Brenda Kupchick, a Republican member of the Representative Town Meeting, won Tuesday's recount in the 132nd state House District by 21 votes, and her opponent, state Rep. Tom Drew, D-Fairfield, conceded the race.
Drew conceded in a phone call to Kupchick about 15 minutes after the recount totals were announced and confirmed his concession in a call to Fairfield Patch about 7:15 p.m. "I wanted to let her know first," Drew said. "She ran an excellent campaign, and I wish her real, genuine success as a state representative."
Drew, who had sought a fourth two-year term, said he wanted to thank his constituents in the 132nd state House District, which is entirely within Fairfield, for "their support over the years and the opportunity to serve."
"I hope I was able to do what I wanted to do from the beginning - create genuine progress in a bipartisan manner, and I hope I accomplished that," he said. Drew also thanked his campaign workers and supporters and the Fairfield Registrar of Voters' Office for its work in conducting Tuesday's recount.
Kupchick, about 6:20 p.m., confirmed that Drew had called her to concede, adding that she had a "tremendous amount of respect for Tom and think he was a good legislator."
Kupchick said Drew, of all the state representatives on the Democratic side of the aisle, was the one with whom she most would have liked to serve.
After a roughly seven-hour recount, Carlisle Spivey, the recount's moderator, announced that recount totals had Kupchick with 4,383 votes and Drew with 4,362 votes. On Election Day, Kupchick had 4,384 votes - one more than the recount total on Tuesday - and Drew had 4,370 - eight more than the recount total. Therefore, Kupchick picked up seven votes in the recount, boosting her margin of victory over Drew from 14 votes to 21 votes.
After Spivey announced the final recount totals in Fairfield Senior Center's gymnasium, Kupchick said, "Today was a great day in Fairfield. Republicans and Democrats came together in a Democratic process to recount votes. It took the whole day. Everyone acted very civil toward each other...There was no nastiness today. Everyone treated each other with respect."
Kupchick said she was "proud to be a Fairfielder, and I'm proud to be the next state representative for the 132nd District."
Kupchick at one point led in the recount by 27 votes, but Christine Niedermeier, a former Democratic selectman in Fairfield and state representative from Fairfield, asked that the votes be counted again in Districts 1 and 6 due to what she said were "double digit disrepancies" when those results were compared to results on Election Day. Spivey and Steve Elworthy, a former Republican selectman, re-calculated recount totals in those districts, and Kupchick wound up losing nine votes in District 6 and Drew wound up losing three, which put the recount's victory margin for Kupchick at 21 votes. Recount results in District 1 did not change after Niedermeier's request.
James Baldwin, chairman of Fairfield's Republican Town Committee, said it wasn't unusual for discrepancies to result in recount totals vs. results on Election Day since a Republican and Democratic poll worker during the recount examined each ballot to determine if a machine would read it before it was sent through the machine. If either the Republican or Democratic poll worker believed that a machine would not read the ballot, it was set aside to be reviewed by Spivey and Elworthy. Spivey and Elworthy did not disagree on any of the ballots that had been set aside.
Drew said it was too early to say if he would seek to regain his seat in the 2012 election. "I've got a lot of family and business matters to catch up on. I'm going to reflect," he said.
The recount totals were:
District 1 - Kupchick, 1,309 votes; Drew, 1,078 votes;
District 5 - Kupchick, 438 votes; Drew, 476 votes;
District 6 - Kupchick, 435 votes; Drew, 455 votes;
District 8 - Kupchick, 1,177 votes; Drew, 1179 votes;
District 10 - Kupchick, 1,024 votes; Drew, 1,174 votes