Avon lawyer Martha Dean captured the Republican nomination for attorney general tonight, capturing 60 percent of the vote in her contest with Ross Garber of Glastonbury, according to unofficial results.

Garber, was chief legal counsel to former Gov. John G. Rowland during the latter’s 2004 impeachment inquiry, conceded around 10 p.m.

 “I’ve never seen the polls so empty,” said Dean, who credited her grassroots campaign effort for allowing her to face Ridgefield attorney George C. Jepsen, a former state Senate majority leader, in the general election. “But we had great volunteers all around the state working very hard, going door to door over the last month.”

Dean, who centered her campaign on a message of economic liberty and restraint against unnecessary government interference, became embroiled in a heated race against Garber.

While Dean threatened to sue Garber over a flier she argued misrepresented her position on decriminalization of certain drug offenses. “I believe we had the right message, Dean added. “We stayed positive and we stayed on message.”

Garber got a late start, entering the race only one week before the state convention. But he refused to blame his loss on the late start. “I’ll leave that to the pundits,” he said. “We worked hard. It was an important race to run. I’m happy I ran it.”

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