Evening update: 7,100-plus Westport ballots cast as balloting nears end
It was a busy day at the polls. As of 5 p.m., 7,143 of the town's 16,191 cast their ballots and three hours remained before polls close at 8 p.m.
At noontime, that number was 4,181. It's not known if today's voter turnout was higher than usual for a gubernatorial election year, according to Kevin White, the Republican registrar of voters.
And, as the voting hours wound down, candidates and their supporters -- of both parties -- were beginning to gather at their respective headquarters to await election results.
Earlier in the day, Republican officials gathered outside the polling station at Saugatuck Elementary School where Tom Foley, their party's gubernatorial candidate, made a pit stop, one of several planned during the day.
Foley, with his wife Leslie by his side, said he felt positive about the outcome of the day's election for the state's top job, his second bid for the post against incumbent Democrat Dannel Malloy.
"I think people are tired of taxes and the declining economy in the state," said Foley. "They want to restore pride in Connecticut."
He said that during his campaign he met a lot of people looking for change, and, he added, he was pleased with the campaign he ran.
As for the hard-hitting debates and rhetoric exchanged with Malloy, Foley said the governor "didn't talk about his record and how he raised taxes."
Foley added: "I don't know what will happen in the future if he gets re-elected,"
At the school to greet Foley were local Republicans running for state office.
"I'm feeling great, fabulous," said state Sen Toni Boucher, R-26, about her re-election chances. She said she had already been to five of the 15 polling stations in her multi-town district. "It's been very brisk," she said of the voting. She said Westport generally has a good turnout. "Voters here are more into what's going on," she said.
Boucher said there are a "lot of close" state Senate races. "If the Republicans can get in, it will be the first majority since 1994 and that only lasted two years," she said.
State Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143, was also feeling positive about the day's outcome and how she ran her campaign. "I'm proud it was so positive," she said. "Many people told me that, but that's what you do when you respect your constituents."
Brandi Briggs, trying to unseat state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-136, said she got "very good, positive feelings" from those she spoke to at the polls.
"I feel good," she said about her chances, adding she was out late last night still campaigning. "I did a lot of door to door and we had a very good digital presence," she added.
Also at the Saugatuck School during Foley's visit was Democrat Keith Rodgerson, who is challenging Lavielle. "I feel very good and it's a good day weather-wise so it should bring out a lot of people to the polls," he said. He said he thought he ran a good campaign that brought out a lot of issues and demonstrated the "deep contrast" on issues between him and Lavielle.
Steinberg said the good weather would add to the voter turnout, which, he said, would be a plus for him. He also said he has "no regrets" with the way he ran his campaign. "We did a lot of different things this year and had fun doing them," Steinberg said in a phone interview. He said he was able to get his message out. "People are aware of my record," he said.
Democrat Philip Sharlach, who is challenging Boucher, spent a portion of the morning at the Westport Library. "I'm a novice in politics," said Sharlach, about this, his first run for office. "It was quite an education that you will never get unless you are there." Sharlach said he ran an "educated campaign" that included three debates where he felt he was able to get his platform -- about transportation and the rail system -- out to the public.