2009 Election liveblog

11:00: Final update. Republicans have a lot of reasons to be optimistic tonight, and I thinkCT Bob makes an important point–Democrats need to figure out what’s going on if they want to have any hope of retaining their supermajority next year. It’s hard to translate local election gains into success at the legislative level, but this is as much of a party-based tide as I’ve seen in the local elections I’ve covered. Usually there’s no real partisan focus to municipal elections. Not true tonight, and that should give Dems pause.

I am out of here.

10:55: One more: Republicans take control of the council… in NEW LONDON. Seriously! Everything is now officially bonkers, and Chris Healy is king of Connecticut. Wow!

10:27: Okay, that is just about it for me tonight… but here’s what I’m seeing. Lots of wins by Republicans, including strong holds in cities, and plenty of seats flipping their way. Republicans can feel good about tonight.

10:26: Derby still exists? How disappointing.

10:25: Looks like Mary Glassman (D) is headed for another term in Simsbury. I got that not from a news site or somewhere else, but from the town website. …Yeah.

10:20: Republicans retain council majority in Enfield. Congrats to Mayor Kaupin, Bill Lee and the rest of the GOP team! They also retained their majority on the BoE. I can report that the consolidation of polling places didn’t cause any headaches that I could see.

10:15: Incumbents, mainly Dems, not doing so well in Fairfield County.

10:14: What’s going on in Enfield? I haven’t the faintest clue.

10:12: Some good-ish news for Dems: a possible win in traditionally GOP Suffield, though it looks like it’s headed for a recount.

10:05: Lots of hits on the ol’ blog tonight. Hi everyone!

10:03: Courant’s election coverage is very, very sub-par this year.

10:01: If I had to guess, I’d say a lot of the Obama voters from last year stayed home.

9:53: Tonight’s narrative: REPUBLICANS. Did Dems win any big races? Many of the Dems who are winning are incumbents. Republicans showing a lot of pickups. Small and medium cities are trending GOP, add Stamford into that column. Somebody send Chris Healy a big fruit basket.

9:50: FINALLY results from Newington. CTGOP reports that Republican Jeff Wright won re-election. I’m not surprised at that either. Good to know what’s what in the 06111.

9:44: Republican Peter Nystrom declares victory in Norwich. Norwich Bulletin has lots of election results–they have been a consistently good source for the last five years.

9:42: Ward (D) wins in Bristol by a lot.

9:39: I’m hearing Republicans have won big in Cheshire.

9:33: Sarno wins up in Springfield, MA. Good. Funny how invested I’ve become in that place.

9:26: Republican win in Darien. Dems win in Weston. Republicans pick up majority on Wethersfield council. Interesting, that.

9:21: Dems win in Norfolk, Beacon Falls, Essex, Harwinton, Kent, Killingworth, Sherman, Putnam. Republicans win in Westbrook, Sharon, Preston, Middlefield, Goshen, Columbia, Burlington.

9:18: Boughton declares victory in Danbury.

9:05: Another term for Ryan Bingham in Torrington. No surprise there.

9:02: Pavia declares victory in Stamford. Dan Malloy grinds his teeth.

8:58: Ooo, it’s a good night to be a Republican. GOP picks up Somers, and there’s morerolling in on their Twitter.

8:57: The Herald reporting Tim Stewart barely hangs on against Tim O’Brien. Unofficial results show Stewart winning by less than 100 votes!

8:55: TER reports results for Eastford, North Stonington.

8:54: Turnout was modest in most places.

8:53: Just saw a report on Facebook that Democrats are big winners in Portland. Facebook! Oh newfangled technology.

8:47: Middletown Eye reports Giuliano wins. Blogs are totally beating the regular media.

8:46: What. There’s no way to see all towns at once on the Courant’s site. Boo!

8:41: I’m following CTGOP on Twitter, they’ve got good real time results.

Okay! Final election results liveblogging: GO.

8:36: Nationally, it seems like a good night to be a Republican–take from that whatever you will!

Results are starting to come in. Hat City Blog is covering Danbury (and Bethel), while East Haven Politics says the mayor has won there by a narrow margin.


This is the real backup of CT Local Politics. I wanted to do something to make sure the sure lived on somewhere after my hosting ran out, and I like having the archive. So that’s that.

You can find the 2005-07 CTLP at this old site.

You can also follow me at my new site, The Extrahuman Union, where I blog about books and politics. I also write a weekly column on Connecticut politics for CT News Junkie.

