Voter turnout surges to 72 percent in town
FAIRFIELD — Election Day didn’t change who Fairfield is sending to Hartford, as all of the incumbents won re-election. What did change was the turnout.
Results showed that Fairfield residents voted at near-presidential election rates on Tuesday. Of the 38,293 registered voters, 27,607 votes were tallied — a 72 percent turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, Fairfield had 79 percent turnout out of 40,579 registered voters. In comparison, Fairfield won the Democracy Challenge Cup for a 2014 gubernatorial election turnout of 56.96 percent, and turnout was at 62 percent in 2010.
By early evening Tuesday, all 10 districts had surpassed a 50 percent turnout, with several going over the 70 percent mark. District 4, which votes at Stratfield School, garnered the top spot with 76.4 percent of its 3,974 registered voters going to the polls. The lowest turnout was 61 percent in Holland Hill, District 7. There, 1,808 voters cast ballots, out of the 2,963 registered voters.
“I hope this year sets a trend for the years ahead,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said. “I want to thank all the voters in our town for getting to the polls and making their voices heard. I am proud of our town.”
Tetreau said he believes there is nothing better for the community or the country than a large turnout on Election Day. “This is the true voice of the people,” he said. “In the year of the woman, women made a very loud and strong statement becoming candidates for elected office, and by voting in record numbers.”
Republican Town Committee Chairman James Millington attributed the record turnout to voters looking to send a message.
“I spent a lot of time talking to people at the polls,” Millington said. “There was a large group of voters who voted Democrat for the first time to send a message to Washington.”
To those voters, Millington said, he’s heard their message and will convey it. “Going forward, we need to focus on Connecticut and Fairfield,” he said.
“In Fairfield, throughout Connecticut, and across the country, yesterday’s tremendous voter turnout was about standing up to the assaults this Republican administration has made on our democracy,” Millington’s Democratic counterpart, Steve Sheinberg, said. “Winning the majority in the House is an important step toward the checks needed to stop the Trump administration’s abuse of power, and is a sign of changes to come in 2020.”
The local results left Sheinberg a bit disappointed, however.
“Locally, we’re, of course, disappointed not to have won the seats in the 132nd and 134th House districts or the 28th Senate district,” he said, but proud of the campaigns run by Pereira, Gaudiano and McCabe. “We know this is just the beginning for all of them,” Sheinberg said.
At the ballot box, Fairfield voters sent state Sen. Tony Hwang, R-28, state Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-132, state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-133, and state Rep. Laura Devlin, R-134, back to Hartford.
“Despite the ‘blue wave’ in Connecticut, the Fairfield Republican candidates earned their victories through a proven record of accomplishments and results,” Millington said. “The Democrats remain in control of the state and I hope and pray that they will listen to our Republican elected officials’ ideas and work together to get Connecticut back on track.”
While Democrat Michelle McCabe, a newcomer to local politics, came close to Hwang in Fairfield, it was voters in Newtown and Easton that put the incumbent over the top. McCabe was able to win the race in Westport and Weston. In total, Hwang received 25,128 votes compared to McCabe’s 23,142 votes.
“Voter turnout is a great reflection of political engagement, and on Tuesday, the people of 28th Senate District clearly showed that they are both interested and insist on being heard,” Hwang said. “The reality is that the challenges in front of us are massive. We do not have the luxury of a ‘wait and see’ attitude.”
Hwang said he hopes the state and its residents are “able to bridge any divide that slides between us, and work collaboratively to implement viable solutions.”
The lone Democrat in the town’s state delegation, Vahey easily won re-election to another term, besting Republican challenger Sally Connolly by a vote of 6,068 to 3,436. On election night, Connolly said she had been reluctant to run, and knew it would be a battle to try and oust a popular incumbent.
Devlin had the closest race in Fairfield, beating Democratic challenger Ashley Gaudiano by just 488 votes. The 134th district includes parts of Fairfield and Trumbull. In Fairfield, Devlin outpolled Gaudiano 3,177 to 2,765. In Trumbull, Gaudiano’s hometown, Gaudiano received 2,471 votes while Devlin garnered 2,547 votes.