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Murphy, McMahon Early Frontrunners in Southington

The two party-endorsed candidates appear to be running away with the Southington primary early on, while the lack of despite a turnout that still remains under 10 percent.

The wasn't exactly a ghost town early Tuesday afternoon, but there wasn't a lot of action at the polls to speak of either with just around 8 percent of the district's voters coming to cast their vote.

There may be a bit of an afternoon rush, moderator Betty Michaud said, but in the end the town will be lucky to hit 20 percent turnout in the Connecticut primaries. It shouldn't come as a surprise as voters are asked to cast their ballots on just a single race and the party-endorsed candidates for both the Democrats and Republicans have local ties.

"I mean, as far as what we expected, I think things have been pretty good so far. There aren't any problems and we're getting what we anticipated," Michaud said. "Still, it's been pretty slow."

Those who voted did not elaborate on who they chose, but poll workers at several locations said most expressed that they were voting for either Democrat Chris Murphy or Republican Linda McMahon. Both won their party's endorsement earlier this year.

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Murphy, who is facing off against former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, is a Cheshire resident who has Southington ties. He began his political career while living in town and served on the Southington Planning and Zoning Commission.

As a result, he has a steady following in the community said David Zoni, . Zoni said Murphy has long been a popular candidate in the community.

"People here like him and when you see who is coming to the polls, they are those residents who vote strictly along party lines," Zoni said. "There isn't a strong turnout because there really isn't much of a race for people to vote on.

McMahon has also built a following in Southington, and further gaining the support of local residents and business owners .

The strong connections of these candidates have likely played a role in the lower turnout, Democratic Ed Malczyk said.

The town had a turnout of just 8.73 percent by noon and although the numbers were up from a 3.65 percent turnout as of 9 a.m., Malczyk said he would not be surprised if the turnout remained below 20 percent when the final votes are tallied after polls close at 8 p.m.

State officials said early Tuesday that they were expecting around a 30 percent turnout statewide.

"We weren't expecting people to flood the polls, so an 8 percent turnout is OK. We expect the numbers to climb some when people get out of work," Malczyk said. "In the end, we will likely be right around 20 percent, though probably just a bit under.

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