A Smashing Night for Democrats in Connecticut


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CT Examiner’s blow by blow election coverage from 6:00 a.m. until midnight.

HARTFORD — With the crowd exclaiming “four more years!” Gov. Ned Lamont declared victory in his bid for re-election and thanked his family, campaign workers and voters.

At about 11:30 p.m., Lamont had received about 52.3 percent of the vote according to the New York Times, and Republican Bob Stefanowski had received about 46.5 percent, with 37 percent of the votes counted. 

Stefanowski has not conceded the race.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz introduced Lamont, saying that his administration had brought the state safely through the Covid pandemic, protected women’s reproductive rights, and worked in a bipartisan manner to pass budgets 

Lamont said that thousands of people had moved into the state in the last four years, which is strengthening the state economy. “They love Connecticut,” he said. 

He said that with the end of the campaign, his supporters wouldn’t have to hear “any more stump speeches from Ned Lamont,” which made the audience laugh. 

He said he’s looking forward to another four years in office and thanked the cheering crowd for their support.

“We’ve been waiting for the right answer, and we’re gonna have to wait just a little bit longer,” said Stefanowski, standing beside running mate Laura Devlin. (CT Examiner)

TRUMBULL – Republican candidate for governor, Bob Stefanowski closed out the the evening, saying he was doing better than polls let on.

“We’ve been waiting for the right answer, and we’re gonna have to wait just a little bit longer,” said Stefanowski, standing beside running mate Laura Devlin.

Stefanowski said there were still 100 towns outstanding, and they would wait and see the race to the finish.

“We’re gonna win this race overnight,” said Stefanowski.

“So good night for tonight,” Stefanowski said. “We’re gonna see you all tomorrow morning.”

WATERBURY —- “The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

These were Jahana Hayes’ first words in a speech she made to her supporters a little before midnight — a speech that she said was not a declaration of victory.

As of 12:20 a.m. the New York Times reported that George Logan was in a narrow lead with 50.16% of the vote, compared to Hayes’ 49.84%. Cities like Cheshire, Meriden, New Milford and Waterbury have still not reported their numbers.

But Hayes said although the race was still too close to call, she was still feeling “a certain type of way.”

She also thanked her supporters for all their hard work.

“For 19 months, my character, my integrity … my humanity, my reputation, my family, my record, my children were attacked in this race,” she said. “And I stayed above the fray, because I knew that my record was enough. And I’m waiting patiently. I’m waiting patiently for however long it takes to count every single vote.” 

OLD LYME — Democratic challenger Joseph Colin Heffernan has conceded the race for District 23 State Representative to Republican incumbent Sate Rep. Devin Carney.

“Victory feels great,” Rep. Carney said. “…feels great knowing that the hard work I put in the last eight years was seen at the ballot box.”

Carney said he hopes to continue serving on the finance, transportation and education committees. In the next legislative session, he plans to focus on the economy, affordability, transportation infrastructure, public safety and energy policy.

Maria Rosa (L) and Romaiah Watson (R) pose at an election watch party for Rep. Jahana Hayes in Waterbury. (CT Examiner)

WATERBURY — Music is blasting at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, where Jahana Hayes’ supporters are watching and waiting as the election numbers come in.

Darrel Dublin, a police officer who worked with Hayes’ husband for 25 years, said he felt she’s been a very strong supporter of law enforcement.

“I think Jahana’s a beautiful person,” he said.

State trooper Jamie Sanders agreed. He said that when he was hit by a drunk driver, Hayes wrote a letter for him. He added that law enforcement really needed the additional support right now, especially with the recent tragedy in Bristol.

Sitting outside the large conference room, Hayes’ younger cousin, Romaiah Watson, said that Hayes was a role model for her. She said she was amazed by Hayes’ growth — going from a teacher to becoming a member of U.S. Congress.

“I’ve always looked up to her, growing up,” she said. “That’s why I’m going to college.”

Watson, who is 18, is in her first year at Central Connecticut State University, and said she’s considering studying journalism.

Watson’s best friend, Maria Rosa, also an 18-year-old freshman at CCSU, said she also supports Hayes.

“She’s very smart. I like her views on everything,” said Rosa. “She’s well-spoken.”
Both women said the most important issue for them in the election was abortion.

“It’s your body, it’s your choice,” said Watson.

Fox has reported Hayes in the lead with 52% of the vote, while Logan has 48%. As of 11:30 p.m., the New York Times had Hayes with 51.9% of the vote, and Logan with 48.1%, with 38% of districts reporting. The race is still too close to call. 

NY Times now has Hayes at 50.9% to Logan at 49.1% as of 11:43 p.m. 

HARTFORD — At about 10:35 p.m., Attorney General William Tong claimed victory in his race for re-election with 54 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times.

Tong said he had received a gracious concession phone call from Republican contender Jessica Kordas, who earned 45 percent of the vote.  

As he stood on the stage with his wife, Elizabeth Tong, son, Sasha, and his parents and sister, Tong said Connecticut was “confident, affirmative and strong.”

“That is who we are and that is who we must be not just for ourselves but for the rest of our country,” he said. “I think we all know it’s going to be a tough night in America. Outside of Connecticut, America is under attack from within.”

Tong said that extremists are undermining elections and making false allegations of fraud and attacking the integrity of the vote as well as stamping out the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

He said that the fall of Roe v. Wade is not the end of this fight, “it is just the beginning.”

“They will try to pass a national federal ban on abortion —  and if they do, Connecticut will be the first to file a lawsuit,” he said. 

Leora Levy told a crowd of supporters that she had called Sen. Richard Blumenthal to concede, and wish him good luck (CT Examiner)

TRUMBULL – Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Leora Levy said she called Sen. Richard Blumenthal and congratulated him on his victory after the Associated Press called the election.

“While we have very different visions for America as well as different opinions on policy, I wish him well in the next six years,” Levy told attendees at the Republican election night party.

Levy thanked Republican Party members for their tremendous support. She said meeting voters and hearing their stories was one of the greatest honors of her life.

“I will not stop fighting for you,” said Levy as the crowd clapped. “I will not stop fighting for our state, for our freedom and for our great country.”

Levy said that while her campaign had come to an end, the party would continue to fight for a prosperous, safer America.

Supporters of Rep. Jahana Hayes, a Democrat, wait for the election results on Tuesday night in Waterbury (CT Examiner)
A live band entertained the crowd at the Lamont after party (CT Examiner)

STAMFORD — Susan Vogel, a communications volunteer for Rachel Khanna who is running the unseat State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello, said she saw an older woman struggling to make it into the polls at Dolan Middle School. The woman was about five feet tall, “impeccably dressed,” according Vogel, in a nice suit jacket, and clinging to a metal fence.

Vogel went to help the woman. “I just need to rest,” the woman told Vogel. “I am going to vote.”

According to Vogel, the woman explained she was 96 years old and had attended Dolan as part of its first class of middle school students. Now, she’s sick and wasn’t sure if she would see another election cycle.

“She was determined to get there. And when I think of all of the people who could easily get to a polling location and cast a vote, and this woman got herself up and dressed and to the polls because she desperately wanted to cast her vote on Election Day, it was nothing short of awe inspiring I wish more people would take her lead.”

When the woman left, she stopped and told Vogel, “Thank you for your help.”

“What do you say to that?” Vogel said. “I said thank you for being a voter.”

Though Vogel did not want to comment on voter turnout without seeing the official numbers, she said she saw a steady stream of voters throughout the day. —Emily Carmichael

Supporters of George Logan wait in the ballroom of a Waterbury country club on Tuesday night (CT Examiner)

At the Democrats’ election night party, television cameras were lined up and ready to go (CT Examiner)

Stefanowski chats with guests at the crowded GOP election night event (CT Examiner)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal shakes hands with Sen. Chris Murphy at the Dunkin Donuts stadium after the Associated Press called Blumenthal’s victory (CT Examiner)

HARTFORD — Sen. Richard Blumenthal claimed victory over Republican challenger Leora Levy at the Dunkin Donuts stadium Tuesday night at about 8:45. 

Blumenthal, who earned 56.5 percent of the vote according to the A.P., appeared with his wife, Cynthia.

“To all the people who voted for me and all the people who didn’t vote for me, I am going to continue to fight tirelessly, relentlessly against special interests no matter how big and powerful. All too often those special interests get their way – my motto has been always to stand up [to] them and it has never been more important than now.” 

