Westporter Obsitnik has spotty record at the polls
Updated 11:57 am, Thursday, August 23, 2012
Republican 4th Congressional District candidate Steve Obsitnik of Westport, who hopes to return the seat to the GOP in his first campaign for public office, missed a couple of historic chances to vote.
Obsitnik says he voted by absentee that year, but Westport officials said they don't have a record of it.
While registered in San Francisco in October 2003, Obsitnik also missed the opportunity to cast a ballot in the controversial election that removed Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to the Department of Elections for the city and county of San Francisco.
Obsitnik took out an absentee ballot, but the department reports that it wasn't returned by the U.S. Navy veteran who was a Silicon Valley executive at the time, living on Magnolia Street in San Francisco.
The Westport Registrar of Voters says Obsitnik did not vote in the 2008 election, won by Barack Obama, with Himes defeating Shays by 158,475 to 146,854 in the 4th Congressional District. Shays, who was the last Republican congressman from the entire New England region, won Westport that day by 7,983 votes to 7,002 for Himes.
"Steve voted by absentee in 2008, as he was traveling out of state for work," said John Puskar, Obsitnik's spokesman. Absentee ballots, under state law, must be received in the mail by local officials by the time polls close on Election Day; or may be hand delivered by the day before the election.
"In 2004 Steve was living in Minnesota and voted there, not in California." Obsitnik declined to comment on the apparent failure to vote in the 2003 recall election.
Minnesota voting officials confirmed that Obsitnik, then living on Arden Avenue in Edina, a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., registered to vote in November 2004 and cast a ballot in the 2004 general election.
But the San Francisco elections officials said Obsitnik took out an absentee ballot from his Magnolia Street address for the October 2003 ballot measure that divided the state and thrust Schwarzenegger, the cigar-chomping tough-guy movie star, into the governor's office. But Obsitnik never mailed in the ballot.
In fact, San Francisco officials report that of the eight chances he had to vote between 2001 and 2004, Obsitnik only cast three votes, including the November 2002 general election.
Twice he returned completed absentee ballots and once, the November municipal election of 2001, he voted in person, according to the records. Seven times he took out absentee ballots, but five times in 2003 and 2004, he did not return them.
Justin Myers, Himes's campaign manager, said Saturday that Himes is focused on his job representing southwestern Connecticut in Congress. "The voting history of anyone seeking public office is important," he said.
Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Democratic State Central Committee, was more-partisan in reaction to Obsitnik's voting lapses. "It doesn't appear that Steve Obsitnik had a strong commitment to the electoral process," she said.
"I have to wonder whether he'll make it to the polls in November."