Kupchick squeaks by Drew in 132nd race; recount Tuesday
Published 5:02 pm, Thursday, November 4, 2010
Having pulled off what appears to be Tuesday's lone election upset in Fairfield by the slimmest of margins, Brenda Kupchick showered supporters with thanks as local Republicans gathered at the Fairfield Cafe to await returns in the mid-term balloting.
As of Thursday, officials in the Fairfield Registrars of Voters Office said Kupchick had 14 more votes than her Democratic opponent, state Rep. Tom Drew, in the 132nd House District. On Tuesday night, the tally initially was 15 votes in Kupchick's favor, but that number was later adjusted to a 13-vote margin until officials found an uncounted absentee that produced the 14-vote difference.
If the numbers are upheld by a recount next week, Drew will be the only Fairfield incumbent to be defeated Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at Fairfield Democrats' headquarters Tuesday night, Drew poured over voting returns and absentee ballot numbers, while his supporters tried to figure out how the recount process works in Fairfield.
The Republican's small margin of victory -- 4,384 to 4,370 -- automatically triggered a recount, which will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the town's Senior Center, 100 Mona Terrace.
The 132nd State Assembly District includes five Fairfield voting districts (all of Districts 1, 8 and 10, along with parts of 5 and 6).
Drew was victorious in all but District 1, the largest district, which he lost 1,312 votes to 1,085. He took District 5 (476-438), District 6 (455-434), District 8 (1,179-1,177) and District 10 (1,175-1,023).
Kupchick, a Representative Town Meeting member from District 5, said she thinks the "campaign went really well. I had a huge group of friends and family who were my supporters. It was a good, positive experience."
However, she is disappointed the recount won't take place until Tuesday. "It would have been nicer to have it done," she said. "But I'm looking forward to confirmation or information, either way."
A former Board of Education member, Kupchick said, if her election is upheld, she hopes that she can continue to be a strong voice for the people of Fairfield in Hartford, as she said she has tried to be on the local level for years. She plans to focus on jobs, which she said is the top priority for the state.
"Sometimes people forget that," Kupchick said. "It also shows how popular Tom is."
Kupchick said she did not focus her campaign in criticizing Drew, but against the super-majority held by Democrat legislators at the Capitol. "He is a nice person," she said, referring to the time that she and Drew served together on the RTM. But, she added, that he and fellow Democrats have not listened to what people are saying.
Drew could not be reached for comment Thursday and chose not to comment Election Night on his apparent defeat.
Kupchick said that her main reason for seeking the seat was "because of the imbalance" in power between the political parties in Hartford. Even if Kupchick's victory in not upheld, the Democrats lost their legislative super-majority after suffering other electoral defeats across the state Tuesday.
Drew had hoped his legislative record would have drawn sufficient voter support to ensure his re-election.
Heading into the election, Kupchick and Drew debated at the League of Women Voters debate at the Fairfield Library. At that forum, Drew emphasized his moderate voting record and efforts to promote a bipartisan approach to governing.
"I don't care what political party you are in. I care what your ideas are and that you are on the side of regular people," he said at the debate, touting his effort to establish a network of moderate Democrats. "I made a promise I would act with independence and bipartisanship, and I walked the walk on my very first day," he said.