Blumenthal said “so much is at stake” including women’s reproductive rights, protecting social security and medicare, and cutting inflation. 

“I also think we need to bring the country together,” he said. “We need to make sure that we put Connecticut first and American first, reaching across the aisle when possible, but when the fight comes, I will be there for you and the fight will be coming. It will be more difficult now than before but we need to stand together and I will stand with you to fight for the people of Connecticut.”

SOUTHINGTON/WALLINGFORD/CHESIRE — Randy Raines, Republican candidate for state representative, said turnout was low in the 103rd House District. “When I voted there was nobody there, so I’m kind of concerned, not so much for my own candidacy, but for our democracy and everything that we stand for because we all depend people turning out to vote.”

For his part, Raines spent his day at the batting cages with his grandkids and was on his way to his granddaughter’s volleyball tournament by 5:45 p.m..

“They kind of threw me into this at the last minute.” Raines said of his candidacy. “I’ve been bitching about politicians all of my adult life and … you either got to put up or shut up and I really feel that’s why I’m in [this race]. If the people don’t elect me, my life won’t end.”

He does “feel like he has something to bring to the table.” During his campaign, Raines spoke to liberals and found they agreed on many things, even if they used different logic to get there. “Term limits, we agreed on that. The cost of living is too high, we agreed on that.”

He said “it would be almost relief” if he didn’t win because he’s not sure how much the political establishment will like some of his ideas, especially his desire to put term limit on congressional positions.

The Associated Press calls the senate race for incumbent Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski spoke to reporters at his election night watch party (CT Examiner)

TRUMBULL – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski told the press at his election night watch party that if he won the race, it would be due to a lack of awareness by Gov. Ned Lamont.

Stefanowski said he didn’t think Lamont was ignoring people, but Stefanowski said he knew what it was like to struggle. 

“I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. I know what it’s like to buy a used car rather than a new car,” Stefanowski explained. “I feel for people.”

Stefanowski also attributed his possible win to his opposition to sex education for children, support for police officers and his fight for affordability.

“And if you lose?” asked a reporter.

“We’re not gonna lose,” Stefanowski replied.

He said Connecticut has had 12 years of a Democratic governor, and people want a change in direction.

“The best way to do that is to change governors. At least try something different,” Stefanowski said. “You may not agree with everything I have to say, but shouldn’t we certainly at least try something different?”

Stefanowski said he thought Connecticut would see that change in some of the election results tonight.

Asked what he felt was different from 2018 – the last time he ran – to now, Stefanowski said voters were less happy with the current situation. He said he didn’t think anyone believed that the state was safer, infrastructure was better, parental control was improved or education was better than it was four years ago.

FAIRFIELD/RIDGEFIELD — Spirits are high in both the State Rep. Aimee Berger-Girvalo and Robert Hebert campaigns, each gunning for state representative for the 111th District.

Both campaign managers said they were impressed with a high voter turnout and both said they spoke to voters who decided to vote for a new party.

“A lot of Republican women coming up to us and making it clear that … the fall of Roe was a huge reason for why they are going to be voting for Democrats,” said Sean O’Neil, who manages the campaign for State Rep. Berger-Girvalo. “It was pleasantly unexpected for so many folks to come and let us know that.

Likewise, Hebert’s campaign manager Krystina Wanta said, “There are people who have expressed their disgust at what is happening in the state, in the town, and they are definitely switching over [from Democrat to Republican] … We’ve had a bunch of people coming up to our table telling us that.” — Emily Carmichael

Lauren Gray, campaign manager for Timothy Gavin, Democratic candidate for State Senate District 28 — Fairfield, Easton, Newtown, and Bethel:

Turnout is very steady and with absentee ballot numbers, things are looking good. Voters have been very enthusiastic at the polls today! 

TRUMBULL — Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox, manager of the Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox campaign for state representative, spent part of his day replacing stolen lawn signs. “There’s a sort of perpetual issue with lawn signs in Trumbull,” he said, and it’s something both parties participate in. “We had a lot of ours we had to replace.” 

Wynn’s been doing this kind of work for his wife, Sujata, since 2018, when he said her political journey started, and is leaving this day proud. Though working as a husband-and-wife team can be hard for some, Wynn said its brought he and his wife closer. He shared memories of them cracking up laughing tougher while trying to film campaign videos. “We do everything together, so it’s nice to have this as part of that as well.”

Trumbull’s turnout has been fairly good, with an unexpected amount of mid-day voting according to Wynn.  — Emily Carmichael

Chris Prue, President of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut:

“Ballots in every Connecticut polling location remain secure at all times. And in the event a tabulator is malfunctioning, there are strict procedures in place that ensure every ballot is counted and results are reported accurately and in accordance with Connecticut election law.”

RIDGEFIELD — With about an hour left to cast their vote people are still coming out to the polls. The turnout has been “very good” according to State Rep. Kenneth Gucker, a Democrat. “The energy is that [voters] want to make their voices heard,” he said. “I am hoping once this over people accept the decision of the people, that we won’t have problems down the road.”

Paul Crisci, the Republican candidate challenging incumbent State Sen. Christine Cohen, stood outside of the polls as it grew dark (CT Examiner)

GUILFORD/BRANFORD — Madison to Branford to Guilford to Durham to Killingworth….

Paul Crisci, Republican candidate for State Senate, told CT Examiner he’s been running all over since the morning.

Incumbent State Sen. Christine Cohen, Crisci’s opponent, had a similar day — she said she’d gone to 15 of her district’s 20 polling sites.

Crisci, who spoke to CT Examiner at Leete Elementary School in Guilford, said that, across the board, people were “very, very nice.”

He described a conversation that he had with a woman at the Firehouse in Guilford earlier that day. The woman, he said, was holding a sign in support of Christine Cohen, and asked to talk to him. He said they had a conversation that “cleared the air” about some of the issues.

“That’s what it’s supposed to be about,” said Crisci, adding that he appreciated the ability to have a “civilized,” cordial conversation about his position. “It just made my day.”

Both Crisci and Cohen said they’d heard voters raise concerns about the economy. Cohen said voters wanted to make sure there was fiscal responsibility going forward. She said she believed voters both recognized the work the state had done to create affordability for residents and were asking the state to do more.

State Sen. Christine Cohen, a Democrat, stood outside of a polling place in Branford holding a campaign sign (CT Examiner)

“[Voters are saying] ‘Yes, we’re really appreciative of what’s been done thus far. Let’s keep going,’” Cohen said.

Cohen said she’d also heard a lot of people concerned about abortion and reproductive rights.

“That people are glad they live in CT … that they feel protected and safe,” she said. “We’ve done a lot to safeguard reproductive rights.”

Crisci said another issue important to him had been to help “fix” the Republican party, which he said had “a lot of flaws.”

“The divisiveness that has come over the last six years has to stop,” he said “Win, lose or draw, I think I ran a clean campaign.”

Cohen said she appreciated the opportunity to have further conversations with people at the polls – people she might not have had the opportunity to talk to during the campaign.  

“Turnout’s been amazing all day,” she said. “The energy’s been really positive.”  — Emilia Otte

STAMFORD — According to a Stamford registrar and the town clerk, 38.7 percent of Stamford voters had cast ballots by 3:00 p.m. after nine hours of voting, with five hours to go. 

The percentage includes 4,932 absentee ballots that had been counted as of that time.

“It’s been pretty steady,” Stamford Republican Registrar of Voters Lucy Corelli said. “At times, kind of heavy.”

If the pace of voting holds steady, that would put Stamford at about 60 percent voter turnout by the time polls close at 8 p.m. — Angela Carella

Democratic State Rep. Jaime Foster, who represents East Windsor and Ellington, said the recent redistricting caused some confusion in Vernon, with some voters not sure of their polling locations and causing long lines. Overall Foster said the turnout was slightly higher than she expected. “The voter turn out is good for democracy, so it makes me happy,” she said. 

Kathleen Herbert, treasurer for Susanne Witkowski, Republican candidate for State Senate District 29:

Turnout has been huge, really good turnout. Much greater than we expected for a midterm. Obviously don’t know how the vote is going, but it’s a much bigger turnout than we expected. I was down at the town hall in Grosvernorsdale and there were lines waiting, and that’s really unheard of other than a Presidential election. I touched base with Susanne and she said she’s been down to all the polls and it was quite a big turnout for a midterm election. Of course we are voting on the governor. But she said she felt encouraged because she was getting a lot of positive thumbs-up at all the polls.

