(Updated 10:12 p.m. with statewide results added.)
Officials in Southington didn't anticipate much of a race Tuesday. In the end, it turns out they were right as Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy each won the nomination for U.S. Senate from local voters by a decisive margin.
Murphy took home the local Democratic nomination, defeating challenger Susan Bysiewicz by a 968 - 492 margin, while McMahon solidifed her chances to represent the Republican party on the November ballot by defeating challenger Christopher Shays 1,398 - 275.
"They both had local connections and this result isn't exactly a surprise," said Democrat Dolores Longo, former chair of the Southington Democratic Town Committee. "Murphy in particular is well known in the community, so while Susan Bysiewicz is a kind woman with a lot to offer, the timing just wasn't right for her in this race."
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Murphy, a Cheshire resident, began his political career while living in town. He was elected to the Planning and Zoning Commission, an opportunity given to him when Longo was head of the party, and he hasn't looked back since.
Meanwhile, McMahon had also made a splash in town over the past couple years en route to gaining a steady following of supporters.
She chose Jeffrey Gagnon's business, , as the location in September 2011. In June, she returned to give a 45 minute speech and gained the support of many local residents and business owners during a Southington Chamber of Commerce celebrity breakfast.
Kate Duffy, a spokesman for the McMahon campagin, said that she chose Southington and specifically Coil Pro because it left an impression on her during a visit in her run for office two years ago.
“Coil Pro is the definition of an American success story. This company has grown through hard work, smart business practices and an ability to adjust to a changing climate. It’s an example of what (McMahon) hopes to do on a government level,” Duffy said.
By The Numbers
The reported the following results, by district, in the Democratic Primary:
11 Absentee Chris Murphy 105 87 118 70 85 124 66 57 55 42 95 64
Susan Bysiewicz 65 50 57 35 40 55 36 38 26 29 34 27
*Bold-Italic denotes winner.
The reported the following results, by district, in the Republican Primary:
11 Absentee Linda McMahon 180 134 144 91 180 143 102 118 65 82 104 55 Chris Shays 31 34 33 15 25 30 20 15 9 21 29 13
*Bold-Italic denotes winner.
The preceding information indicates the preliminary results. The Southington Town Clerk's office will provide final numbers to the Secretary of State on Wednesday morning.
The Registrar of Voters reported a 22-percent turnout during the Aug. 14 primary, nearly a third below the anticipated state turnout.
A total of 3,140 out of 14,215 voters took to the poll or cast their absentee ballots between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. This included an 18-percent turnout among Democratic voters and a 27.5-percent turnout for Republican voters.
Ed Malczyk, Southington Democratic Registrar of Voters, said the turnout was "about what we anticipated" for the local primary, especially given the seemingly decided fate of the U.S. Senate race and lack of a primary in the First Congressional District in 2012.
Staff with the Connecticut Secretary of State's office said entering Tuesday that they anticipated about a 30 percent turnout at the polls.
As expected, Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy will face off in November for the right to succeed Joe Lieberman in the U.S. Senate.
With 77% of the precincts reporting at 10 p.m., McMahon was soundly defeating former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays with 76% of the vote. Meanwhile, Murphy cruised by Bysiewicz, the Middletown native and former Secretary of the State, by a comfortable 66% to 34% margin.
In the Fifth Congressional District, Elizabeth Esty emerged on the Democratic side with a convincing 43% to 34% margin (as of 10 p.m.) over the embattled Chris Donovan, once considered the strong frontrunner before a campaign-finance scandal involving several members of his staff, and dark-horse Dan Roberti (23%).
Republicans in the Fifth District went down to the wire, with favorite Andrew Roraback pulling it out with 34% of the vote, followed by Mark Greenberg (28%), Lisa Wilson-Foley (19%) and Justin Bernier (19%) as of 10 p.m.
In the Second Congressional District, East Lyme restaurateur Paul Formica was running away with the Republican primary over Madison’s Daria Novak by about a 2-to-1 ratio, as of 9 p.m. and was declared the winner.
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