Hours after a new vote tally confirmed Dan Malloy as Connecticut's first Democratic governor in more than a decade, Republican candidate Tom Foley took to the podium not to concede, but to say a recount may be necessary to obtain an accurate vote.
"Connecticut deserves better, Connecticut deserves to know what the actual votes were. Until we know that, we don't want to make any decisions," Foley said Friday, adding that it could take a few days to as much as a week to make the final determination.
Connecticut voters have been in the dark since Tuesday as to whom their next governor will be, as the contentious race, with both candidates declaring victory at times, wages on. Much of the discrepancy stems from the heavily Democratic city of Bridgeport, where polls stayed open until 10 p.m. on Election Day and a shortage of ballots forced officials to improvise with photocopies, creating long waits for voters and questions about the accuracy of the tallies.
Foley also blasted Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz for releasing official numbers and said numbers have since been revised. The numbers in Torrington, for example, were amended to show an additional 2,000 votes in his favor. The official numbers are still being tallied and will be given to the Secretary of the State, who still has to certify them, on Friday.
"We're going to take whatever time it takes to get there," Foley said. "I am determined and I think the voters of Connecticut should be as determined that we have an accurate vote as to how we voted Tuesday."
Later Friday, Malloy expressed appreciation for Foley's perspective, but said he and his team were "100 percent confident" that they won the race.
"We’re as anxious as everyone else is to get the final numbers," he said in a statement. "As is the case with more than a few other races in other states across the country, this race is taking a few extra days to play out ... It should be allowed to play out in an orderly fashion and we support the process established by law."
But when -- and how -- it does play out remains a significant question.
Hit with a torrent of calls regarding when the official results would be available, Bysiewicz's communications director released a statement that said, essentially, "I don't know."
"As of 11:30 a.m. we still have not received the return from Bridgeport. Once the return is received by our office, the data will be entered to our computerized database. Then the result will be tabulated. Then the figures will be double and triple checked to make sure any errors are eliminated," explained Communications Director Av Harris.
"When we are confident that we have a complete and accurate election result, then we will release it to you. Secretary Bysiewicz will not have anything to say until then. I appreciate your patience."
In the meantime, both Foley and Malloy are moving ahead with transition teams.
"To do otherwise would be irresponsible," the Democrat said Friday afternoon.
When Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch spoke with the media just after 6 a.m., it looked like Malloy won the election in the state's largest city by more than 13,000 votes, enough to give him the edge in the disputed governor's race.
Finch said Malloy had 17,800 votes compared to 4,075 for Republican Tom Foley.
Chris Covucci, state field director for the Foley campaign, spoke after the mayor released the numbers and said the numbers that were to be faxed out on Thursday night had Malloy with fewer votes than he had this morning.
"There are a number of numbers that have been bouncing around, at least three, and it’s inaccurate to say this is the final number," Covucci said. "We think the tallying process was flawed."
Still, Foley acknowledged Friday that the numbers he received in Bridgeport were lower than his team initially calculated. Asked about what that meant for his campaign or his readiness to concede, Foley replied, "You wouldn't get into politics if you didn't prepare yourself for not succeeding in a race."
On Thursday, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz released all the numbers with the exception of Bridgeport.
Foley had 556,787 votes without Bridgeport. Malloy, and Malloy’s Working Families party have a combined 548,347. That’s a difference of 8,409 votes without the state’s largest city, which tends to vote for Democrats.
Malloy's campaign released a statement just after 7 a.m. Friday reasserting its confidence that the Democrat had won.
"We’ve been confident that Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman would be declared the winners," said Campaign Manager Dan Kelly. "We’ll wait for the Secretary of the State to make it official, and will then have more to say."
The news from Bridgeport also comes after Democratic operatives approached Republican officials about a surprise bag of uncounted ballots, according to Bridgeport GOP Chairman Marc Delmonico.
Since Tuesday, Bysiewicz and Finch have blamed the registrars of voters in Bridgeport for the problems because they did not order enough ballots for all registered voters.
"There was ineptitude in the process of ordering ballots and I am very upset about it,” Finch said. He has named a three-member panel to investigate.
He also placed blame on the Secretary of the State.
“I will also say, the Secretary of the State’s office should have caught this mistake,” he said.
One reporter asked the mayor if the ballot shortage was a financial matter.
"It was, by no means, a financial matter. ... There is no doubt the city of Bridgeport has its financial challenges, but I would never, ever scrimp on making sure there are enough ballots. My office was never requested to have more money. This is a mistake that was made on behalf of the registrar’s office and the blame squarely falls there and we’ll see what else went wrong after it’s been investigated.”
This has been a tough year for the city but, Finch said, they would not cut back on ballots.
“We’ve been through … (what) is probably the most difficult summer any administration has ever been through. We lost two firefighters, we were hit by a tornado and then got no compensation for all the damages. We have an $8 million hole in our budget. These are not easy times,” he said. “If government, once every two years, has to make sure that there are enough pieces of paper available for the Democratic process to work, then we have let people down if we do not have enough ballots and it will never happen again. ”