Aimee Berger-Girvalo stands at the polls with here family (CT Examiner)

RIDGEFIELD – Standing separately along a sidewalk leading to East Ridge Middle School, both candidates for 111th District State Representative – Democratic Incumbent Aimee Berger-Girvalo and Bob Hebert – told CT Examiner they were encouraged by voter turnout.

In 2020, Berger-Girvalo beat out Hebert by a slim margin, and the two were back for a second round. Berger-Girvalo said she thought turnout was considerable because there was “so much on the line,” including democracy itself.

“There are folks who are very worried about democracy, they’re worried about reproductive freedom, the climate, and they’re most worried about affordability,” Berger-Girvalo said.

She said that most Ridgefield voters were worried about more than one issue and are not given enough credit. She added that most issues, such as affordability and the climate, often walk hand-in-hand.

Berger-Girvalo said that she’d seen a lot of people voting outside of their party on election day.

“So many women, in particular, who are registered Republicans have made it very clear that they cannot, in good conscience, vote for a Republican right now,” Berger-Girvalo said.

As day turned to night, Bob Hebert stood at the polls with his family (CT Examiner)

Hebert told CT Examiner that he also had voters from the other party approach him that day. He said numerous Democrats tell him that they need to see change in the legislature.

“They came up to me and said, ‘my party has gone too far, and we need more balance,’” Hebert said.

He said a voter told Hebert he had just filled up his gas tank today, and it was $1,000. Hebert said the voter recommended that residents go buy their groceries and fill up their gas tanks before they come out to vote on election day.

Hebert said he’d seen a steady flow of voters at polling places across the town, and many offered him words of encouragement. But he said he was unsure how the high turnout would pan out for him.

“Is it going to favor the Democrats? Or is it going to favor the Independents and the Republicans?”

Jake Dunigan, unaffiliated candidate for State House District 41:

Earlier this morning, we had a really steady flow. I’ve been to every polling place in my district today. It was a little slow in Groton City, but that was also a weird time of day, but in the morning it was a good turnout. It was a beautiful day, and I think that probably contributed. It was a steady stream, definitely more than I would have thought, but not exponentially so. And it’s my first race, so there’s not really a baseline to compare it to.

I wanted to say some things, and we’ll see how well those things I was saying were heard. I spent considerably less – orders of magnitude less than my contemporaries, so that’s going to have an effect. My wife and I have talked about how there’s brackets for how I’m going to interpret some of those results, but I’m feeling good. The conversations I’ve had with people were great, and I definitely got at least a few people to think critically about their vote, and if I did that for one person, I didn’t waste my time.

Ian Bond, campaign manager for Robert Boris, Republican candidate for State House District 41:

Turnout has been incredible. We knocked on a lot of doors this year, and the energy and atmosphere today has really mirrored that experience – which is just incredibly positive, bipartisan support for Bob. It’s been really uplifting to say the least.

Chris Rivers,  Democratic candidate for State House District 48:

Turnout is pretty much what we’ve been expecting to see, and we’ll know what the results are soon enough.

Steve Weir, Republican candidate for State House District 55:

The energy is extremely high. I’ve been to all five towns, and if I’m judging by the thumbs up and waves and just the vibe – we won’t know until after 8 p.m., I certainly don’t want to be presumptuous – but it’s been positive. 

Turnout has been very heavy. I’m in Hebron at the moment, and it’s bumper-to-bumper getting in and out of here. I recall seeing that in 2020, but not really in any other election. So the vibe’s good, energy is good, traffic is good, and now all we can do is wait.

John Collins stood outside East Ridge Middle School supporting his wife Jennifer Collins, who is running for Judge of Probate.

RIDGEFIELD – John Collins stood outside East Ridge Middle School, donning a sticker on his knit hat in support of his wife, Judge of Probate candidate Jennifer Collins.

Collins said he’d been camped out in front of the school since 7 this morning. He said he planned to spread his time between the three polling places in town, but steady voter traffic kept him at the school.

“I think people are starting to want to get out of the house and do more,” Collins told CT Examiner. “I feel like it’s just been a constant flow.”

Collins said his wife was not planning to run for Judge of Probate, but was asked to step up when Judge Daniel O’Grady unfortunately passed due to cancer.

Collins said the job was not political in nature, so it had been great for him to speak with voters no matter their affiliations. But still, he said his wife would do a great job if elected.

“She’s done a lot of firsts in her life – first female senior partner at a law firm, and she’s a big community service person,” Collins explained. “So, hopefully it all works out.”

Madison First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons stands at the polls with fellow Democrats as day turns to evening (CT Examiner)

MADISON —  John Rasimas, the Republican candidate for State Representative in Madison, started out his morning voting with the Stefanowskis, then went to Durham and Brown Elementary School before coming out to Polson Intermediate.

“I think this is going to be the toughest district, so I decided to spend the rest of my night here,” he said.

Raismas said he’s lost 35 pounds going from door to door campaigning.

“This suit used to be very tight,” he said, indicating the blue jacket he was wearing.

The biggest issue on voters minds, he said, is the economy. He said they’ve also talked about crime and local zoning — the 8-30g law. Some voters, he said, mentioned their concerns about Roe v. Wade — he said he then informs them that he supports a woman’s right to have an abortion.

A couple passes by, and Rasimas waves.

“Thanks so much!” he says. “I remember you!”

John Rasimas, the Republican candidate for state representative stands outside of the polls with fellow Republicans in Madison (CT Examiner)

At 5 p.m. about 3,500 people had voted, which the moderator at Polson said was consistent with the previous governor’s race in 2018.

Outside the polling place, a couple, Christian and Liz, said that issues like women’s rights and education were important factors in deciding their votes.

“We’d like to keep Connecticut insulated from federal changes,” Christian said.

Christian said he thought Gov. Ned Lamont had done a good job in office. Liz said that they supported current State Rep. John-Michael Parker.

“He made a point to come to our home and ask us what issues were important to us,” Liz said.

Peggy Lyons, the current first selectwoman of Madison who was standing outside with the Democrats, told CT Examiner she thought people would be relieved to put the election behind them and move forward.

“There was such a big buildup to this day,” she said. 

CHAPLIN — There are hardly any voters at Chaplin Fire Department at 3:35, but moderator Stacey Foster said it’s been a “vigorous turnout.” 

There were 708 votes cast, 56 absentee ballots and 3 Election Day registrations. 

Jeremiah Rufini, one of the few voters around, said he always votes because “it is the only real power I have.” 

Another voter, Ashley, said she typically votes Democrat. The loss of federal abortion rights inspired her decision to vote today, she said. — Tanajah Fryer

Mike Foley, Tim LaDucer and Alex Salerno chat with incumbent State Rep. Holly Cheeseman (CT Examiner)

EAST LYME — Mike Foley, Tim LaDucer and Alex Salerno, all Republicans, stood outside East Lyme High School chatting with incumbent State Rep. Holly Cheeseman. 

It was 2:30 p.m. and Cheeseman, a Republican, said she’d been making the rounds of her district, which includes Salem and East Lyme, since 6 a.m. and she planned to keep going until the polls closed.

“It’s a big loop. We’re going to go grab some lunch, probably to go to the Community Center, we’re just going to hit everything at least once more before the end of the day.”

She said the voters who have talked to her “have expressed concerns to me that I hear everyday.” 

“Inflation, heating oil fuel prices, concerns about crime, and some of the national level stuff – I had a couple of women come up to me and say they had concerns about what’s happening at the border. We’re seeing concerns about everything surface in this election.” 

LaDucer echoed issues that Cheeseman brought up and added his own.

“Inflation, the price of living, of course my children’s education – that’s a big thing for me, and gun rights,” he said. 

He said he believed the Republican party will support him in these issues, “100 percent.” 

Foley said his issues were the economy, but also government overreach.

“Regulatory overreach in every aspect of life and business – it creeps a little further every year,” he said.

Salerno, who is 17, said he wished he could vote this year. He said he was concerned about rising inflation, the rise of gas prices.

“And a big issue is the border – we have to keep that secure down south. That’s why if we get the right people in Congress [we can] secure the border, curb inflation,” said Salerno. “I support the Republicans 100 percent.

Nick Menapace gathers alongside fellow Democrats outside of East Lyme High School (CT Examiner)

Standing in the sunshine not far from Cheeseman were Rep. Joe Courtney, and Nick Menapace, a Democrat running to unseat Cheeseman.

