Lines and waiting encompassed most of the polling locations in Waterford Tuesday morning, with thousands looking to cast their vote for President, as well as for Connecticut’s next Senator and several other races.
As of 9 a.m., just three hours after the polls opened, 2,457 Waterford residents had voted, or 12.5 percent of the town’s 13,076 registered voters. For both the town’s Democrat and Republican Town Chairs, they’d like that number to be even higher – especially with voters in their own respective parties.
At Waterford's Democratic headquarters this morning, several volunteers were calling registered Democrats to encourage them to vote. Waterford Democrat Town Chair J.W. “Bill” Sheehan said volunteers were even driving voters to the polls and encouraging them to vote for the entire Democratic team.
Much the same was happening at Republican headquarters as well, according to Waterford Republican Town Chair Kathleen McCarty. McCarty said she enlisted a service to call all unaffiliated voters in town encouraging them to vote for the Republicans, and was also driving people to the polls and calling them to remind them to vote.
Who is Going to Win?
Sheehan felt confident that State Representative Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, and State Senator Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, would defeat their two Republican opponents, Tony Siragusa and Mike Doyle, respectively. He was not so sure that, at least in Waterford, voters would choose Democrats Joe Courtney for Congress, Chris Murphy for Senate and Barack Obama for President.
Sheehan reasoned that Courtney’s challenger, Republican Paul Formica, was well known in Waterford, as he is the First Selectman of East Lyme and owns Flanders Fish House, a popular restaurant. However, Sheehan said while Formica has a chance to win Waterford, Courtney should most likely earn his fourth term in Congress.
Sheehan was less sure about Murphy defeating challenger Linda McMahon and Obama against challenger Mitt Romney. Waterford voters have supported candidates in both parties for executive positions, with the town favoring Republican George Bush for president in 2004 and Repubican Tom Foley for governor in 2011, but also voting for Obama in 2008.
The reason is because although there are far more Democrats in Waterford than Republicans, 3,986 to 2,645, the vast majority of voters are unaffiliated, with 6,363 overall, Sheehan said. Still, he said while it might be close, the president would eventually come out on top in both Waterford and in the country.
“I think it will be close, but it will go to Obama,” Sheehan said.
McCarty meanwhile admitted that it is difficult for Republicans to win in Connecticut, which has traditionally voted for Democrats, but said it could change. Connecticut is a land of high-taxes, high-regulations and little job growth, and if that continues the Republicans could seize the opportunity, she said.
“I think if (the public) continues to experience hardships, it will change,” McCarty said.