Even as votes were still being counted Wednesday, New Haven Democrats celebrated their party’s victory in the Connecticut U.S. Senate race and expressed hope that Dan Malloy, the Democratic candidate for governor, would eke out a victory over Republican Tom Foley.
Prominent city Democrats said that Malloy, who served 14 years as mayor of Stamford, would be an ally of New Haven because his experience in urban politics gives him insights into the city’s challenges. While Malloy’s victory was still in doubt Wednesday, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, the Democratic candidate for Senate, won his U.S. Senate race by a comfortable margin.
At an election night party at Terminal 110 in Long Wharf on Sargent Drive, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said he was pleased that Blumenthal defeated Linda McMahon, the Republican former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, but added that he was anxious to find out the final results of the governor’s race. Complete official results have not yet been reported in Bridgeport, which DeStefano said he hopes will prove decisive in favor of Malloy.
“Dan has been mayor of a big city,” said Carl Goldfield, Ward 29 alderman and president of the New Haven Board of Aldermen, who also attended the party, hosted by the campaign of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who won an 11th term Tuesday. “He understands what it is to manage a public entity, which is not the same as managing a private company as Foley has.”
Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said he thinks that, should Malloy ultimately prevail, he will stay loyal to the urban centers that sent the election his way, including New Haven. Malloy’s background as the former mayor of Stamford makes him more familiar with the problems of an urban area, Morand said. The city gave 22,298 votes to Malloy and 3,865 to Foley, a ratio of nearly 6 to 1.
“In his heart and in his head, he’s going to have a lot of affection for New Haven,” Morand said, while still cautioning that Malloy will have to pay close attention to the suburban areas that gave a majority of their votes to Foley.
Morand said he thinks both candidates would be highly capable executives. Regardless of which candidate takes the election, Morand said, he and city officials will pitch New Haven in the same way — as an economic success story — and he hopes disputes over the election will be resolved quickly.
“One thing that does not benefit the state is uncertainty and delay,” Morand said.
In a press conference Wednesday in Hartford, Malloy pledged that he would be a more activist governor, so active that he may “tire you out.”
In Morand’s experience with the potential governor-elect, Malloy has demonstrated this enthusiasm.
“He is a guy who gets up in the morning truly excited about governing, managing and getting things done,” Morand said.
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz ’83 announced Wednesday that unofficial tallies gave Malloy a 3,103-vote lead, and a victory without a recount. But Foley disputed this total, claiming to be in the lead by around 2,000 votes, a total that, if correct, would require a statewide recount. As of press time, Foley held a lead of 8,424 votes, with all but 1.5 percent of precincts reporting.
As opposed to the contentious gubernatorial race, the Democrat’s victory in the U.S. Senate race was clear shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.
DeStefano said Blumenthal developed a good relationship with New Haven during his 20 years as attorney general and knows the city and its challenges far better than McMahon. While he is disappointed that Democrats will lose control of committees in the House of Representatives, he said he is confident Blumenthal will be an effective advocate for the state.
DeLauro, who easily defeated Republican challenger, Jerry Labriola, said in her victory speech that Blumenthal would be a worthy successor to retiring Sen. Chris Dodd.
“We will send a congressional delegation to Washington committed to the values of the people of Connecticut,” DeLauro said at about 9:30 p.m. “Whatever the final results tonight, I’m proud that Connecticut voters made a bold vote about this state’s future tonight.”
Democrats also swept the races for U.S. Representatives in all of the state’s five congressional districts, meaning the entire delegation, composed of the state’s U.S. representatives and senators, will comprise Democrats.
Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67, now the senior senator from Connecticut, is an Independent caucusing with Democrats. He faces re-election in 2012.