Courtney said he’d started at 6 a.m. with his hometown of Vernon and had traveled throughout his district – containing 64 towns. 

He said the biggest issue he’s hearing from voters is “how divided the country is.” 

“These are people on both sides and we just have to figure out a way to start working together – the agendas could be very different,” he said.

Courtney said his work with the armed services was “very bipartisan.”

“To me the best safeguard in a tough economy is a good job and the one thing that I think policy makers at the state and federal level have much control over. The good news is – and I check everyday – there are 698 job openings down at the shipyard – and that’s driven by Congress, we set the Navy’s budget.” 

He said that the pipeline programs to get people “skilled up” for the jobs needed to be expanded. 

He said the global energy market was pushed by forces, which made it important to decarbonize. “The climate change bill is a good start but it’s going to take a while.” 

Menapace said he had knocked on 5,500 doors and that abortion was the top issue voters =’ minds. 

“And it wasn’t even just about abortion, it was about this chipping away at rights, this feeling that someone else gets to tell you what you can do with your life or your own body,” he said.

Voters line up at East Lyme High School (CT Examiner)

“It started at 6 a.m. and it has not stopped,” she said. “This is definitely busier than last year’s Presidential election.” 

Inside the high school at 2:30 p.m., the line to vote fluctuated between three and 10 people. Poll moderator Jamie Barr Shelburn said the pace had been steady. 

Loralyn Burdick, a poll worker, said she noticed many new, young voters this year. 

“As far as young – age 18 – a lot of them come in and tell us they turned 18 in June or July and they want to vote today and I send them down to same day registration.” 

Barr Shelburn said that as of 2 p.m., the precinct was averaging 226 voters per hour. 

“People talk when they want change,” she said. — Cate Hewitt

Michelle Coehlo and Jesy Fernandez stand outside of the polls at Stadley Rough Elementary in Danbury (CT Examiner)

DANBURY – Republican State Senate candidate Michelle Coehlo stood outside Stadley Rough Elementary School, her ninth stop of the day.

Coehlo told CT Examiner that she was canvassing polling stations before the sun rose, and the crowds in Danbury were encouraging.

“I thought it was Black Friday,” she laughed. “It was pitch dark out and the doors were locked, and there was a line of people.”

Coehlo said that her conversations with voters on election day were less about the issues, and more about who they were voting for. She said she had a few Democrats say that they voted for her.

She told CT Examiner that her oldest son was campaigning in New Fairfield that morning and had a conversation with two Democratic voters. 

“She talked to him for a minute, she came back out and she’s like, ‘I voted for you because of the way you were so polite. You must really know your mom.’ And she voted Republican for the first time ever,” Coehlo explained.

Jesy Fernandez, Republican State Representative candidate for District 109, stood beside Coehlo. He told CT Examiner that other than the chilly weather, the day was going well for him, too,

Both said they felt confident about their chances.

“No matter what, we raised awareness as far as I’m concerned,” Coehlo said. “We had communication and conversations. It’s in God’s hands, but of course, I’d love to win.”

As of 2:30 p.m., 2,079 votes were cast at the elementary school.

State Sen. Julie Kushner holding a campaign sign at New Fairfield Middle School (CT Examiner)

NEW FAIRFIELD – State Sen. Julie Kushner of District 24 spent her entire election day at New Fairfield Middle School, a polling station with 1769 votes cast as of 2:00 p.m.

Kushner told CT Examiner that it was a tradition of hers to spend the day at the middle school.

“Since 2018, when I first ran, I decided, I’m going to go to New Fairfield,” Kushner said. “It’s the one that’s sometimes more challenging. And I’ve done well by that, so it seems like my lucky charm.”

Kushner said she’d spent the day having spirited conversations with New Fairfield voters. She said most recognize the work she’d done over the past four years, but others ask Kushner about her time in the State Senate.

Despite the pandemic, Kushner said the 2020 election day was exciting – due to social distancing, the lines were long and she had the opportunity to talk to numerous voters. But this year, she was able to catch up with familiar faces.

“What’s really nice is that a lot more people know me than in the past. And they recognize me, so they say hello to me,” Kushner said. “I met a woman today, I said who I was, and she said, ‘I know who you are. You were handing out water after the hurricane.’”

Kushner said that in her four years in office, she’d really made a difference on the policy level, but also by helping her constituents and building relationships in the community.

Inside the school, an election worker told CT Examiner that the turnout was steady, and mirrored what he’d seen during the 2020 presidential election. Between the school and the local senior center polling station, New Fairfield had over 3,000 votes cast.

Republicans in Old Lyme gathered under a tent outside of the polls (CT Examiner)

OLD LYME — After long lines in the morning and a ballot tabulator breakdown midday, voters continued to flow steadily into the middle school as the sun went down.  

Outside, a clump of Republicans were having a cookout at their tent. Three Democrats were on the other side of the road, under a tent of their own, shivering in the breeze. 

Jennifer Datum, the moderator, said about 2600 people had voted in total as of 4 p.m. The town has about 6,000 voters. 

In addition to the candidates, Lyme-Old Lyme voters are also casting their ballots to decide on approving a $57 million school construction bond. Datum said the majority of people who voted in the election also voted for the referendum. 

Democrats gathered at the polls in Old Lyme (CT Examiner)

Voters who talked to CT Examiner spoke favorably overall about the referendum.

A voter named Kate said she didn’t know much about the school referendum, but she was in favor of supporting the school. She said she had gone through the Lyme-Old Lyme schools herself.  

“It’s a really good school system,” said Kate. 

Other voters said that if the schools needed the work done, it made sense to pay the money.  

“I’m not crazy about paying for it, but you have to pay for it to have a good education,” said a voter named Kevin. 

“It’s expensive, but it’s only going to get more expensive,” said a voter named Ray. “I think [the schools] desperately need upgrades.”

Cristina Andreana holds a sign for her brother, Joseph Andreana Jr., who is running for Stamford Board of Education (CT Examiner)

STAMFORD – Cristina Andreana waved a sign for her younger brother Tuesday at the Springdale Elementary School polling place.

Joseph Andreana Jr. is one of three Republicans trying to unseat Democrats who have long dominated the Stamford Board of Education.

Her brother is following a family tradition of serving in public office in Stamford, Cristina Andreana said.

She was a volunteer member of the Stamford Water Pollution Control Authority. Their father, Joseph Andreana Sr., held a seat on the Stamford Parks and Recreation Commission. 

Now Joseph Jr. is getting involved, she said.

“He feels like it’s his turn to give back,” Cristina Andreana said. “He has three kids in Stamford Public Schools, and he thinks the Board of Education is where he can make the most difference.”

Joseph Andreana Jr. has said his priorities are to raise scores in reading, writing and math for all students, and improve school safety.

He is running with fellow Republicans Lisa Butler and Diane Melchionne. They are challenging Democrats Daniel Dauplaise, Michael Hyman and Versha Munshi-South.

A woman making a beeline for the school entrance said she was in a hurry to get into the polling place and that education, by far, was her primary reason for voting Tuesday.

“There’s nothing more important than education, and it needs a lot of attention in Stamford,” she called over her shoulder.

The school parking lot was busy, with voters coming and going and vying for parking spaces. 

A poll volunteer said traffic at Springdale School was steady all morning.

Kathy walked out of the polls fixing an “I voted” sticker to her lapel. She said she’s been watching a lot of news podcasts since she retired over the summer, and it gave her a specific purpose for casting a ballot on Tuesday.

“I’m here mostly to vote for the Democrats in Washington, Blumenthal and Himes,” she said. “We can’t let the Republicans take over the Senate and House in Washington.” — Angela Carella

Lisa Bassani and Nick Colavolpe outside of the Nathan Halle School in New Haven, CT (CT Examiner)

NEW HAVEN — Local political leaders for each ward stood outside their polling location encouraging everyone to vote, and vote Democratic.

Outside the Hall of Records on Orange Street, Simon Bazelon, a Yale student, New Haven native and Ward 1 co-chair on the Democratic Town committee stood from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. encouraging row A.

Political signs outside of the Hall of Records (CT Examiner)

Outside of the Nathan Hale School, current and former Ward 18 co-chairs were optimistic about the Democrat chances on the local level. “Erick Russell and Americo Caricha are friends and live in the neighborhood,” Nick Colavolpe, Ward 18 co-chair on the DTC said. “I’m our here to support them.” For Lisa Bassani, his co-chair in Ward 18, this election has a lot riding on the line. “The progress we’ve made in the last 12 years under Democratic governors is immense. To see someone like Stefanowski come in would ruin it,” she said. “Democracy, reproductive rights, racial justice… there are so many issues on the ballot.” — Julia Werth

POMFRET – A sizeable number of voters were at Pomfret Community School at about 2 p.m, including Ronald Dildine, who said he makes it a point to vote for Democratic candidates in each election.

