “unified” team.”? Just what is Unite and Local 34 smoking to make such a pronouncement? This is the most disgraceful and apathetic election ever. Chris Murphy should take a long hard look at his so called supporters.
Great journalism. New Haven can be key to the future of the Senate and our country. Time to step up.