HARTFORD—After months of campaigning and an election week plagued by ballot problems and delayed returns, Connecticut’s next governor will officially be Democrat Dan Malloy.
Republican Tom Foley, Malloy’s opponent, conceded the race in a Monday press conference in Hartford. The decision came after a team he assembled to pore over election returns for irregularities and signs of voter fraud failed to turn up results that would alter the race’s outcome. Both Foley and state GOP chair Chris Healy expressed their continued concern over voting problems concentrated in Bridgeport, and Healy said the GOP has asked the United States attorney and the chief state’s attorney for Connecticut to conduct an investigation into the ballot shortages in Bridgeport that turned voters away from the polls and led a Hartford judge to extend polling hours to 10 p.m.
Despite these irregularities, Foley said he is confident that the official vote totals reflect the will of the voters.
“The election on Tuesday, although very close, was a conclusive victory for Dan Malloy,” Foley said.
Foley said that after reviewing results this weekend, his legal team presented two options for a legal challenge. The attorneys said Foley could challenge the legality of photocopied ballots in Bridgeport, Hartford, and five towns across the state, a result which could, Foley said, have tipped the election in his favor. Given the widespread voting irregularities, Foley’s attorneys suggested that he could ask for a recount or a revote. But because he saw no credible evidence of voter fraud, and because he thought any challenge would disenfranchise and frustrate voters, Foley opted against legal action.
“It certainly could have changed the outcome of the race, but we’re not going there,” Foley said.
Still, Healy confirmed just before the press conference that the state Republican Party had requested an investigation into Bridgeport’s voting problems with the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut David Fein and Chief State’s Attorney for Connecticut Kevin Kane.
“I think it would be obvious to anybody who witnessed what happened in Bridgeport that it doesn’t help the credibility of our electoral system,” Foley said.
Foley has publicly criticized the handling of the election returns by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz ’83, particularly her announcement mid-day Wednesday that, based on unofficial returns, Malloy had won the election.
Foley said he has not thought about pursuing elected office in the future, and said he is not ruling it out. When asked if he would take a position within the Malloy administration, Foley said, laughing, that he would consider it but that he did not think an offer was likely.
For now, Foley has a more pressing civic duty. Foley must report for jury duty in Stamford on Wednesday — something he’s been putting off since he began the campaign and that, if he had been elected, he would have avoided altogether.
Malloy’s margin of victory — only 5,637 out of 1.1 million votes cast — is the smallest for a Connecticut gubernatorial race since Democrat Abe Ribicoff defeated incumbent Republican John Davis Lodge by just over 3,000 votes. Malloy is the first Democrat elected governor of Connecticut in 24 years.