Official Governor Results Released: Malloy Wins

Av Harris, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz's spokesman, took reporters' questions in her stead Friday after reading the official statement. (Richard Messina / Hartford Courant)

Official numbers released by the Secretary of the State Friday evening show that Democrat Dannel Malloy will be Connecticut's next governor. But Republican Tom Foley still wouldn't concede defeat in the state's closest gubernatorial election in half a century, and didn't rule out the possibility of a lawsuit to force a statewide recount.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, the state's top election official, released a statement Friday night showing 566,498 votes for Malloy and 560,861 for Foley — a difference of 5,637 votes.

"This final result exceeds the 2,000-vote margin necessary under state law to trigger an automatic statewide recount," Bysiewicz said in her statement. "Therefore, there will be no statewide recount."

But Foley later said he was unmoved by Bysiewicz's pronouncement. "Nothing's changed by her publication of these numbers," he said. "We're not going to take her word for it, let me put it that way."

Foley said that Bysiewicz, a Democrat, mishandled the election results so badly that "her personal credibility is completely shot."

He added that shifting vote totals in the days since Tuesday's election, as well as problems with actual voting, especially in Bridgeport, will require days of examination "so that everybody can be comfortable with the result of the election and that the next governor was legitimately elected."

Malloy did not talk with reporters Friday night, but his top campaign aide, Roy Occhiogrosso, said Bysiewicz's announcement only confirmed what Malloy and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, have been saying for days: They won.

"It's good news," Occhiogrosso said. "We've been saying since early Wednesday morning that we are 100 percent confident that Dan and Nancy have won the election by a margin comfortably outside what would require a recount. They are both squarely focused on the transition" to taking office on Jan. 5, he said.

Asked his reaction to Foley's comments, Occhiogrosso said: "Tom Foley has to make decision as to what he thinks is the right thing to do. Dan and Nancy appreciate and respect his perspective, but that's a decision for him. … We are very comfortable that this election has been decided."

Asked when Malloy would be speaking for himself about the results, Occhiogrosso said, "as soon as he gets his voice back," but didn't specify a day.

Friday night's verbal exchange came after a tumultuous day that began with a press conference by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, where he said after an all-night vote-counting session by local election officials that Malloy had gained enough votes to overcome the 8,409-vote lead Foley held before the city's votes were tallied. The all-important Bridgeport count went for Malloy, 17,973 to 4,099.

Bysiewicz's office has until Nov. 25 to give final certification to the Election Day results that her office spokesman, Av Harris, announced at a state Capitol press conference at 6 p.m. Bysiewicz had been expected to speak publicly about the election Friday, but instead issued the press release with the vote totals, leaving Harris to face reporters who had questioned his boss closely about the prolonged delay in the Bridgeport vote count and other problems.

The Nov. 25 deadline for final certification of election results allows time for any recounts and resolution of problems among the hundreds of races statewide. And, of course, the primary race with problems yet to be resolved is the governor's election.

Foley, speaking at a press conference in Hartford about 10:30 a.m., said it might be days until he decided whether to challenge the results or concede the race. "Until we know what an accurate vote count is, we're not going to make any decisions," he said.

Before that can happen, Foley said, he and his campaign staff need to resolve some issues. Those include sorting through shifting town-by-town vote totals. He noted that he'd picked up 2,000 votes in Torrington a day earlier when local officials amended their final tally; that amended tally was included in the statewide totals that showed Malloy up by 5,637 votes Friday.

Foley said, "These numbers will change, and they could change by the amount of this [5,000-plus vote] margin. Probably not — but they could."

Foley also said he also wanted to meet with Bridgeport officials about the extraordinary problems that occurred there on Election Day, when polling places ran out of printed ballots, leading a judge to order that voting be extended by two hours.

"We want to make sure we have that confidence, based on what the legitimate vote was on Tuesday," he said. "We're going to take whatever time it takes to get there."

Malloy responded about three hours later with a press release that said almost exactly what Occhiogrosso would say Friday night. Malloy's statement went on to say: "As is the case with more than a few other races in other states across the country, this race is taking a few extra days to play out. Nancy and I think it should be allowed to play out in an orderly fashion and we support the process established by law."