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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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Fairfield vote: Two ways to read results

Updated 1:22 pm, Thursday, November 8, 2012

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  • State Rep. Kim Fawcett celebrates her election in the 133rd House District with her daughters Tuesday night. Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Fairfield Citizen
    State Rep. Kim Fawcett celebrates her election in the 133rd House District with her daughters Tuesday night. Photo: Genevieve Reilly

 

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Both sides of the political aisle had something to celebrate in Tuesday's election returns.

While Fairfield Democrats were jubilant over the across-the-board victories scored by the party's candidates at the top of the ticket, Republicans had reason to be pleased as they held on to three of the town's four seats in the state General Assembly.

Democrats Barack Obama, Chris Murphy and Jim Himes rolled to winning margins in Fairfield as they went on to prevail in their respective races for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House.

Meanwhile, incumbent state Reps. Brenda Kupchick and Tony Hwang, and state Sen. John McKinney, all Republicans, were returned to Hartford. The lone Democrat to win a state legislative in Fairfield was Kim Fawcett, another incumbent.

Voter turnout in the post-Sandy election was about 80 percent, according to unofficial tallies from the Registrars of Voters office. However, no voting problems related to the storm's aftermath were reported.

A jubilant Fawcett, 43, the Democratic Town Committee's lone bright spot in the state legislative returns, begged reporters to give her a minute to call her father in Maryland with the news of her victory for a fourth term in the 133rd House District.

"I won dad!" she said. "I crushed him."

Fawcett beat Republican challenger Chris DeSanctis by a tally of 5,948 to 3,645.

"I really try to help one person at a time, once concern at a time," said Fawcett, who will return to Hartford for her fourth term. She said that this was "absolutely the most vicious campaign I've even been in ... the negative campaigning, the lies and manipulated information, it was so horrendous which makes the win tonight even bigger."

Just down the Post Road, Fairfield Republicans were toasting a better showing in the local state representative races.

Kupchick, a freshman who carried all her districts in winning re-election over Democrat Sue Brand in the 132nd District, said she wrote an acceptance speech two years ago but didn't know if she could give it because she won by only 15 votes, which required a recount. This year, Kupchick, co-owner of Peter Kupchick Heating & Cooling, said she didn't write an acceptance speech.

The 47-year-old Kupchick -- who won with 6,809 votes to 5,685 for Brand -- said it was "a tremendous honor for me to represent the people of my hometown. I'm overwhelmed."

She thanked many people who campaigned for her, saying their sacrifice of weekends for several months for her cause was a "testament to friendship" and that she was very appreciative.

Also on the winning side for the GOP was Tony Hwang in the 134th House District.

"I am humbled and thrilled to have won my third term," Hwang, 48, said, adding that when elected officials show they care, people will reward them with their vote.

"I'm thrilled to be here, but, more importantly, thrilled to stand with people who have committed to public service," he added.

Hwang, a realty agent, beat Democratic challenger Heather Dean by a vote of 4,268 to 2,145 in the Fairfield section of the district. In the Trumbull slice of the district, Hwang also beat Dean by 3,354 to 1,874.

Republican state Sen. John McKinney, 48, the state Senate minority leader, had no reason to sweat out his own race; he ran unopposed for a seventh term. In Fairfield alone, however, he tallied 18,931 votes -- more than any other candidate on the ballot Tuesday.

McKinney, a lawyer who fellow Republicans joked had won in "a landslide," said he thought fellow Fairfield GOP candidates performed well Tuesday night.

"Tony Hwang was challenged by a very good candidate in Dean and still won a convincing victory," he said.

And he commended Kupchick in defeating a formidable opponent in Brand, who he called well known for her service on the Board of Education.

Regarding DeSanctis' loss, McKinney said, "I think we all knew the race in the 133rd was a difficult one." He said the district has more Democrats than Republicans and that Fawcett, DeSanctis' Democratic opponent, was "a hard worker."

He said local Republicans, at the end of the day, had a lot to be proud of by running three good races and winning two, not including his race.

DeSanctis, who lost his race against Fawett, said, "I do think we ran a very good race, and in large measure, that is because of the team I had."

He said delivering remarks after a defeat certainly wasn't the circumstance in which he wanted to talk to fellow local Republicans, but added that he felt OK nonetheless.

While the state representative races were a disappointment for Democrats, DTC Chairman Ellery Plotkin noted with pleasure that Fairfield was able to deliver for Himes, who won a third term in the 4th Congressional District, and for Murphy, who beat Republican Linda McMahon in the hard-fought battle for retiring Joseph Lieberman's U.S. Senate seat.

Plotkin's counterpart in the GOP, James Millington, said he was surprised DeSanctis' numbers weren't strong, but added that district is dominated by Democrats and is difficult to win in a year that featured a presidential race.

"In the local races, I was extremely pleased to see the numbers coming out so strong for Brenda (Kupchick)," said Millington, adding that Brand, her Democratic opponent, was a strong candidate and Kupchick's district had changed dramatically in redistricting.

Millington was likewise pleased by Hwang's victory, saying, "Tony will be secure as our state representative for some time to come."

Correspondent Andrew Brophy contributed to this report.