Connecticut Primary Roundup - Dean, Merrill sweep

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August 11, 2010

By Joseph Kastner

HARTFORD, Connecticut: On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, the voters of Connecticut went to the polls to select who (on the Republican side) would face off against George C. Jepsen in the race for state attorney general and who (in the Democratic contest) would move on to battle Jerry Farrell in the secretary of state contest.

All the drama surrounding the state attorney general campaign as result of the controversies involving Richard Blumenthal and Susan Bysiewicz withstanding, the last few weeks of the primary race have been interesting to say the least. Despite primary challenger Martha Dean receiving the endorsement of the statewide party, Ross Garber, brother-in-law to Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, received enough support at the party convention to force an election.[1]

The competition between the two Republican candidates was very heated, so much so that at one point Dean threatened Garber with a defamation suit unless he retracted "statements made about her stance on decriminalizing drugs," specifically cocaine and heroin.[2] And then, just two days before the state primary election, Malcolm McGough, campaign manager and husband of Republican Attorney General candidate Martha Dean, was arrested and charged with breach of the peace following a tense altercation with Betty Fiora, a resident of Canton. Fiora called police contending that McGough "shoved her and took signs from her hands after an altercation about signs on her Albany Turnpike property."[3] She insists that she was removing the signs because they had been placed there without her permission. McGough, who was driving in the area, pulled over and confronted Fiora about she was doing. Another witness to incident said that while there was no shoving, McGough did remove the signs from Fiora's hand with some force.[4]

Regardless of these tensions, Dean easily secured the Republican nomination with slightly over sixty percent of the vote.

2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary[5]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Martha Dean (R) 60.2%
Ross Garber (R) 39.8%
Total votes 112,208

In the race to secure the Democratic nomination for secretary of state, former alderman Gerry Garcia seemed to be fighting an uphill battle against his primary opponent, Denise Merrill, a state representative and state house majority leader. Despite having a slight advantage in terms of campaign finances, Garcia lacked the prominent political support of Merrill, who received the endorsement the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the Connecticut Education Association, SEIU, and the Working Families Party, just to name a few. This bore out in the election results as Merrill was able to easily sweep Garcia and snatch the Democratic nomination.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary[6]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Denise Merrill (D) 62.8%
Gerry Garcia (D) 37.2%
Total votes 170,047

See also

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References