April 13th, 2012
Middletown – The Middletown Republican Town Committee’s straw poll revealed front-runner Mitt Romney as the clear winner at this gathering as the party nominee for the President of the United States 2012, but showed a different mindset as who the U.S. Senate nominee should be for the open seat this November with Senator Lieberman’s retirement. With a crowd of about fifty party supporters and campaign staff filling the room the majority of the event, lesser known Republican candidates Peter Lumaj and Brian K. Hill tied at 13 votes each to win over Former U.S. Congressman Chris Shays who followed right behind with 12 votes. Linda McMahon, who was the 2010 nominee and is now running a second time despite losing her last Senate race against then attorney general Richard Blumenthal by 12%, technically won with a 17 vote count.
Sources say, however, a group of students from Wesleyan were brought into vote for McMahon. Coming in to the Elks Lodge in athletic shorts and t-shirts, the line of young men filed in and left as soon as filling out their paper work. Noticeable to those in the room who’d been there awhile, attendees wondered if they were Ron Paul supporters, since Paul has a history of importing followers to straw polls to increase the likelihood of winning. With this in mind, if those students were imported for the event, without them McMahon would have perhaps received only 7 or 8 votes among her party colleagues, making Lumaj and Hill, two candidates without mainstream media attention garnering the most support.
Shays, Lumaj and Hill all were present to speak to their caucus. McMahon’s campaign manager Tom Scott spoke for McMahon. Kie Westby, also a U.S. Senate candidate did not appear but was on the ballot. He received no votes. Westby, an attorney like Lumaj and Hill, ran in 2010 for the fifth congressional nomination.
Wayne Winsley, a congressional candidate for Connecticut’s third district also came to speak to the crowd. He is hoping to replace long time democrat Rosa DeLauro this November. Winsley noted her twenty year record of spending taxpayer money and that it was time to get rid of career politicians.
In the Presidential poll, former MA Governor Mitt Romney won 54 votes, former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came in second with 22, Senator Ron Paul came in third with 15 and former PA congressman and Senator Rick Santorum who had been steadily challenging Romney until recently suspending his campaign due to lack of funds, garnered six ballots. Chadwick Ciocci spoke on behalf of Newt Gingrich and Chris O’Brien for Rick Santorum.
A former mayor of Middletown, Sebastian Giuliano, an ex-democrat that is now a registered Republican, also spoke at the straw poll event along with Middletown RTC Chairman and army veteran Ken McClellan. McClellan reminisced about serving in Iraq when people there could vote for the first time and reminded all how important it is to exercise their freedom and right to vote.