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Republican Tom Foley says he's ahead in Connecticut gubernatorial race

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 4:20 p.m.

Former Ambassador Tom Foley (R) said Thursday that his campaign's tabulations show him currently holding a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent in the Connecticut gubernatorial race, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, and that the results are within the margin for an automatic recount.

"We have a lot of confidence in our numbers, but I don't want to be presumptive about the result," Foley said in an interview with The Fix. He added that Malloy's camp and Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) are mistaken in declaring a Malloy victory.

"Dan Malloy is making a mistake by presuming and calling himself the governor-elect when we don't actually know the election results," Foley said. "And I think the secretary of the state is making a mistake by trying to make it appear that the results she has right now are final. And they are not reconciled with our results that show us up."

Foley's remarks came after Bysiewicz announced in a news conference Thursday afternoon that her office will not release an official vote tally until officials in Bridgeport submit their results. Bysiewicz did not have an estimate of when those results might be received.

In addition to contending that he's ahead in the race, Foley said that his campaign is not ruling out asking for a recount if final results show him trailing Malloy.

"If the secretary of the state certifies an election result that we don't think reflects an accurate vote and there would be a different result with a recount, then we would seek a recount," Foley said.

In a statement responding to Bysiewicz's announcement, Malloy's camp reiterated its confidence that the Democrat will emerge on top in the final vote count.

"Since early Wednesday morning we have said we're 100 percent confident that when the final vote is certified, Dan Malloy will be declared the winner by a margin comfortably outside what is necessary to trigger a recount. Nothing that's happened since has changed that," Malloy campaign manager Dan Kelly.

The Republican Governors Association also on Thursday expressed concern about the accuracy of the vote-counting process.

"Tom Foley led this race every step of the way until the Democratic Secretary of State chose sides and apparently started counting photocopied ballots and ballots cast after the polls closed," said RGA Communications Director Mike Schrimpf. "There are serious discrepancies and concerns about the vote counting process in Connecticut. Republicans will make sure the votes are counted fairly and accurately."

The new developments in the race to succeed retiring Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) come amid confusion over the Associated Press' call in the race.

The AP on Wednesday afternoon called the contest in Malloy's favor, based on preliminary results provided by Bysiewicz showing Malloy ahead of Foley by more than 3,000 votes. But late Wednesday night, the AP retracted the call after the official vote count showed Foley taking the lead by 8,500 votes with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

As of this afternoon, the latest AP total now shows Malloy again leading with 565,508 votes to Foley's 559, 268, a margin of 6,240 votes. Connecticut law calls for an automatic recount in statewide races where the margin of victory is less than 2,000 votes.

AP New England Bureau Chief William Kole told the Hartford Courant today that "out of an abundance of caution, we're just waiting" to call the race," adding, "We are looking at whether we want to call it back for Malloy."

The confusion Wednesday night appeared to stem from incomplete vote totals in the city of New Haven. Malloy campaign senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso said that the AP originally showed Malloy taking 7,741 votes there to Foley's 1,579 when it retracted its call, but updated results later showed Malloy taking 22,298 votes to 3,685 for Foley, a net gain of more than 12,500 for the Democrat.

A Malloy victory would bring to 19 the total number of governorships now in Democrats' hands, while Republicans would control 29; one state, Rhode Island, on Tuesday elected its first independent governor, former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee. Gubernatorial races in Minnesota and Illinois remain too close to call and may be headed toward recounts.

By Felicia Sonmez  | November 4, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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