In Connecticut, will the real Governor-elect please step forward?

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November 4, 2010

  By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

Hartford, CONNECTICUT:For those of you who found the 2000 Presidential recount fun, the coming days (or weeks) could be just the thing for you. The Connecticut gubernatorial race to succeed Jodi Rell, who declined to run for re-election, has been called, un-called, confirmed, and challenged all in just under 36 hours.

Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley were battling for the office and Malloy had enjoyed a polling lead. In the closing days of the race, Foley began making up ground and was behind his opponent by a mere two points going into Election Day. In terms of the statistics used in a political model, that's a dead heat.

We predicted the race would go the Dems but also forecast a very tight race and a possible upset for the Republicans. Initially, the race looked favorable for Malloy and Fox News called it just past 11 pm, EST, on November 2nd. As the night wore on, newly reporting polls erased Malloy's lead and put Foley ahead by a significant margin. The Washington Post's race tracker checked off the race as a win for the Democrat, something that never got corrected even as Foley pulled ahead.[1]

At the end of the day, however, the state is in charge of the official numbers. Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz confirmed Malloy as the winner shortly after 11 am EST on November 3rd. Foley immediately protested and refused to condede.[2]

In announcing Malloy as the winner, Bysiewicz noted that he led by about 3,1000 votes out of 1.1 million ballots cast, giving him a 0.31% edge. Foley says his internal count shows the lead is even smaller - approximately 2,000 votes. Late yesterday evening, the Associated Press has withdrawn its calling of the race, made on the basis of Secretary Bysiewicz's announcement. Precincts have continued to report during the day Wednesday and the change in vote totals has been very friendly to Foley.

With 98.5% of the state reporting, Tom Foley is now ahead by 8,424 votes.[3]

Possible outcomes now could include a recount as well as court action. Either would take weeks. Foley, in addition to contesting the official outcome, is publicly speaking out against a mishap in Bridgeport, where the precincts ran out of ballots and were allowed to stay open until 10 pm, long after polls legally should have closed, in order to receive new ballots and correct the mistake.[4]

Both candidates are taking this very seriously. Connecticut now has not one but two gubernatorial transition committees, with Foley announcing, "We're going to have to start getting ready in case we're confirmed to be the winner," and Malloy countering, "We're going to get ready for this administration that takes office on Jan. 5."[5] Malloy has gone one step further and announced his gubernatorial picks for a few key appointed positions.

The Connecticut Secretary of State has until November 25, 2010 to make an official certification.



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