Dildine said he is pro-anything that doesn’t involve former President Donald J. Trump.

Peter Mann, vice president of the Pomfret Republican Town Committee, was outside supporting the Republican candidates. He said his concerns with the state of the economy is what drove his support for the Republicans.

“There are a lot of issues that are being looked at emotionally as opposed to with common sense,” Mann said.

Political signs near the Republican tent in Westbrook (CT Examiner)

Babette Dejarnette said she is typically an independent voter, but that she voted for Democrats today.

Despite voting for opposing parties, Dejarnette and Mann are both friends, and said they want to create unity instead of dividing the country further.

“It is ridiculous when you think about it on a logical level that you can live in the most unbelievable country in the world and people fight like children because of different opinions,” Dejarnette said. — Tanajah Fryer

State Rep. Christine Goupil stands in front of a Colin Heffernan sign in Westbrook (CT Examiner)

WESTBROOK — About 2,400 voters had cast ballots by just after 2 p.m. — nearly half of the district’s approximately 5,200 voters total. 

Democratic Incumbent Christine Goupil said she was “cautiously optimistic.”

Chris Aniskovich is in a close race with incumbent State Rep. Christine Goupil (C Examiner)

Her Republican challenger Chris Aniskovich, said “Win, lose or draw … you just want people to come out and vote.” — Emilia Otte

Strong turnout in Old Saybrook. At the Old Saybrook high school, around 1,800 voters had voted by 3 p.m., which moderator Carl Gabe called a large turnout (CT Examiner)

OLD SAYBROOK — At the high school, incumbent State Rep. Devin Carney, a Republican, said he’s feeling confident about his chances.

“I’m hoping for a win tonight,” he said. “But I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch.”

Carney said that he was able to win his prior elections “pretty handily” in 2018 and 2020, years that he said weren’t so good for Republicans, and he said he thought 2022 would be much more favorable for the Republican Party.

Carney told CT Examiner that in talking to voters, the number one issue he’s heard “by far” is the economy — energy costs, grocery costs, etc.

Incumbent State Rep. Devin Carney at the polls in Old Saybrook (CT Examiner)

Standing a few feet from Carney near the tent for the Old Saybrook Democrats, Colin Heffernen, the Democratic candidate vying to unseat Carney, said he’s been hearing a lot about the economy as well. He said he’s also talked to a lot of women voters who are upset about Roe v. Wade.

“I get it. I’m angry about it, too,” he said.

Heffernan said turnout was great — he said there were “lines out the door” when he was visiting Old Lyme earlier.

At the Old Saybrook high school, around 1,800 voters had voted by 3 p.m., which moderator Carl Gabe called a large turnout.

Heffernen said he’s been getting a lot of smiles and thumbs-ups from voters.

“Nothing but positive vibes,” he said. — Emilia Otte

Colin Heffernan, who is challenging Devin Carney, at the polls in Old Saybrook (CT Examiner).

GREENWICH – A steady stream of cars pulled in and out of the Greenwich High School parking lot at lunchtime Tuesday, passing a huge red sign tacked to a chain-link fence.

“Connecticut,” it reads. “Vote Republican.”

Bob, who said he’s lived in Greenwich “for a couple of decades,” pointed to the sign when asked why he turned out to vote.

“But not just any Republican,” he said. “Sensible Republicans.”

He said it was a reference to the recent takeover of Greenwich’s Republican Party by Trump supporters — the subject of a story in this week’s New York Times.

A sign near the polls in Greenwich, CT (CT Examiner)

Even though Democrat Hillary Clinton won the presidential vote in Greenwich in 2016 and Democrat Joe Biden won it in 2020, Trump “found support among some wealthy and influential residents,” according to the Times.

“They gotta go,” Bob said as he walked quickly across the parking lot into Greenwich High School.

Along the side of the building, two tables were set up, one Democrat and one Republican, with candidate pamphlets and other information for voters held in place by rocks on the breezy afternoon.

The woman volunteering at the Republican table said a number of voters were unaware of the referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?”

“They don’t know what it is,” the woman said.

At the Democrats’ table, volunteers kept laminated sample ballots for voters to peruse on their way into the polls. 

One of the volunteers, Phyllis Behlen, said voters give them the thumbs-up as they pass, but they don’t really stop to look at the candidate fliers on the table.

“I don’t think too many people go to the polls without knowing who they want to vote for,” Behlen said.

Greenwich resident Gov. Ned Lamont voted at the high school at 9:30 a.m., Behlen said.

Her fellow volunteer called out to three or four voters who were walking into the school. 

“Row A all the way!” the volunteer said, encouraging them to vote the Democratic line. — Angella Carella

TOLLAND – Ryan McCann, a campaign worker, said he aligns with the Democratic Party because the party represents all people. McCann stood outside of the polls at the Tolland Senior Center.

He said he personally knows the Democratic candidate for the 53rd State House District Kenneth Trice and for the 35th State Senate District Lisa Thomas – and believes they’re both amazing people.

“One of the things that hurts me more than anything is division,” McCann said.

McCann also said that reproductive rights should be a woman’s choice — another reason why his values align more with the Democrats. He said that while he’s concerned about inflation, it’s part of a natural cycle of the economy.

“I don’t like it any more than anybody else, but I think there are opportunities to do better,” McCann said. 

Also at the polls, Joyce Hein, who identifies as an independent, said she voted for Republicans because she is concerned about the economy and sides with the Republican Party on border policies and women’s reproductive rights. 

“We do a disservice to women by not giving them other alternatives,” Hein said. — Tanajah Fryer

East Haven — There was no one campaigning or holding signs outside Tuttle Elementary School in East Haven while a steady trickle of voters walked around lunch time on Tuesday afternoon. Although quiet, the voters were enthusiastic. “Our voices need to be heard” one voter said, waving as she walked back to her car. Roberta was more direct when asked why she came out to the polls. “I’m looking for a change, voting for Bob and voting for Republican straight across,” she said.– Julia Werth

Republican Mike Pace at the polls with supporters in Hamden (CT Examiner)

HAMDEN — By 1 p.m., 2900 residents of Hamden had cast their ballots at Spring Glen and Bear Path Elementary schools, according to poll workers a good turnout so far.

“It has been incredibly busy, a constant flow of voters coming in, said Mike Pace, the Republican candidate for state representative who was standing outside Spring Glen Elementary.

He was joined by several supporters and excited voters — all holding Democratic signs.

Outside of Springbrook Elementary in Hamden at about 1:00 p.m. (CT Examiner)

“I’m real excited about Stephanie Thomas. I really, really want her to win,” said Jackie, a Hamden resident. “She supports what I believe in. Jackie said that she voted straight down row A and is 100 percent behind Gov. Ned Lamont. “I haven’t seen him do a lot of negative campaigning and that’s so important for me,” she said. — Julia Werth

Michael P. (here holding the door) said he wanted to vote the Democrats out of state and national government (CT Examiner)

COVENTRY- At Coventry High School voter Michael P. arrived at 1 p.m.

He said he wants to see the federal government and Connecticut’s state government turn entirely Republican.

The issues most concerning to him, he said, were the state budget and COVID-19 restrictions.

“Get rid of all the Democrats and put Republicans in,” Michael said. “Everything has doubled and tripled in cost in my lifetime. The food bill, electricity, fuel, just everything.”

Michael is particularly passionate about the state governor’s race and the salary of Gov. Ned Lamont.

“W2s came out last week and showed that Lamont made $54 million as a governor. He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t make that much money,” Michael said. — Hallie Letendre

Clinton RTC vice chair Joe Alves (CT Examiner)

CLINTON — Moderator June Hansen said she thinks the turnout is going to rival a Presidential election.

At 1 p.m. about 3,800 of Clinton’s 10,000 registered voters — or close to 40 percent — have already cast their ballots.

Outside, vice chair of the Republican Town Committee Joe Alves said that when he arrived at 5:45 a.m., there was already at least 100 people in line. He said he had trouble finding a parking space.

“I was shocked. I figured I’d be the only one,” he said.

