Connecticut's Malloy Declared Governor-Elect as Democrats End Long Drought

Democrat Dan Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner over Republican Tom Foley in the race for Connecticut governor as the two sides sparred over election results. Foley refused to concede.

Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz said today that Malloy won, based on unofficial results that show him leading Foley by about 3,000 votes with almost all the ballots counted. It will take about a week to certify the ballots, said Av Harris, a spokesman for Bysiewicz. If the final margin is less than 2,000 votes, a recount is mandatory, Harris said.

The Malloy campaign’s internal poll data shows he will extend his lead, once all the ballots are counted, Malloy said today in a statement. He said he was preparing a transition team to take over from Governor Jodi Rell, 63, a Republican who didn’t seek re-election. Malloy, 55, will be the first Democrat to hold the office in 20 years.

“I want the people of Connecticut to know that I am committed to working on a smooth, orderly transition with Governor Rell,” Malloy said.

Foley Claims Win

The Foley campaign’s internal poll data show that the Republican will emerge with a slight edge when all votes are counted, said Liz Osborn, a spokeswoman. The state’s Republican Party also protested a decision by state courts to permit polling stations in Bridgeport to stay open until 10 p.m. after some precincts ran out of ballots yesterday.

Malloy, who led Stamford for 14 years, pledged during his campaign to overhaul the state’s tax code and develop a strategy to create jobs. On taxes, he promised to change what he said is an unfair and ineffective system that relies too much on property levies. He ran on a ticket with Nancy Wyman, the state comptroller, who would serve as lieutenant governor.

The last Democrat to serve as Connecticut’s governor was William A. O’Neill, from Dec. 31, 1980, to January 1991.

“Democratic Party loyalty in Connecticut won out,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a pre-election interview on the prospective results. Democrats in the state outnumber Republicans almost 2-to-1. “Connecticut is a very blue state in what is a very good night for Republicans elsewhere.”

Entrepreneur Turned Ambassador

Foley started and ran NTC Group Inc., a private-equity firm, before serving as U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 2006 to 2009. In his campaign, he promised to reduce the state government’s size as Connecticut strives to recover from the recession. The state’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in September, near a 34-year high of 9.2 percent in March.

Connecticut is the wealthiest U.S. state, with per-capita personal income of $55,063 in 2009, according to Commerce Department data. It also has the highest net tax-supported debt of all states at $4,859 per person, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Lawmakers drained a $1.4 billion budget reserve and borrowed $900 million to help balance the state’s two-year spending plan. Rell proposed selling more deficit bonds during the current fiscal year, a plan the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at mmcdonald10@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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