Hwang, Kupchick, Devlin ride GOP tide in Fairfield, with Vahey lone Dem victor
Published 12:13 am, Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Though Tuesday's elections results were slowed by voting machine problems, unofficial results show Republicans held sway in town, from the top of the ticket with gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley and across most of the legislative contests -- except one.
Foley took 52 percent of the vote, with 10,762 votes compared to Gov. Dannel Malloy's tally of 9,771.
There were two exceptions on an evening rife with machine mishaps, malfunctions and delays -- Democrat Jim Himes prevailed in the local tally as he won re-election in the 4th Congressional District and Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey beat GOP challenger Carol Way for the vacant 133rd House District seat.
A packed GOP election night gathering at the Flipside restaurant reacted with cheers when state Rep. Tony Hwang stepped up to the podium after receiving a call from Democratic state Rep. Kim Fawcett as she conceded the race in the 28th Senate District.
With District 1 still not fully counted because of voting machine problems, Hwang received 11,612 votes to Fawcett's 8,840 in Fairfield, and based on unofficial totals, appears to have handily won the seat in a district that includes parts of Westport, Easton, Weston and Newtown.
"I'm proud to be part of this community," Hwang said, standing with wife, Grace, and son, Peter. He said his victory is evidence that the voters want a positive campaign. "Fairfield is truly lucky to have such a strong team," he said.
The senate seat opened up when Republican John McKinney opted, unsuccessfully, to campaign for the GOP nomination for governor earlier this year.
"I'm speechless," Hwang said.
Based on other unofficial results, it appeared that state Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-132, will return to Hartford with Hwang, along with Laura Devlin, an RTM member who beat challenger Tara Cook-Littman in the 134th, the seat that had been held by Hwang. Devlin was leading her opponent 2, 501 to 2,095.
"I've worked hard to listen and learn from the people of Fairfield and Southport," Kupchick said. "I'm very grateful that I've earned their trust to continue to represent the town I grew up in the Connecticut General Assembly. This job means so much to me."
The results show Kupchick outpolling her opponent Kevin Coyner, 5,532 to 3,355.
GOP Town Chairman James Millington attributed his party's success in town to the candidates. "In the years I've been involved in politics, I've never worked with a more dedicated group of candidates," he said. "They worked their hearts out. I couldn't be more proud of them. They stayed 100 percent positive in everything they sent out."
Vahey's vote totals show her winning handily over Way, a member of the Representative Town Meeting, by 4,579 votes to 2,698.
Whether their candidates were winning or losing, the night proved frustrating for both parties, as they waited for results that were delayed in District 1 by a scanner that conked out, and in other districts by misfed ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots. In past years, absentee ballots were counted in one central location, but this election the absentee ballots were delivered to their respective districts to be fed into the scanners.
Democratic Town Commitee Chairman Heather Dean urged patience when she announced, sometime after 9 p.m., that it looked like it would be several hours before results would be known. Dean said they had contacted state officials regarding the problems and they would be investigating.