Alves said that he thought Chris Aniskovich, the Republican candidate for State Rep running against incumbent Democrat Christine Goupil, had a good chance.

“He’s pretty well known in town,” said Alves.

Jeannine Lewis with Clinton DTC Chair Paul Gebauer (CT Examiner)

Alves said that one of Aniskovich’s big issues is local control around housing, and “making sure the suburbs are heard in Hartford.” But Alves also said that he’d heard from several people that they were casting their votes based on the national politics rather than the local-level issues.

As for Goupil, he said, he believed she had a good chance.

Paul Gebauer, chair of the Clinton Democratic Town Committee, said he felt the fact that the strong leads that Democratic congressional candidates and the Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont have will also help Goupil. He also said that he felt the issue of abortion would increase turnout.

“We worked hard,” he said. “She has a proven track record as state representative.” — Emilia Otte

Democratic candidate Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox with her two daughters and their new puppy (CT Examiner)

TRUMBULL – CT Examiner caught up with Democratic candidate for state representative, Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, as she was phone banking at home, taking a break from the polls.

Gadkar-Wilcox sat on her back porch with her daughters, 10-year-old Ishika and 6-year-old Aksita with their new puppy Georgia. She said both of her daughters have been on the campaign trail with her since her first run to unseat State Rep. David Rutigliano in 2018.

“Ishika came to my very first door with me in 2018,” Gadkar-Wilcox said. “The intergenerational connection is so important for all of us.”

She said the main issue she’d heard from voters was the recent political polarization.

“They’re concerned about the hyper-partisan politics,” Gadkar-Wilcox explained. “And for me, too, it’s like how do you bring trust back into the government?”

Gadkar-Wilcox said she was also determined to bring more tax dollars to Trumbull. She said advocacy at the state level was crucial.

Between knocking on thousands of doors over the last few months and phone banking efforts by her campaign team, Gadkar-Wilcox said she was doing everything she could to get voters to the polls, especially given historically low voter turnout at midterm elections.

And with so many new families coming to town, Gadkar-Wilcox said, finding ways to keep them there was important.

Sophia Muce

EAST WINDSOR – At 10 a.m. a handful of voters were walking inside John F. Kennedy School to vote.

James and Barbara Taylor of Windsor said crime, the economy and sustainability persuaded them to come out to vote for Republican candidates.

James Taylor, a retired firefighter, said he’s concerned that inflation is going to make it more difficult to stretch his pension. And he was concerned that shifting away from fossil fuels will hurt the U.S. while other countries continue to use them for power.

“Other countries, particularly in Europe are suffering because they’re giving up fossil fuels, while China is building coal plants,” James Taylor said. 

Mary Armstrong, secretary of the Windsor Democratic Town Committee, said she was voting to support the candidates she knows. — Tanajah Fryer

The lines were beginning to grow at the Buckley School gym in Manchester, CT (CT Examiner)

MANCHESTER- The Buckley School gym in Manchester was filled with voters just after noon, and lines were building as residents waited for ballots.

Ruby A. – a volunteer at one of the several voting locations in Manchester – was responsible for checking in voters by confirming that their ID matched the town’s records.

“I’m checking the name on IDs and making sure we have the right address. It’s important that we are checking that before we hand over a ballot,” Ruby said.

Ruby said residents would not be able to cast their vote without people volunteering in her position across the state. 

“It is crucial that we check because we don’t want any fraud to occur,” Ruby said. “That’s the most important thing here.” — Hallie Letendre

Cameron and Tali hold signs for the Republican candidates in Waterford (CT Examiner)

WATERFORD — Danielle Steward-Gelinas, daughter of the late Daniel Steward, who was First Selectman of Waterford, was standing in a sunny – but very windy – spot in the parking lot with her 5-month old puppy, Rosie. She held signs for Republicans Jerry Labriola, who is running for state senate and incumbent state Rep. Kathleen McCarty, who represents Waterford and Montville. 

Bipartisanship was a priority for Steward-Gelinas.

“A strong reason why I support these candidates is that they are moderate. They can work both sides of the aisle. I don’t find their opponents can work across the aisle,” she said. “They have the ability to work with everybody and I’ve seen that in both of the candidates.” 

Danielle Steward-Gelinas holding signs for the Republican candidates in Waterford (CT Examiner)

Later on Cameron and Tali, who only shared their first names, took over holding the Labriola and McCarty signs. 

Cameron said  she was concerned about the economy, especially in the coming winter. “Prices are out of control, that’s my number one concern.”

Tali said that heating oil prices have gone up. He said he lives on a fixed income.

“We’re going to have to cut back. There’s been a big increase in grocery prices – eggs and meat. We’re going to have to not do some of the things we do.” — Cate Hewitt

Tracey Burto, Emmeline Franklin and Janet Koch greeted voters with signs supporting Joe Courtney and State Sen. Cathy Osten (CT Examiner)

NORWICH — Over 400 people had voted at Rose City Senior Center before 9 a.m. with a line out the door early in the morning, and more lines out the door expected throughout the day, an election official said.

Outside, Tracey Burto, Emmeline Franklin and Janet Koch greeted voters with signs supporting Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney and State Sen. Cathy Osten. They said reproductive rights, early voting and climate change all drove them to stand out in the cold to support the Democratic candidates.

“The planet is on fire and nobody is moving fast enough,” Koch said, adding that she worries about the future for her two granddaughters. Franklin said it was even more important to support Democratic candidates on the state level since abortion rights have been rolled back federally. “Especially for women,” Burto, a Norwich City Councilor, said. “We have to honor the women who have sacrificed so much for us.” — Brendan Crowley

DURHAM — Phil Augur, chair of the Durham Republican Town Committee, said the Republicans are posing to voters “a very simple question:”

He walked over to a large sign reading “Are you better off than you were two years ago?”

For Augur, the answer is clear: “There’s no way.”

August said the big problems he sees are inflation, the increase in crime and teaching children in school about concepts that he believes they are too young to learn, particularly around sexual education

When asked whether he was better off compared to two years ago, Sean Gibbons, a member of the Republican Town Committee, had a similar answer.  

“Poorer,” he said. “And I think I do pretty well for myself.”

Gibbons said that he was losing money out of his 401k thanks to inflation and current fiscal policies.  

“We’re paying more for everything in our lives,” he said. “The Democrats are trying to tell us that it’s not real.”

Gibbons said that if Republicans are elected, he hopes they will be able to “stem the bleeding.” 

A few feet away, a group of four voters are huddled, chatting. One woman, Martha, said she used to be a Republican, but when former President Trump was elected, she switched to Democrat. It’s a common theme among her Republican friends, she said.

The group said they didn’t know much about the local elections, but that they were all Democrats, and they were particularly driven by the issue of abortion.

“It actually pissed me off that the Supreme Court overturned [Roe v. Wade],” said a voter named George.

Wendy, another voter, mentioned how divided the two parties were. Martha added that she felt you couldn’t really separate the national from the local. — Emilia Otte

Democratic signs at the lone polling station in Andover, CT (CT Examiner)

ANDOVER – The Town Hall community room on School Road was filled with voters as the morning of Election Day rolled on.

Andover Democratic Town Committee Vice Chair Shannon Louden has been campaigning outside of the town’s sole polling location and said there has been a steady flow of voters since 6 a.m. this morning.

Louden told CT Examiner, that as a woman reproductive rights and the autonomy of individuals’ bodies was important to her. She said voting rights are also important for Andover in particular.

“We’re one of four states in the entire U.S. that doesn’t have some form of early voting,” Louden said. 

There are open seats in both House District 55 and the Senate District 4. Democrat Wesley Skorski and Republican Steve Weir are running in what is expected to be a close election for the state house seat. 

Louden said it’s important that all eligible voters come out today and cast their vote, no matter who they vote for.

“Democracy is truly on the ballot. I never thought I would, but I fear for our democracy,” Louden said.

State Rep. David Rutigliano (right) told CT Examiner he stayed at Madison Middle School on election day out of habit (CT Examiner)

TRUMBULL – While many candidates skip between various polling places on election day, Republican State Rep. David Rutigliano told CT Examiner he stayed at Madison Middle School out of habit.

Rutigliano said the recent change from four districts to seven left many voters confused, and he preferred to stay close to his own neighborhood to catch up with Trumbull voters.

“Before redistricting, my neighborhood would vote here. Everybody would vote here,” Rutigliano said. “I don’t know how much politically this helps you, but it’s nice to catch up with everybody. “

Rutigliano said he’d seen numerous voters show up to Madison Middle School only to find out they had to vote elsewhere. Other than redistricting, he said taxes were a key issue for voters.

