Victory remained out of reach for both Dan Malloy and Tom Foley as voting irregularities in Bridgeport dragged into the early morning hours to punctuate Election Day 2010 with a ballot shortage debacle. But Malloy, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, took the stage at the Society Room shortly after 1 a.m. and expressed confidence that he would be the state’s next governor.
“This is quite a landslide,“ Malloy quipped as the crowd hooted and hollered in support.
“I want to be very clear that we may enjoy victory tonight,” Malloy said. “This probably will have a little ways to go, but based on our look at the numbers I believe that we will end up doing what all of you wished we would do.”
“I fully acknowledge and respect the rights of other individuals to contest numbers and play itself out, but I thought it was important since you all stayed to come over here,“ said Malloy. “I also want to say to Mr. Foley – I congratulate him on a race well run.”
“Again, this will work itself out. I’m pretty certain we’re going to be okay,” Malloy added.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley addressed his supporters as well at the Greenwich Hyatt around 1 a.m., offering a message of optimism similar to Malloy’s.
Acknowledging that the gubernatorial contest will likely continue over the next few days with lawyers and possibly more lawsuits, Foley refused to concede despite the reality that most of the remaining poll locations are in traditionally Democratic cities.
Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said the lack of ballots in Bridgeport and a court order which allowed 12 voting precincts stay open two hours longer, and reluctance of the Registrar of Voters in Hartford to call the election without all the returns in hand, added to the delay.
DiNardo said she was in Hartford Superior Court at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday arguing to keep the polls open so that voters unable to wait for ballots to be copied in Bridgeport could vote. DiNardo said there were 9,000 votes cast and read by the optical scan machines in that city and between 4,000 and 5,000 were being counted by hand into Wednesday morning.
“It’s only appropriate that Connecticut’s election is settled by Connecticut’s courts this year,” Kevin Reynolds, an attorney for the Democratic Party, said Wednesday morning.
Democrats knew it would all come down to voter turnout, they just didn’t expect Bridgeport to run out of ballots. Malloy supporters hunkered down at the Society Room in Hartford for the long haul. The crowd grew bigger and perhaps a little drunker as the night dragged on and Malloy, who would be the state’s first Democratic governor since 1986, took the stage.
As he waited to hear Malloy’s speech, Ancy Destin, an organizer with SEIU 1199 in Hartford, said he spent the day trying to get people out to vote. Between himself and other members they made about 4,000 phone calls in the last few days.
“We’ve had a governor who has neglected the working class,” Destin said. “We exist. We matter. Tonight is the night.”
Barbara Hallaman, of Derby, also with 1199 – which has been on strike for seven months from Spectrum Healthcare – said Dan Malloy will be more in support of unions than Tom Foley. She said the state needs more Medicare funding to put her and the rest of her colleagues back to work.
Ansonia Mayor Jim Della Volpe said there was a normal turnout today and Malloy got about 450 votes.
Debra Chernoff, also with SEIU, spent the day making about 300 calls at a phone bank in an effort to get people out to vote for Malloy.
Frances Taylor contributed to this report.