Connecticut joins a five-state Romney sweep

Connecticut didn’t put Mitt Romney over the top Tuesday night in the delegate hunt, but it did deliver an easy win by 9 p.m., the time that the Associated Press declared victories for Romney in four of the day’s five presidential primaries.

Only in New York, where the polls close later, did the AP hold off on declaring an immediate sweep for the presumptive GOP nominee, whose focus has shifted away from Republicans to Barack Obama.

As of 11:30 p.m., incomplete results tallied by the secretary of the state’s office showed a turnout of 14.3 percent in Connecticut, with Romney carrying 67 percent of the vote.

Ron Paul finished second with 13.5 percent, Newt Gingrich was third with 10.4 percent and Rick Santorum, who suspended his campaign weeks ago, was last with 7.1 percent. Romney seemed to be on his way to carrying every city and town in Connecticut.

“In the end, the party regulars and the real diehards did exercise their right and privilege to vote,” said Jerry Labriola, the state Republican chairman.

Stamford, the host city for Ann Romney’s speech the previous night at the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, generated the most GOP votes, with 2,099. It had a turnout of 16.7 percent.

Only 10 towns had a turnout of more than 20 percent, led by three small towns: Warren, 26.3 percent; Union, 24.7 percent; and Bridgewater, 23.8 percent.

Bridgeport, Bristol, Greenwich, Glastonbury, Hartford, Trumbull and Westport were among the communities failing to report vote totals by 11 p.m. to the Secretary of the State’s office, which was making a new effort to collect vote totals in real time.

Romney bombed in the Connecticut primary four years ago, despite his having recently served as governor of neighboring Massachusetts. He won just 33 percent of the vote, compared with 52 percent for Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Early polling shows Connecticut tilting Democratic in November. No Republican presidential candidate has carried the state since 1988, when George H. W. Bush easily defeated another Bay State governor, Michael S. Dukakis, 750,241 to 676,584.

Paul, the Texas congressman, was on the ballot that year as a Libertarian.

“The current voting patterns have been blue, but I don’t think Connecticut is a blue state. The pendulum will swing back,” Labriola said.

Obama won 61 percent of the vote here in 2008, when Democrats won all five U.S. House seats.