Jul 28, 2014
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Darien Supports Native Son Shays in GOP Primary

Chris Shays didn't do as well elsewhere in the Connecticut GOP primary for U.S. Senate, but Darien supported its native son with a majority of votes, while Darien Democrats supported Chris Murphy by a landslide in very light turnout.

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Update 9:35 p.m.:

Here are the Darien primary results by percentages:

  • In the GOP race, Shays received 57.6 percent of the vote to Linda McMahon's 42.4 percent in Darien.
  • On the Democratic side, Chris Murphy received 79.7 percent of the votes, with Susan Bysiewicz receiving 20.2 percent.

Turnout:

  • Republican turnout was 28 percent of all GOP registered voters (1,677 voters of 6,042 registered).
  • Democratic turnout was 16 percent of all registered Democratic voters (375 voters out of 2,318 registered).

Update, 9:25 p.m.:

Chris Shays may have done worse in primary voting than Linda McMahon, but in Darien he received more support in a town that had a relatively high turnout, compared to the rest of the state.

In Darien, Shays received 966 of the total GOP vote of 1,677, while McMahon received 711 votes.

In the Democratic primary for the same U.S. Senate seat, Chris Murphy received the vast majority of Darien's 375 votes—a total of 299 against rival Susan Bysiewicz' 76 votes.

Original article, 4:21 p.m.:

By 2 p.m Tuesday, 2,044 of Darien's 8,360 eligible Democrats and Republicans—or 24 percent—had turned out to vote in the two primaries for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Joseph I. Lieberman.

Only 336 Democrats out of 2,318 registered in town went out to vote, a turnout of 14 percent. Among Republicans, as of 2 p.m. the turnout was 1,710 or 33 percent. (See the table attached to this article for more detailed turnout information).

Perhaps the higher turnout reflected the fact that one of the GOP candidates, former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, grew up in Darien.

Polls close at 8 p.m. in Darien and statewide.

For Republicans, the race is between Shays and Linda McMahon, who as former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, worked about a block away from the Darien-Stamford town line on U.S. Route 1.

For Democrats, the race is between Chris Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz.

"Primaries here aren't very popular, especially when they're in the middle of summer," said Thomas Dunn, the town Democratic Registrar of Voters.

There were no major problems with the voting, Dunn said. Typical, minor problems are people trying to vote who discover that they're unaffiliated and haven't registered with one party or the other. In Connecticut, only members of a political party can vote in that party's primary.

Heather Pommernelle, election moderator at the District 6 polling place in the gymnasium at Town Hall, said one possible reason for the low turnout was that in each primary race one candidate was heavily favored to win.

"It always depends on whether voters think there's a foregone conclusion," she said. "Also, it's August."

In the Republican primary, McMahon is heavily favored to win over Shays; for Democrats, Murphy is widely believed to be the odds-on favorite over Bysiewicz.

Out of about 311 people who had voted in District 6 by 2 p.m., only two went to the wrong polling place. With redistricting this year, numerous town residents are now going to different polling places than they went in previous elections.

Any 17-year-old in Connecticut can vote today if he or she turns 18 by Election Day in November, Pommernelle said.

Editor's note: The headline has been changed with the word "Low" replacing "Abysmal." On further consideration, "Abysmal" looks like an exaggeration. This article originally was published at 4:21 p.m. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.

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