“It’s been funny this year – it’s all local issues. There was a massive tax increase from the town over the summer, and it really is what’s stressing everybody out.”

He said that many houses in Trumbull use oil, and the price of heating homes was through the roof. Rutigliano said he’d met numerous senior citizens that day concerned about paying their bills.

Tony Scott, the Republican candidate for State Representative for the 112th District (second from left) outside the polling station (CT Examiner)

Tony Scott, a Republican candidate for State Representative for the 112th District, stood next to Rutigliano with his wife and daughter. Scott told CT Examiner that he was new to Trumbull, and being at the Middle School with Rutigliano was helpful.

“It’s good for him to introduce a lot of people to me as I’m new to the town because of redistricting,” Scott said.

Up the street at Tashua Elementary School, Rutigliano’s wife, Michelle, stood outside her minivan. She told CT Examiner that a few minutes prior, someone stole the campaign signs off her car.

“All I have to say is one thing – it doesn’t take a lot of energy to be kind,” Michelle said. “But it takes a lot of energy to be mean.” — Sophia Muce

MIDDLETOWN — A problem with a ballot tabulator at the South District Firehouse earlier this morning has been resolved, according to the site moderator.

Ann Morse, the moderator, told CT Examiner that the original ballot tabulator had stopped working this morning. She said she’d noticed the problem around 9 a.m. and made a call to the district’s Registrar of Voters. She said that the Republican Registrar of Voters, David Bauer, had brought over a backup tabulator that was kept at Town Hall.

Morse said after realizing that the original tabulator wasn’t working, she asked voters to place their ballots in an auxiliary pocket on the side of the machine rather than running them through the tabulator.

After receiving the new tabulator, they started the count over and ran through all the ballots that had gone through the original tabulator, as well as those in the auxiliary slot. The original tabulator was then locked away in a cabinet at the Firehouse.

Morse said that the new machine was up and running by 9:45 a.m.  

As of 10:50 a.m. about 430 people had voted. The district has a total of about 1,800 voters. Marie Hurley, who has worked at the polls for 4-5 years, said this was a good turnout. She said she expected it was driven by the governor’s race and the senate race.  — Emilia Otte

Vernon Town Councilor Laura Bush (left) at the voting site on Hartford Turnpike in Vernon (CT Examiner)

VERNON – As the day warms up, residents are filling spots in line at Vernon Center Middle School to vote.

Vernon Town Councilor Laura Bush, a member of the Vernon Republican Town Committee, is volunteering holding signs for the Republican candidates at the voting site on Hartford Turnpike.

Bush said her top priorities are supporting candidates with a focus on the economy and local law enforcement.

“I look for someone who can make a difference for our economy because taxes are too high,” Bush said. “I also look to who supports our law enforcement officers because crime is out of control.”

Bush said midterm elections are important because they give residents a chance to make a direct impact on their day-to-day lives.

“You are able to make choices that affect you personally on a daily basis when you support and vote for local areas,” Bush said. 

Bush is campaigning for Mike France for U.S. Representative in the 2nd District, Jeff Gordon for the State Senate in the 35th District and Tammy Nuccio for State Representative in the 53rd District. — Hallie Letendre

Council member Marcus Brown told CT Examiner he felt confident he would win the primary for the 127th District (CT Examiner)

BRIDGEPORT – After a fight to lockdown the Democratic seat in District 127’s state-representative election, council member Marcus Brown said he felt confident he would win.

In October, a Superior Court ordered a new Democratic primary election citing a “mistake in the count of votes,” which named Brown the candidate over Incumbent Jack Hennessy. 

Hennessy got his name on the ballot regardless through the Working Families Party, in addition to Brown and Republican candidate Anthony Puccio.

So far, Brown canvassed Blackhawk School, John Winthrop Elementary School and was now stationed outside Read School. Despite his competition, Brown said voters had been receptive.

“I’m fortunate enough to have two opponents. Everyone else has only one,” Brown laughed. “But I think I trust people in district just based on what I’m seeing come in so far, and the responses we’ve been getting at the doors has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Voters fill out their ballots at John Winthrop Elementary School in Bridgeport (CT Examiner)

Brown said the turnout was larger than what he saw at the two previous primaries, which was very encouraging. As of 9:30, the polling centers at John Winthrop Elementary school had 428 votes cast and Read School had 110.

Marcus told CT Examiner that he was a proud Democrat, and he promised voters he would fight for them. He said a key issue he’d heard from voters was inflation.

“We want to make sure that at least for Connecticut, while we don’t control the national inflation, that we’re doing everything we can to protect people and keep costs down,” Brown said.

Brown explained that one of the issues he was running on was eliminating the car tax as it was a regressive tax for middle class families, especially in Bridgeport where they tend to have higher rates than other surrounding towns.

”That’s one of the ways I think we can save people some money,” Brown said. “For me personally, that’s like $700 a year. And for a lot of folks, $500, $600 a year.” — Sophia Muce

By around 9:30 a.m., over 600 people had voted — about 10 percent of the registered voters in the district in Guilford (CT Examiner)

GUILFORD — Outside Baldwin Middle School in Guilford, 18-year-old Geneva and her mother, Maria, are taking a selfie. It’s Geneva’s first time voting.

Maria said that she and her daughter are both solid Democrats. Geneva said that she’s particularly interested in education, and wants to make sure a complete version of history is taught in the schools.

“I just want it to be fair. I want it to be what happened,” she said.

Inside the polling place, the line snaked outside the gymnasium. The moderator, Natalie, said that turnout has been steady. By around 9:30 a.m., over 600 people had voted — about 10 percent of the registered voters in the district.

Talking to voters at the polls, the economy was on their minds, although different voters had different ideas about what the right solution should be.

“I like a surplus. I don’t want to kiss it goodbye,” said Scott, who said he supported current Gov. Ned Lamont.

Another voter, Derek, said he supported Christine Cohen, the Democratic incumbent for state senate.

“I found her to be … the rare exception, actually making a difference,” he said.

Another couple said they wanted to see a change in government. They said they were particularly concerned about the economy and immigration.

“I just don’t want to deal with it anymore,” said the wife, who said she voted primarily Republican, although she would be willing to split a ticket. “No more politics. Just common sense.”

“It seems like everything this administration did was wrong … from Afghanistan to student loans,” added her husband.

Another voter, Allen, said he felt very undecided about who he was going to vote for. He said he felt there needed to be some changes, although he said he believed Lamont had been a “good leader.”

Allen said he was particularly concerned about the economy.

“The gas, home heating oil … even the price of eggs is like $5,” he said. “A lot of these people can’t keep up with the rate of inflation.”

One of the races he said he was undecided on was the race between Christine Cohen, who he knows personally, and Paul Crisci. He said that he felt some of Crisci’s points were valid, and some weren’t.

Green party candidate Justin Pagliano, who is running against U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, also showed up to vote. He said he was “very happy to be on the ballot again” and supporting Medicare for all. He said he was trying to get people to think differently, and was heartened by how many people were now aware of what ranked-choice voting was.

“[Election Day] is my favorite day of the year,” he said. — Emilia Otte

Kat Goulart greeted voters in New London (CT Examiner)

NEW LONDON — Kat Goulart was greeting voters in the lobby of New London Multi-Magnet High School, asking what street they live on and directing them to the A-H or the I-Z tables where poll workers were checking people in. 

“I was surprised – it was busy at 6 a.m.,” she said. “ We had quite a rush with people coming in.”

She stopped to talk with each voter, some of whom she knew. 

One man greeted her with a hug. “I can’t remember what street you live on,” she laughed. 

“It ebbs and flows, we have our rushes and a couple of quiet moments,” she said. 

Pollworkers said they’d had 103 voters so far, at 7:02 a.m.

“That’s pretty a healthy vote for the first hour,” said Emily, who was checking in voters. — Cate Hewitt

NEW LONDON — Outside at Nathan Hale School in New London, State Rep. Christine Conley, a Democrat running for re-election, said she arrived before sunrise at 5:45 a.m. She was wearing ear muffs, a down vest and a hat.

“We’ve been here since 5:45 so that we could talk with voters,” said Conley, shivering with her hands in her pockets. With her, holding signs, were her niece Kiersten and brother-in-law, Chris. 

“People got here early and waited in their cars until the doors opened to stay warm,” Conley said. 

