National division over presidential race reflected in local vote totals

National division over presidential race reflected in local vote totals

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Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden topped Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance in Connecticut while President Donald Trump’s support dipped in some area towns.

Results showed Connecticut, although reliably blue, is nearly as divided as much of the rest of the country.

Trump lost support in Wallingford, which went for him in 2016, 48.33 percent to Clinton’s 47 percent. This year, Trump garnered 45.89 percent of the vote to Biden’s 52.6 percent. In legislative races, Trump’s decline is believed to have helped some Democratic candidates.  

Trump picked up some support in Meriden where he netted 39.43 percent of the city’s votes as compared to 38.59 percent in 2016.

Trump also won Southington with 50.43 percent of the vote, but it was less than the 53.10 percent he took in 2016. Trump also won in Berlin. In Cheshire, Trump claimed 46 percent of the vote in 2016 but that support dropped to 42.19 percent this time. 

“It’s been a very interesting year for politics especially locally,” said Corey Nash, a former Republican town chairman and co-host of the political podcast “Cheshire Cast.” “People started to see through some of the fear mongering on some of the issues. Unfortunately, some of the members of the GOP highlighted supporting police” with little explanation. “What does that mean?”

Nash believes GOP candidates needed to recognize the importance of the death of George Floyd, which led to Black Lives Matter protests in Connecticut as well as the U.S. 

Not recognizing the underlying race issues  “turned a lot of people off,” he added. 

The 34th state Senate seat is also an indicator of a divided electorate. The district was held by Republican Len Fasano and was handed off to Republican Paul Cicarella.

The 34th District includes the towns of Wallingford, East Haven, part of Durham and part of North Haven. Cicarella defeated Democrat April Capone in the race for the open seat. Unofficial results showed Cicarella leading Capone 28,444 to 22,571. 

“It’s hard to predict,” said Wallingford Democratic Town Chairwoman Alida Cella. “The Capone race, it was hard to tell which way the winds were blowing.”

Biden may have won Wallingford but Trump won Durham, North Haven and East Haven, according to the Secretary of the State’s unofficial totals. Despite Trump’s unpopularity statewide, the three towns are a GOP stronghold. 

Cella doesn’t think the political division will end until the system gives voters “real choices.”  

“...there is no ability for third parties to represent the middle,” Cella said. “You have to go to the polls to keep out the lesser of two evils.”

Cella said the 2020 election results show the need for ranked choice voting. Ranked choice voting, which is done in some U.S. states and in other countries, allows voters to support their top choice but provide a second choice if the top one doesn’t win. “It’s like a run off,” she said. “A third party candidate can run without being the spoiler.”

Cella points to research that shows the trend toward ranked choice voting is predicted to get stronger as “the parties become more extreme and represent the middle less and less.” 

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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