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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

West Hartford Students React to Obama Speech


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.

Long Weekend Open Forum

What’s on your minds?

Courant Issues Apology for "Plagiarism"

Sorry I’ve been in and out of the discussion the past couple of days. Now that I’m all moved in back at school though, my posting should pick back up.

While I’m waiting for class to start, I thought I’d post some excerpts from the apology the Courant published today for its role in the aggregation/plagiarism controversy I first wrote about here.

The Courant, after first denying the charges, has today published an apology for what it terms its “plagiarism” of other local papers. In the piece, Courant CEO Richard J. Graziano concludes:

In short, after an extensive internal review, we have determined that over the last several weeks The Courant plagiarized the work of some of our competitors. This was not our intent, but it is in fact what happened. We are taking corrective action to prevent it from happening again. We have also disciplined the individuals involved.

The apology itself is pretty comprehensive. While it’s good that the Courant came clean, it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and probably makes the Courant’s continued pitch for the efficacy of print media more difficult down the line.


Larson Town Hall in West Hartford

A good report here from