Local Race Draws Voters
There are 1.1 million Democratic and Republican voters eligible to cast their votes today until 8 p.m., but despite the national profile some of these races may have attracted—all politics is local.
At least that’s why Robert Howard was out in Windsor Tuesday morning. After taking literature from Brandon McGee, Leo Canty, and Don Trinks, Howard headed into the polls to cast his vote. While he was mum about which local Democrat he voted for he said he was more excited about the race for state representative than the race for the open U.S. Senate seat.
McGee, Canty, and Trinks are running for the Democratic nomination in the new 5th District. The new district combines part of state Rep. Marie Kirkley-Bey’s old district in Hartford with part of an open seat in Windsor. It’s considered a majority-minority district because a majority of the new district includes Windsor and the population is mostly African-American.
“No matter who wins we can all agree that it will be great to have a Windsor resident back at the Capitol,” Trinks said.
Canty fought to get the redistricting commission, which looks at the political lines every 10 years, to consider giving Windsor back its representation. Over the years because of a political battle in 1981 Windsor had been chopped up into pieces and given to representatives from surrounding towns.
McGee, a Hartford resident running for the seat, said the candidates in the race have done a great job of making some noise and getting voters excited about the race.
The same can’t be said about the U.S. Senate contest on the Democratic side between U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
“The Senate race is not as high pitched as it was back in 2006,” Canty said.
That’s the year that Ned Lamont ended up beating U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Lieberman went onto run as an Independent in November and won re-election.
But he’s retiring, so for the second time in two years Connecticut has an open U.S. Senate seat.
On the Republican side, Linda McMahon, the former wrestling executive who ran for the seat in 2010 and spent $50 million of her own money, is running again. She is being challenged by former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, a moderate Republican, who has struggled with the new political landscape and fundraising. Republicans again endorsed McMahon at their convention in May, but Shays received enough support to mount a primary.
However, at one point, he was uncertain if he would even be able to raise enough money to run television advertisements. He managed to raise enough for several spots on Fox News, but McMahon who has loaned her campaign more than $12 million has been able to get her message to voters through the airwaves.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s decision to jump into the U.S. Senate contest leaves his seat open in the 5th Congressional District, where three Democrats and four Republicans are vying for their respective party’s nomination.
One of the more closely watched contests, the race has involved two unrelated federal investigations, shadowy Super PAC money, and numerous attacks on both sides.
On the Democratic side, House Speaker Chris Donovan is the party-endorsed candidate, who faces challenges from former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire and Dan Roberti of Kent.
Political pundits favored Donovan to win the race, but that was before his former campaign manager and finance director were arrested and charged with conspiring to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign donations. Donovan himself has denied any knowledge of the alleged scheme to trade his influence as speaker for campaign donations. He immediately fired the staff involved and hired former Republican U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy to conduct an investigation into the campaign.
The investigation, which concluded Donovan had no knowledge of the scheme, cost the campaign about $119,000. Donovan’s fundraising efforts seemed to be slowed by the ongoing investigation to point where his party Tuesday at the Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden is expected to be a potluck.
On the Republican side, a federal grand jury was looking into the consulting relationship Lisa Wilson-Foley’s husband Brian had with former Gov. John G. Rowland at the same time as Rowland was a volunteer for her campaign.
Wilson-Foley, a businesswoman from Simsbury, faces state Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen, who is the party-endorsed candidate, Mark Greenberg, a developer from Litchfield, and Justin Bernier, a U.S. Navy veteran who worked for former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons and former Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
In addition to the 5th District, there’s also a Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District between Daria Novak and East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney.
There are primaries for three state Senate seats, 12 state House seats, one probate judge, and two registrars of voters.