Voters turn out for primaries

Michelle Rusgrove checks in to vote at DePaolo School on primary day. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



The primaries in Southington on Tuesday, Aug. 14 brought out more voters than the polls normally see. A total of 5,102 voters (33.21 percent of eligible voters) showed up to support their preferred candidates.

Locals at polling sites on Tuesday were eager to support their preferred candidates.

“To vote feels like my job,” said Matt Bunko after voting at Derynoski Elementary School. “Civic engagement is crucial, especially in this political environment.”

When asked what was on his mind in the polls, he said, “Transparency, real honesty, and people who mean what they say.”

“I voted to get this country moving and getting it back on track,” said Nancy Emery. “We have been over-taxed for so many years. We need lower taxes for everyone, especially seniors. It’s difficult living on Social Security.

Corie Lanning, a voter at the DePaolo Middle School polls, said it is the right of an American to vote.

“We should be encouraging more people to come out,” she said. “I was voting for what would be good for Connecticut. I believe we need to be mindful of what’s happening in Hartford.”

According to the registrar of voters, there was no state primary election in 2016, and only a Republican primary in 2014. But, in the 2012 state primaries, only 3,140 voters came out (22.08 percent of eligible voters), and in the 2010 state primaries, 3,936 voters came out (25.38 percent of eligible voters).

Primary elections occur prior to general elections and place candidates of the same who are running for the same office up against each other. It is the voter’s job to decide which candidate they think will best represent their party in the November election.

Southington Republicans selected Bob Stefanowski for governor, Joe Markley for lieutenant governor, Matthew Corey for U.S. senator, Thad Gray for treasurer, Mark Greenberg for comptroller, and Sue Hatfield for attorney general. The only candidate who did not win statewide was Mark Greenberg – his opponent Kurt Miller won.

Southington Democrats selected Ned Lamont for governor, Susan Bysiewivz for lieutenant governor, Dagmara Scalise for state senator of the 16th district, Shawn Wooden for treasurer, and William Tong for attorney general. District-wide, Scalise and her opponent Vickie Orsini Nardello were a mere 38 votes apart.

Nardello won the democratic primary seat for senatorial district 16 by a margin of 0.7 percent. Although it came close, there was no recount. A recount, according to the office of the secretary of the state, occurs when two opponents are 20 votes apart or less.

Scalise, a Democratic member of Southington’s Planning and Zoning Commission, is currently one of seven total members on the board.

“If she wins the general election in November,” said PZC chair Mike Del Santo (R) the day after the primaries, “then the Democrats would have to appoint someone to finish her term. The primary is still undecided due to close votes, but even if she won, she can continue to serve on the PZC until – and if – she wins in November.”

Dagmara Scalise and Joe Markley, both Southington residents, won resoundingly in their hometown. Scalise secured 1,583 votes, while her opponent got only 794. And Markley, current senator of the 16th district, secured 1,914 votes while his opponents Erin Stewart (613 votes) and Jayme Stevenson (100 votes) lagged behind.

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