Despite GOP Endorsement, Branford Results Mirror State’s
by marcia chambers | Aug 15, 2012 9:20 am
Posted to: Politics
Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive, trounced their competitors, Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Shays in Tuesday’s Branford primary. Voter turnout was in the low 20 percent.
Town Clerk Marianne Kelly says that typically voter turnout in primaries hovers between 28 and 33 percent. Not this year, she noted.
Murphy, who gives up his seat in the 5th District, and McMahon, who lost the U.S. Senate race to Richard Blumenthal two years ago, will face each other in the Nov. 6th election. They are vying for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.
By the time the polls closed in Branford, McMahon beat Shays handily, 531 to 216 votes. The Republican Town Committee backed Shays. Murphy, endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee, beat Bysiewicz by more than a 2-1 margin, 831 to 357. The polls reflected the statewide voting pattern.
Early in the day residents came by ones and twos to vote in the August primary. Mostly the voting rooms were empty but for election workers and a few voters trickling in to help decide their party’s candidate to replace Lieberman.
Election workers said they expected voter activity to pick up by dinner time. Polls closed at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, at mid-day no lines were reported at any of Branford’s seven election districts.
Susan Bennitt and her mother Claire said after they voted in District 3 that they voted for Chris Murphy. Both were unhappy with Bysiewicz, they said. “She has no legislative experience,” Susan Bennitt said. (Bysiewicz was a three-term state representative before she became secretary of the state.) Claire Bennitt said: “I voted for Chris. I happen to think he listens. He is capable of working with people.”
Asked about Linda McMahon, who would emerge as Murphy’s opponent in the November election, Susan Bennitt said she was appalled by the barrage of McMahon’s television commercials. “Just because you can say it a hundred times doesn’t make it true,” she said, adding “she has no sense of what the people need or want.”
Outside the 3rd district in Short Beach and the 1st district near Town Hall were signs for Murphy and Shays, but none for Bysiewicz or McMahon.
“There’s not much activity,” said Chris Collins, the election moderator for District 3 in Short Beach. Absent the largest group, the unaffiliated voters, who may not in the primary, the total number of registered Democrats in District 3 is 737. The total number of Republicans is 256.
By 11 a.m. a total 74 voters had cast votes at District 3.
Over at District 1, which set up shop in the Community House gym, 100 voters had cast their votes by 11 a.m. Walter Smith, the election moderator, said he thought the voters were split 50-50 between the parties.
He described the voting pattern as “fairly steady,” with voters walking in and out every few minutes.
The wait for voters was true at all the polls in the seven districts. Over at District 7, where residents voted at the Walsh Intermediate School,
Moderator Maggie Bruno, a member of the Representative Town Meeting, said “It is really slow.”
It was seven hours into primary day and only 154 voters had come through the Walsh school door.
Over at District 2 in Stony Creek, where there were 673 registered Democrats and 289 registered Republicans, only 146 voters from both parties had voted by 3 p.m.
Circling back to District 3 in Short Beach, where we first began, we saw a voter rushing to make the 8 p.m. deadline. With two minutes to go before the polls closed, Mark Civitello, a psychiatric nurse at Yale-New Haven Hospital, walked briskly into the voting room at Orchard House.
He showed his identification and he voted. Afterwards he told the Eagle he was supposed to leave the hospital at 7:30 p.m., but got out at 7:40 p.m. Traffic was on his side, he said, and “I made it across the bridge quickly, just in time,” he said.
“I wanted to vote!” he said smiling, as Peggy Carpenter, one of the poll workers, pinned a sticker on his shirt that read: “I voted today.”
His vote brought the District 3 numbers to 161 democrats and 59 Republicans for a grand total of 220 voters over a 12 hour period.
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Headline flat out wrong.
The Branford RTC did not endorse any candidate in the US Senate Primary.
The RTC chair did help and endorse Christopher Shays and the delegation at convention voted for Shay’s neither of which constitutes a RTC endorsement. Branford Republicans were left to make up their own minds.
With these simple facts being wrong how can anyone trust what is written on this site?