Westport primary: Shays GOP favorite despite state loss; Murphy easy Dem winner
Updated 1:15 pm, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
While the candidates for U.S. Senate endorsed by both major political parties rolled to big statewide victories in Tuesday's primary voting, Westport Republicans bucked that trend while local Democrats added to their candidate's winning margin.
While Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and endorsed GOP candidate, surged to a big win over Christopher Shays, the former 4th District congressman, by a roughly 76 to 24 percent margin statewide, Shays proved the favorite of local Republicans with a tally of 872 votes to 603 for McMahon.
Westport Democrats, meanwhile, reflected the winning statewide margin of U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy over former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, giving their party's endorsed candidate 1,018 votes to 241 for the challenger. Statewide, Murphy won about 66 percent of the Democratic ballots Tuesday.
Here's a few comments by primary voters interviewed by the Westport News at the polls Tuesday:
Victoria Sybelnik, who does marketing for a home-care agency, voted for Chris Murphy in the Democratic Senate primary. She highlighted protecting Social Security and Medicare as a top concern.
"I don't believe in trickle-down economics. I think that having one less house is OK to feed people and help people who don't have a house. The wealthy 1 percent -- they just can't spend that much money in a lifetime."
Debra Smolka, a tutor, voted for Chris Shays in the Republican Senate contest: "I think he's a man of integrity. I think he's a true public servant, which I think is sorely lacking in Congress these days. He is certainly the preferred candidate in my eyes." She identified the economy, foreign policy and health care as the top issues.
"I'd like to see them create the right incentives for companies to grow their businesses and hire domestically, as opposed to outsourcing so many things. It doesn't mean I think we should be isolationist, because that's not the way to go. But I certainly think there are many more jobs that could be created here with the right incentives."
Jay Beckoff, a lawyer, voted for Shays. "I still believe he can be a person who builds bridges between parties," he said. "I don't understand why Republicans in this state are behind Linda McMahon. I see no redeeming values in her."
June Getraer, who works in real estate development, voted for Murphy. "I think he's smart, and he's aware," she said. "He's for everybody. His mother grew up in [housing] projects and he went to Harvard, so he has some perspective of the nation, which I think is very important.
"It really bothers me about the Republican Party how they get into people's bedrooms," she added. "I'm very concerned about civil rights. If they can have guns, I can have control over my health and my body."
Geoffrey Birt, a senior account executive at Salesforce, voted for Bysiewicz. "We liked her six-point plan for this upcoming term," he said. "I think her background and experience as secretary of the state will help her immensely."
Birt and Bea Mesa Birt, his wife and a manager at the Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, identified closing tax loopholes and reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., as top issues.
"They should make it so corporations can't give such giant donations to the parties," Mesa Birt said.