-Susan Jane Bigelow

Dodd Stays Chair of Banking Committee

Sen. Chris Dodd has announced he won’t be taking Ted Kennedy’s gavel in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, staying chair of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Said Dodd in a press release:

“As you all know, last winter, my friend Ted Kennedy asked me to lead his HELP Committee’s effort to reform our health care system. It was an honor to hold that gavel as we underwent the longest, most thorough markup in committee history, and passed historic legislation that cuts costs, protects patient choice, and guarantees every American access to affordable, quality care.
“We all had hoped that Teddy would be able to come back to see this through. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. But I intend to keep the promise I made. And so, I am pleased that I will able to continue the role he asked me to take on as the HELP Committee’s leader on health care reform.
“But we have important work to do on the Banking Committee, and I intend to see it through as chairman.

Sam Caligiuri seems to think that his campaign was in some way responsible for Dodd’s decision. I have my doubts.

Dodd’s other rivals took the opportunity to send out releases hammering him on his economic record.

Caligiuri, Simmons Pick Up Endorsements

With the focus shifting back to Washington, D.C. tonight for the President’s big health care reform speech, the contest for the Republican nomination has gotten a little less ink lately.  But that hasn’t slowed the campaigns down a bit.

The Simmons for Senate campaign released the names of six more State Central Committee members who will be supporting Rob Simmons’ candidacy.

“Rob Simmons is the candidate who can lead a Republican Party resurgence in Connecticut and across the nation,” said Jerry Labriola, Jr. of Wallingford, the State Central Committee treasurer and an attorney at the Naugatuck-based law firm of Labriola and Labriola, LLC. “In this most important of election years, Rob is our Party’s best hope. His experience, vision and commitment to Republican principles will make him an outstanding nominee, and a first-rate senator.”

The endorsements bring Mr. Simmons’ list of supportive delegates up to thirty, including 26 of the available 81 State Central Committee Members.

But Simmons isn’t having all the fun.  The Harwinton Republican Town Committee announced their endorsement of State Sen. Sam Caligiuri’s candidacy yesterday.

“As Chair of the Harwinton Republican Town Committee, I am pleased to announce that our Committee has voted to endorse State Senator Sam Caligiuri’s candidacy as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate race next year,” Candace Jones-Pacholski announced on Thursday. “We like what Sam is all about. His pledges to serve only two terms, to bring fiscal responsibility to the U.S. Senate, and his thoughtful approach are things we are all looking for in a candidate. And his outstanding record in the State Senate speaks for itself.”

It is impossible to calculate how many Convention votes the endorsement will yield Caligiuri as the delegate slates will not be chosen until next March.  Notwithstanding the results from municipal elections, Harwinton will send a four-member delegation to the State Convention in Hartford next May.

Just two percent of the expected 1450 delegates to the State Convention have declared their allegiance at this point.  But the Convention vote could easily knock one or more candidates out of the contest – making the endorsement chase a key test of organizational skill and likely support in the future.

West Hartford Students React to Obama Speech

From LocalOnlineNews.tv

Audio: Courtney Telephone Town Hall

This is a nice post to do today, when it seems like the debate over health care is starting to shift into the legislative endgame.

Rep. Joe Courtney held a telephone town hall on health care on August 24th. According to what Brian Farber, Deputy Chief of Staff/Communications Director for Rep. Courtney, said near the end of the call, about 3,500 residents listened in.

Click here to listen to the full conversation.

The questions, which were chosen by Courtney’s staff, reflect a wide range of strong concerns, and I think it led to a good discussion of some of the important issues surrounding health care reform. I wasn’t really sold on the idea of a telephone town hall at first, but the discussion that resulted here seems to suggest that maybe it works. It sounds much like a typical health care town hall, but without the grandstanding and charged emotional atmosphere. I like that.

Here’s a list of the questions (my paraphrases), which were asked by people from all over the district:

1. Is a public option a litmus test?

2. Why should people who don’t smoke, are obese or engage in unhealthy behaviors foot the bill for those who do?

3. How will we be able to continue Medicare coverage (it’s more complicated than that)?

4. The high cost of the bill. How can the bill be serious about containing costs without malpractice/tort reform?

5. Will illegal aliens be covered?

6. Is Medicare Advantage being abolished?

7. Fears over losing world-class facilities, and when will Congress fix broken programs for veterans and seniors? How can we insure a new set of people?

8. With more people having access to health care, who will provide it given a shortage of nurses and doctors?

9. Getting in debt and spending so much money makes the country unsafe. Government waste. Also, is there anything included I don’t want, will I have to pay for abortions?