Inside, Martin, the poll moderator, said 200 people had voted, as of 7:30 a.m. 

He said the turnout has been steady since the moment the polls opened at 6 a.m.

When Conley learned that 200 people had already voted, she said that represented more than 10 percent of the 1,200 in the district. — Cate Hewitt

NORWICH — A slow but steady stream of voters filed into the AHEPA 110 apartments to vote on Tuesday morning — Brendan Crowley

Early voters head in to voter at Second Hill Lane Elementary School in Stratford (CT Examiner)

STRATFORD – Republicans were making a strong showing at Bunnell High School and Second Hill Lane Elementary school in support of Laura Dancho, the Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives in District 120. Democratic Incumbent State Rep. Phil Young won by a slim margin in 2020.

Town councilman Bill O’Brien stood outside the high school. He hung campaign posters for Republican candidates Lesley DeNardis, Kevin Kelly and Dancho along a foldout table. He told CT Examiner that Dancho was his neighbor on the council, and it was a pleasure working with her for the last five years.

“Of course if she wins this – I should say, when she wins this, she’ll have to step down as council person probably,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien said that other than his personal ties to her, he was voting for Dancho because she was level headed and would help the people of Stratford on the state level, just as she had done municipally. 

Given that his son was a police officer in Stamford, O’Brien said he was unhappy that Young supported the police accountability law.

“It’s a tough time to be a policeman,” O’Brien said. “With what’s happened, he wants to work for these 25 years and then retire. It’s too bad because he likes the job, but things have changed so badly.”

Town Councilman Bill O’Brien speaking with voters outside of a polling place in Stratford (CT Examiner)

Up the street, a voter named Mike Henrik, stationed outside the elementary school, told CT Examiner that he was voting for Dancho for her commonsense practices and support for their police department. He said the police accountability law was detrimental to public safety.

“[Young] was the tie-breaking vote for the police accountability bill which allowed criminals to sue police,” Henrik said. “Police should be accountable, but police don’t want to get involved anymore. It’s to their detriment.”

Republican former councilman Kevin Williams talks with Emily Kolodziej, deputy campaign manager for Democrat Christopher Green (CT Examiner)

But Emily Kolodziej, deputy campaign manager for Democratic State Senate candidate Christopher Green, said she thought women’s reproductive rights were top concerns from voters coming to Bunnell High School.

“A big one is women’s health,” Kolodziej said. “A lot of people are very divided, a lot of people are concerned. They’re looking at state representatives, legislatures, and senators to give their stance.”

Kolodziej said that while Connecticut had one of the strongest laws for reproductive rights in the country, voters were still concerned. — Sophia Muce

Sam Bruder stands outside of the Eagleville Fire House in Mansfield (CT Examiner)

MANSFIELD- At just after 8 a.m., the parking lot was filling up, but the lines were moving quickly in Mansfield, with voters in and out of the Eagleville Fire House this morning to cast their votes.

Sam Bruder was standing outside of the polls in the brisk morning air welcoming voters and answering questions.

Bruder said he appreciated Democrat Gregg Haddad’s relationship with the University of Connecticut and the Town of Mansfield.

“Haddad’s voice and experience has helped us get on a new track with UConn and has created much better communication between their administration and the town,” said Bruder.

Haddad is running for reelection to the State House.

Bruder said the campaign in the district had come down mainly to two issues.

“A lot of the candidates have been talking about abortion rights and the economy,” Bruder said. — Hallie Letendre

Dennis Crowe, secretary of the Republican Town Committee in Madison, was holding a sign for John Rasimas (CT Examiner)

MADISON — Turnout at Brown Elementary School is strong, and just keeps coming. About 500 people have voted by 7:45 a.m. One of the poll workers said that at 6 a.m., there was “a line outside the door.”

“Stefanowski is a local guy,” he said. “If they are going to have any strength, it should be here.”

One woman who declined to give her name said she hoped the high turnout was an indication that more people were coming out to vote. She said her daughter in Brooklyn had friends who were voting for the first time because of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Her friend, who identified herself as a “same-gender loving woman,” said that they couldn’t “take for granted” the way things currently were.   

“We’re for John-Michael [Parker] 100 percent,” she said. “John-Michael listens, he shows up, he aligns with the way we want to be in the world.”

Another voter, Rich, said he voted mainly for Democrats. He said he thought there were some “clever advertisements” for the governor’s race, although he got tired of them after a while.

“I think the Republican candidate is really in over his head,” said Rich, adding that he didn’t think Stefanowski was very good at thinking things through.

“I didn’t have much fondness for the Democrat, but he got my vote,” said Rich.

Another voter, Charlie, said he felt Lamont had done a good job, particularly under the challenging circumstances that COVID created. He also noted that John-Michael Parker had been visible in his campaigning.

“Parker is young and aggressive — he’s been out and about,” Charlie said.

Another woman, Amanda, said she wanted to “keep Democrats in office.”

“I don’t like [Bob Stefanowski’s] business background,” she said. “I think it’s predatory.”

Democratic candidate John-Michael Park holds a sign with supporters at the polling place in Madison (CT Examiner)

She said she voted both for John-Michael Parker and State Senate candidate Christine Cohen — both Democratic incumbents who she said had done “a great job.”

Meanwhile, outside the polling place, Dennis Crowe, secretary of the Republican Town Committee in Madison, was holding a sign for John Rasimas, Parker’s opponent. He noted that Rasimas knocked on over 5,000 doors —- and lost 35 pounds doing it.

Crowe said that he’d gone with Rasimas to some of the door knocking. He said that most people were receptive to talking once they got away from the hot-button topic of Roe v. Wade.

Crowe said he felt very good about Rasimas’ chances.

John-Michael Parker, standing with a group of people nearby, was more guarded about the election.

“Who knows?” he said, when asked about his chances of winning. “We worked hard, though.”  — Emilia Otte

A steady flow of voters at the Middle School in Old Lyme after a few early morning hiccups (CT Examiner)

OLD LYME — The local Democrats and Republicans were standing in twos and threes under tents outside of the Middle School polling place at 6:30 a.m., and the Old Lyme Republicans were firing up the grill, for what may be a very long day before the results are in for midterm election that most see as too close to call, and which will also decide whether the town moves forward with $57 million in borrowing to renovate the local schools.

Asked for his gut feeling about how the election would go, one voter exiting the polling place before heading over to the tents said simply, “it’s in God’s hands.” — Gregory Stroud

Early voters at MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown, CT (CT Examiner)

MIDDLETOWN — At MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown, a handful of people are trickling in — about 30 have voted by 6:45 a.m.

But those few voters coming in the doors are met with a treat — long tables laden with Red Velvet Cupcakes, coconut and M & M Macarooms, cheese danishes and blueberry scones, many of which are home made.

“It’s our only fundraiser,” a volunteer tells me, explaining that all the treats are from families in the school. Another volunteer tells me that they’ve made hundreds of dollars on past election days.

A woman named Angela walks out with a Red Velvet Cupcake and a few other things.

Angela said she’s come to vote out of “civic duty.” She said she didn’t know much about the candidates.

“I’m not really very informed,” she said.

But she did have a thought about the governor’s race.

“I feel like it’s kind of the same old, same old,” she said. “Rinse and repeat.”                               

Meanwhile, the early hour hasn’t stopped Sarah Steinfeld, who is standing near the fence with a cup of coffee next to a Matt Lesser for Senate sign. She’s out campaigning for her husband before she has to go to work. She said she’s optimistic about the voter turnout — it’s a nice day.

“I think people are fired up,” she said.

As for her husband, she said he’s passionate about issues of affordable healthcare, especially being a cancer survivor himself.

“He’s a fierce fighter, a progressive fighter,” she said.

A voter asks if he can leave his small dog tied to the fence nearby while he goes in to vote. She hands him a leaflet, and he walks up the hill to the school.

— Emilia Otte

With many key surveys showing midterm elections too close to call, voters head to the polls on Tuesday morning.

Nine reporters for CT Examiner will be fanning out across the state to bring you live updates and the latest news from 6:00 a.m. when the polls open until late tonight when the results come in and the candidates celebrate and concede the results.

Check back here for our continuously-updated nonpartisan election coverage.

Covering the election today for CT Examiner are Angela Carella, Cate Hewitt, Emilia Otte, Brendan Crowley, Sophia Muce, Julia Werth, Tanajah Fryer, Hallie LeTendre, Emily Carmichael, and Gregory Stroud