Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton CT Mirror
Bacchiochi, Somers, Walker

The Republican primary battle for lieutenant governor appeared to be over by mid-afternoon Wednesday when state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi of Stafford conceded the narrow contest to former Groton Mayor Heather Bond Somers.

Though official results still hadn’t been confirmed yet, Bacchiochi issued a written statement by email around 2:30 p.m. in which she pledged to work for party unity.

“This was not the result we had hoped for, that we had worked so hard for the last 17 months,” the Bacchiochi wrote. “But I fully accept the will of the Republicans voters.”

Somers would join Tom Foley, the winner of the primary for governor, on a GOP ticket facing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman in the November election.

According to unofficial results tallied through mid-afternoon Tuesday, Somers led Bacchiochi by 771 votes, 27,083 to 26,312. Former U.S. Comptroller David Walker of Bridgeport wasn’t far behind at 25,026.

“I want to thank all of our supporters, family members and staff for what was truly an exhilarating experience,” Bacchiochi added. “I was honored to be chosen as the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor at the convention, but this is another step in the process.”

Walker issued a written statement Tuesday morning that didn’t include a concession, but in which he nonetheless pledged to support the winner of the primary.

“I kept my promise to run a positive campaign and was honored to receive the endorsement of every Connecticut publication that decided to endorse in the lieutenant governor race,” Walker wrote. “… There is no question in my mind that Connecticut cannot afford another four years of (Gov. Dannel P, Malloy’s) administration.”

Somers issued a statement about 10 minutes after Bacchiochi’s that said she and Foley, “will bring an outsider’s approach to transforming Connecticut and reopening the state for business.  We both come from a business background and will make the hard choices to get spending under control in Hartford.”

Somers added, “The primary was a hard fought contest and I want to thank both of my opponents.”

On a day when only about 20 percent of Connecticut’s 401,000 registered Republican’s turned out to vote, there was no clear winner of the primary when the candidates wrapped their respective gatherings Tuesday night. And each campaign hinted a recount might be needed.

But it became clear by late Wednesday morning that a recount wasn’t likely.

State law mandates a recount when the margin of victory is less than 1,000 votes, or which it is less than one-half of 1 percent of the votes cast — whichever standard is smaller.

In this case, one-half of fewer than 79,000 votes cast meant a margin of less than 400 votes.

Av Harris, spokesman for the secretary’s office, said at mid-day Tuesday that results still were being received from the 169 cities and towns, adding only that a final tally would be announced “as soon as possible.”

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Keith M. PhaneufState Budget Reporter

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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