Recount pending in Kupchick's 13-vote win over Drew
Brenda Kupchick's razor-thin 13-vote margin of victory of state Rep. Tom Drew in the 132nd House District is subject to a recount, which Fairfield election officials said Wednesday will take place next Tuesday.
If the results stand, Kupchick, a Republican member of the Representative Town Meeting, will have scored the one upset among Fairfield's legislative races on Tuesday's ballot.
All of the other local incumbents were re-elected.
Officials in the Registrars of Voters office set the recount for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Fairfield Senior Center, a process that is open to the public to monitor. A recount had been in the works since late Tuesday night when initial returns indicated Kupchick may have unseated the two-term Democrat by 15 votes. That count was later revised to a 13-vote margin of 4,383 for Kupchick to 4,370 for Drew,
The recount must take place within five business days of the vote on Nov. 2.
The winners in Fairfield's other races include: state rep. Kim Fawcett, a Democrat who won re-election in the 133rd District over Republican DeeDee Brandt; state Rep. Tony Hwang, a Republican elected to a second term in the 134th District over Democrat Michael Murren; state Sen. John McKinney, leader of the Senate Republicans, easily re-elected over Democrat Mitch Fuchs in the 28th District, and Probate Judge Daniel Caruso, a Republican, also triumphed handily.
Kupchick, a former Board of Education member, speaking to supporters Tuesday night after it appeared she had squeaked by to victory, said she was "overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to support me."
Her father, Len Benton, was at her side. "I feel like a proud dad," he said. "I'm 73 years old. I'm glad I'm a pretty healthy guy and was able to be there for my daughter when she needed me."
Kupchick thanked everyone from her father to former 4th District U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, for whom she worked as a constituent services representative seven years and who was there to support her.
But Dad wasn't the only parent who helped out. Kupchick said her mother, Geri, often made home-cooked meals for her campaign helpers so they wouldn't have to eat take-out food every night.
Kupchick said she will celebrate her victory by not getting up at the crack of dawn Wednesday and, later in the day, she'll sit by her fireplace and spend some time with her husband.
At Fairfield Democrats' headquarters, Drew would not comment on the results. And, as of 10:30 p.m., he had not conceded.
While the mood was somber for Drew, fellow Democrat Fawcett celebrated her re-election in the 133rd District, which also includes part of Westport, beating Republican challenger by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent in what perhaps the hardest-fought local race this fall.
Smiling broadly, Fawcett ran to call her parents and family to tell them her good news.
After a grueling, at times tenacious campaign for the 133rd District seat, which Fawcett has held for two terms, Fawcett said she was completely exhausted, but thrilled.
"It is real bittersweet tonight, the results are coming in and some of my colleagues lost, some really good people lost," Fawcett said. "It's really hard to celebrate while I'm feeling sad for them."
Shifting her focus, she added, "I think there is a really high bar that has been set for me, for us to work harder and smarter. And they need us to do a good job and I am going to pour my heart into the next two years."
Fawcett and her fellow state representatives face a $3.5 billion budget deficit and other economic issues that were debated fiercely by candidates throughout the campaign. Of this, she said, "I will do the same thing that I have been saying throughout the campaign, we need to spend less money."
"We have to spend our money smarter and I am going to be a fiscal conservative voice consistently for the next two years," she added.
Fawcett's opponent, Brandt, held her head high after the defeat. "We ran a campaign in a most civil manner and it has been one we will always be able to say it was done with honor," she said.
In other local election results, McKinney of Fairfield, the leader of the Senate's Republican minority, retained his seat representing the multi-town 28th District, easily triumphing over Democrat Mitchell Fuchs.
Republican Hwang celebrated victory as well, topping Murren in their race for state representative in the 134th District, which includes parts of Fairfield and Trumbull.
And incumbent Republican Probate Judge Daniel Caruso coasted to victory over Democratic challenger Pamela Jones.
Hwang, who criticized what he called Murren's negative campaign literature, said, "Voters are tired of personal attacking campaigns and if we conduct ourselves in a manner that shows respect to the voters and the office that we hold, our political process would be a far more productive one."