by Jacqueline Stoughton and Ruth Bruno
The race was still too close to call when incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D-CT) confidently declared victory over challenger Tom Foley (R-CT) from his campaign headquarters in Hartford Tuesday night.
“We don’t have the final numbers but we know what the big numbers are and we are going to win this thing,” Malloy declared over applause from supporters, while thanking voters who came out.
Despite the inconclusive results, Foley all but conceded the results from his own headquarters in Greenwich.
“Don’t get too excited, because we have probably lost this race,” Foley told the crowd. “But I’m not going to confirm that we lost it until we’re sure that we’ve lost it.”
Results were too close to call throughout the night as the entire process of counting all the paper ballots in the state was underway. Malloy and Foley both took multiple turns claiming the lead; the ending result had Malloy with 50.37 percent of the vote, while Foley had 48.56 percent.
Senator Richard Blumenthal was in attendance at the Democratic event to show his support for Malloy; specifically his future plans to invest in higher education.
“I think that there will be continued investment in higher education, particularly in better schools, I think people need more of the skills to fill positions that exist right now and that’s very important for higher education to do,” said Blumenthal. “The cost of education is absolutely staggering. It’s financially crushing and it inhibits our economy profits because people can’t buy homes, start businesses or build families.”
Blumenthal explained that Gov. Malloy understood the importance of investing, not spending, in higher education.
“If Malloy were to be re-elected it would be fantastic for college students,” said Bobby Berriault, Central Connecticut alum. Berriault explained that Malloy’s plans to expand the government scholarship program would be most beneficial to college students.
According to a Stamford Advocate report conducted in May 2014, the average amount of outstanding debt for Connecticut residents is at around $25,100 per borrow, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York analysis. This is among the highest debt rates in the nation, most of which is burdened on students who take out various loans in order to pay tuition for a higher education.
Bethy Guiles-Smith of Southington explained how she personally believes that the governor is the best person for the job when it comes to tackling issues within the educational system. “He would be more than willing to negotiate in ways that he would be willing to lower education costs for the next generation,” she said.
Members of the public along with state government officials who came out to the Society Room in Hartford continued the celebration of Malloy’s already achieved success in office and a successful second win. Lights from TV crews coupled with reflections of red and blue stars along the walls illuminated the room full of supporters. Classic rock boomed from the speakers circling the main room, keeping the audience alert as they eagerly awaited Malloy’s victory speech.
Paul Mounds Sr. of East Hartford explained that he sees Malloy as a great supporter of higher education, a direction that he believes Malloy will continue in as he begins his second term. Mounds said he thinks Foley’s mission may be somewhere else. It may not be focused in education as much as Malloy’s mission.
“A lot of us are very worried that Foley is going to dramatically cut funding for elementary, state and high schools. The problem is Malloy has been very specific about what he wants to do. We haven’t heard a lot of specificity from Foley,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “I think it’s pretty clear what the stakes are for Connecticut colleges. Governor Malloy is looking to greatly expand the programming at state universities. There is no way for Foley to balance the budget his way without cutting funds for the state university,”