Foley concedes defeat, but GOP wants probe of Bridgeport vote
Published 3:55 pm, Monday, November 8, 2010
HARTFORD -- Republican Tom Foley has accepted defeat in the state's contentious 2010 gubernatorial election.
Foley announced Monday afternoon he will not challenge last week's loss to Democrat Dannel Malloy.
"It was a conclusive victory for Dan Malloy, and these results should not be questioned," Foley said Monday.
He said a weekend review of voting across the state by his legal and political advisors "showed no credible evidence of fraudulent voting."
But it doesn't end this bizarre chapter in the state's electoral history.
Republican State Central Committee Chairman Chris Healy earlier Monday said he would file a request with the U.S. Justice Department and with state authorities to investigate the way Bridgeport officials handled the Election Day flow.
Foley's announcement came six days after a ballot shortage in Bridgeport, caused by the failure of local voter registrars to order enough paper ballots, slowed down voting to the point where some voters left polling places without casting ballots, while others were allowed to vote for two hours after the legal 8 p.m. deadline.
According to Bridgeport registrars' data, 57 ballots for governor cast after 8 p.m. were counted in the city's final results.
The outcome of the Nov. 2 election was held up until last Friday, when Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced that Malloy had won by nearly three times the margin Foley would need to prompt a recount. That margin was revised slightly Monday, to 5,810 votes from the previous 5,637.
But Healy, Foley and their legal advisors have big questions about the printing of the copies, which could not be read by the optical scan machines at the polls, and the chain of custody in which ballots were kept at the polling places and eventually transported to the harried offices of the Bridgeport voter registrars.
Foley noted at his news conference that photo-copied ballots had been used in six other towns, in addition to Bridgeport, after registrars had run out of ballots and that those ballots combined exceeded the margin of Malloy's victory.
But after reviewing what he described as a chaotic day of voting and a protracted ballot-counting process in Bridgeport, Foley said, "I'm not willing to pursue a legal challenge to exclude the photo-copied ballots in Bridgeport, because I do believe they represent legitimate votes."
He also said that enough disturbing questions had been raised that "certainly what happened in Bridgeport should be looked into."
Foley said he would call Malloy after his news conference to offer his concession and best wishes. Malloy has scheduled a 4 p.m. news conference in Hartford.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, while vehemently criticizing the registrars for their decision to order only 21,000 ballots, has defended the integrity of the overall election in Bridgeport. All told, 23,158 people voted in Bridgeport, according to registrars' tallies, including 1,259 absentee ballots that were counted.
Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland from Greenwich, spent about $12.5 million, including $10.5 million of his personal fortune, running for his first elective office. Malloy participated in the state's voluntary public-financing program, which limited him to $8.7 million.