10. You are awesome. Also, will there be caps on medical providers, to help contain costs?

11. Business and profit have no place in providing health care. What about removing the profit-driven aspect of the system?

Congressman Courtney gave what I thought were interesting and thorough answers for the most part. The questions themselves were certainly not softballs (except for possibly the last one), and Courtney was able to refer to specific sections of the bill currently under consideration to address many of the concerns expressed here. It seems like the major concern really was cost.

If you are interested in exploring some of the issues surrounding this huge debate, give the entire thing a listen. It’s just shy of an hour in length.

The Un-Veto

As part of her non-signing of the budget bill last week (it goes into effect late today) Gov. Jodi Rell said she would veto $8 million in spending that she referred to as “pork.”

Turns out that pork will stand after all. Oink!

Apparently there is the possibility of a court fight, and Gov. Rell doesn’t really want to bother with that. So the budget will pass in its entirety.

On Politics in the Classroom

The top story on the Hartford Courant’s website right now is entitled “Reactions Vary in Connecticut To President Barack Obama’s Speech to Kids.” Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the story lacks a single reaction from a student to Obama’s speech. Indeed, a single meager sentence describes the speech itself. Instead, the article consists primarily in cowardly bloviation from school administrators regarding why they did not carry Obama’s speech to Americas students, a tradition inaugurated and continued by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan.

As someone who spent his entire pre-collegiate education in Connecticut’s public schools, I feel like I have some experience with politics in and surrounding the classroom. My earliest political memory is casting a vote for Bill Clinton in my elementary school’s mock Presidential election. I fancied myself a Democrat. A friend, who thought himself a Republican, told me that I ought to have voted for Dole. “Bill Clinton is going to fire my grandfather,” he said. This didn’t make sense to me then. That friend is now regurgitating roughly the same line as an up-and-coming member of the national College Republicans, except “fire” has been replaced with “kill with a death panel.” I would hesitate to say that his views haven’t evolved, and would rather simply explain how mine have.

As a civically-minded student, I watched as Republican elected officials in my town sought yearly to slash the education budget. Annually, teachers and students and parents would get up in public meetings and implore their officials and fellow citizens not to cut AP programs, or after-school sports, or whatever was on the block that year so that those in the schools would have the opportunity to better themselves if they so chose. Often these requests fell on deaf ears. AP programs were called “taxpayer funded college credit,” rather than a necessary prerequisite if a student wants to get into a competitive institution of higher learning. Each year more students would sit in smaller classrooms and be afforded fewer opportunities.

I watched as Republicans around the country sought to strip or cripple science in our textbooks. I watched teen pregnancies increase as sexual education was curtailed by Republicans who thought themselves excellent moral arbiters. I came to know a couple of things. The first was that to be a public school student in the United States is to be a political football from the age of six to the age of (hopefully) eighteen. The second was that if one values a public education, one oughtn’t be a Republican. These lessons were not taught to be my any ex-hippie or socialist idealogue teacher, as the stereotype seems to be. Rather they came negatively from watching those in civic life who were openly hostile to a reasoned discourse and informed debate.

Currently we have a President who has inspired and empowered a previously unreached and unreachable demographic. Scholarship continually shows that a crucial element of raising educational standards and closing achievement gaps is increasing the educational involvement of the nuclear family. The President recognizes this and has spoken on it in the past, as other Presidents have. More importantly though, the Obama family is a powerful and modern example that activists seeking to improve education in this country have long hoped for. President Obama is a former teacher, a powerful writer, and a stirring orator. Not only should he be allowed to speak to America’s students, but he ought to speak to America’s students.

And yet we find ourselves once again in a silly–and I can think of no nicer way to describe it–situation. An element of this country, their own education belied by their general ignorance of the Presidents policies, actions, history, ethnicity (I could go on, getting embarassingly fundamental in my noun selection), have shrieked discordantly at the prospect of the elected President of the United States speaking to students in the public education system. Believing that in his speech telling students (as the Courant puts it all-too-briefly), “to take responsibility for their education, stay on track and set high expectations for themselves,” the President is actually somehow brainwashing and Communisting their unfortunate children. School administrators, as they always do, balked in response, and an event that should have passed generally with a “well that’s nice!” has instead been turned into another face-in-palm spectacle of general ignorance.

We have certainly taught something valuable to students with this sad story. One can only hope that they’re able to perceive it through the noise.

Lieberman on Health Care Reform

Originally posted by Scarce over at MLN. He is not a fan of a public option, and thinks that it is the major barrier to reform:

Long Weekend Open Forum

What’s on your minds?