By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s top election official said Thursday she did not have the final vote totals yet in the disputed governor’s race because of a delay in the state’s largest city.
Both Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley have claimed victory in Tuesday’s closely contested election.
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz had intended to announce the final unofficial tally Thursday afternoon.
Instead, she said she still had not received the final count from Bridgeport, which was due by 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We don’t when we’re going to receive their numbers,” Bysiewicz said.
Relying on a combination of unofficial returns from cities and towns and unofficial tallies she received over the phone, Bysiewicz announced Wednesday that Malloy had defeated Foley by more than 3,000 votes out of more than 1.1 million cast.
Unofficial results posted on the secretary of the state’s website from 168 of 169 cities and towns show Foley with 556,787 votes on the Republican line, Malloy with 548,378 from the Democratic and Working Families Party lines; and Independent Tom Marsh with 17,543 votes. The list does not include vote tallies from Bridgeport, which was expected to tilt strongly in favor of Malloy.
Sandi Ayala, the Democratic registrar of voters in Bridgeport, said Thursday that the vote-counting is done, but she declined to release the tallies and wouldn’t say why the results haven’t been given to Bysiewicz.
Malloy said Wednesday that his numbers show he won by at least 11,000 votes, while Foley said his numbers showed him winning by just under 2,000 votes.
Dan Kelly, Malloy’s campaign manager, remained confident that Malloy will ultimately be elected the first Democratic governor of Connecticut since William O’Neill left office in 1991.
“Since early Wednesday morning we have said we’re 100 percent confident that when the final vote is certified, Dan Malloy will be declared the winner by a margin comfortably outside what is necessary to trigger a recount,” Kelly said. “Nothing that’s happened since has changed that.”
Foley said Thursday afternoon that he still believed he had won.
“Until we have final numbers from the towns that are not going to be amended, I don’t think anybody should be calling the race,” he said. “I think everybody should stand back and focus on getting accurate numbers. We believe that after all the votes are accurately tabulated that we will have won.”
Voting problems in Bridgeport have become a major issue. A ballot shortage Tuesday led to long lines and reports of voters leaving polling places without voting. Because of the problems, a state judge ordered a dozen polling places in the city to remain open until 10 p.m., two hours after polls closed elsewhere.
Bridgeport elections officials gave some voters photocopied ballots and counted those by hand instead of running them through optical-scan machines.
Republicans voiced concerns about the photocopied ballots and the extended voting hours and criticized
Bysiewicz for declaring Malloy the winner based on unofficial vote totals. But the GOP hasn’t filed any formal complaints yet, state GOP Chairman Chris Healy said.
Both Foley and Malloy began forming transition teams Wednesday in anticipation of becoming Connecticut’s 88th governor, succeeding retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Foley had asked Bysiewicz on Thursday to not release any more vote totals until tally discrepancies are sorted out.
“In the last 24 hours alone, Bridgeport has revised downward the number of votes cast for Dan Malloy by over 3,500,” Foley campaign spokesman Justin Clark said in a statement. “Other cities and towns are likely to revise their results in the days ahead.”
But Bysiewicz spokesman Av Harris said she would be announcing the official results anyway, because that’s what the secretary of the state does after every election once vote counts from all cities and towns are in.
The race won’t be official certified until Nov. 25.
Associated Press Writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)