November 15, 2010
Bridgeport's Missing Republican VotesBy Peter Raymond
Where did all the Republican votes go in Bridgeport, Connecticut? Either over half of the traditional Republican voters in gubernatorial elections were no-shows on November 2 or the Constitution State's most populous city...lost its constitution.
Bridgeport is certainly not the sort of idyllic Norman Rockwell town found throughout most of Connecticut. It has long endured political corruption and patronage, high rates of poverty and crime, a shrinking economy, a declining population, and more recently, an infestation of radical progressive groups such as ACORN, AFL-CIO, WFP, and SEIU. Bridgeport did not earn the nickname "Chicago of the East" for nothing.
Despite its proximity to some of the wealthiest communities in the country, this small coastline city and former manufacturing center has not shared in its neighbors' spectacular growth and prosperity. This undoubtedly is due in part to the influx of social justice organizations, which seem to spread poverty, slums, and welfare dependency wherever they set up shop. Detroit is a textbook example of the desperate plight these community agitators cause when they gain political power and rip to shreds the industrial and economic base of the community.
Since 1928, Democrat gubernatorial candidates in Connecticut received the majority of votes in all but four general elections. It is interesting to note that a Socialist Party candidate received more votes than either the Democrat or Republican in 1938, and a Socialist held the mayor's office for 24 years until 1957, when he lost the election as "a consequence" of his "conservatism." With this voting record, it should come as no surprise that the Democrat won a majority in this election.
However, the off-the-cliff drop in the number of votes cast for the Republican candidate this election when compared to previous elections is puzzling. Just 4,099 votes were cast for the Republican, which is by far the lowest number all the way back to 1922. Furthermore, it is a 32% plunge from the previous low of 6,094 votes in 2002 and an astounding 51% drop from the 8,366 votes in the last gubernatorial election in 2006.
When compared with the ten previous elections, the results of this one reveal an even greater deviation. Republican gubernatorial candidates averaged 11,449 votes, so that means that in this election, there was a jaw-dropping difference of 64% from the ten-year average.
Meanwhile, the Democrat candidate benefited from a 59.5% jump in votes from the last election and a 6% increase above the ten-year average.
Of course, it is quite possible that Bridgeport's conservative voters are leaving the city in droves and being replaced by more liberal constituents. Nonetheless, these are dramatic changes for such a short period.
Also, it is important to acknowledge there has been a perceptible shift to the left in Connecticut over the last decade, and registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. The Democrat party controls both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly with overwhelming majorities. Democrats also hold all five U.S. congressional districts and both U.S. Senate seats.
This is truly a deep-blue liberal state, and it is has the enormous budget deficit and sanctuary cities to prove it. Connecticut has the "highest tax-supported debt" of any state in the nation and suffered the embarrassment of having its bond rating lowered earlier this year.
This gubernatorial election alone represents a 15-point swing from Republican to Democrat in just four years. Furthermore, the total of statewide votes was the lowest for a Republican since 1994 and the highest for a Democrat since 1986. Clearly, the trend to the left is showing no signs of slowing -- and it may actually be accelerating.
It was not that the Republican candidate, Tom Foley, was unpopular. Foley led in the polls for several weeks before the election, and fewer than 7,000 of the over 1.1 million votes decided the outcome.
Notably, Foley won in 76% of the 169 towns in Connecticut. Of course, most of these were traditionally conservative rural farming towns, complete with small populations and vote tallies which were easily overcome by the ultra-liberal constituencies in the cities.
So something else must account for the historic results in Bridgeport that were not duplicated elsewhere in Connecticut.
Perhaps the bizarre string of events in Bridgeport during and after the election was a contributing factor.
From the beginning, it was obvious that Bridgeport officials did not order enough ballots. Just 21,000 ballots for 69,000 registered voters were available at polling sites in an election expected to draw unusually high voter turnout, especially since President Obama and Bill Clinton campaigned in Bridgeport just days earlier to rally the base in support of Jim Himes and Richard Blumenthal. Ballot shortages caused some polling places to run out of ballots more than once, and an undetermined number of citizens left without voting because of the extensive delays and long lines.
Poll workers resorted to photocopying ballots, which is a violation of state election procedures. Despite assurances by the Secretary of State that photocopied ballots would be segregated and counted publicly, the integrity of the vote count was unquestionably compromised.
A poll watcher was escorted by police from the polling area when he strongly objected to the mixing of official ballots with unofficial photocopied ballots. In the linked video, you can see the poll worker ignore the complaints of the poll watcher and continue stacking and mixing ballots.
The Mayor of Bridgeport observed several anomalies -- among them the accidental receipt by some voters of more than one ballot, overflowing bins of completed ballots, and unsupervised and untied ballots bags.
In response to the mayor's request, a judge ordered polling places to remain open an additional two hours to allow voters who had left to return and vote. This was possibly the first time in Connecticut that such a thing has happened.
City officials used the emergency 911 reverse calling system to alert residents that polling sites would remain open. No details were provided as to who was called.
The Secretary of State declared Democrat Dan Malloy the "unofficial" winner the day after the election even though the Secretary's office was still reporting that Malloy was trailing by 8,000 votes -- and the Bridgeport votes had not been counted.
On Thursday, two days after the election, a "surprise" bag of uncounted ballots was found by "Democrat operatives." GOP officials asked the police to take custody of the bag.
On Monday, November 8, Foley conceded.
One quote seems to aptly apply:
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."- Thomas Jefferson