In the battle of the Democratic Town Committee's "Young Turk" award winners, Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey easily won the party primary in the 133rd General Assembly district Tuesday to defeat challenger Matthew Waggner.
Unofficial results late Tuesday showed that Vahey, the party-endorsed candidate, defeated Waggner, the town's Democratic registrar of voters, by 668 votes to 272, including absentee ballots. Vahey won 71 percent of the total votes cast, with turnout for the Democratic primary at 25.1 percent of the overall enrollment.
Vahey, her supporters, family and friends, including her parents Justin and Stephanie McCarthy who drove from Pennsylvania to be here for the vote tally, gathered around her dining room table for the primary returns.
"I think it's the strength of the team," McCarthy said of her victory. "This is a team of people who are connected to the neighborhoods."
Waggner could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.
Vahey started in local politics with her election to the Representative Town Meeting before being elected to the Board of Selectmen in the 2011 municipal election. She decided to seek the state seat when fellow Democrat state Rep. Kim Fawcett, who currently serves the district, decided to run for state Senate.
Fawcett is seeking the 28th District seat vacated by Republican state Sen. John McKinney, who was unsuccessful Tuesday in seeking his party's primary for governor. She said Vahey doesn't need any advice from her.
"She has her own passions, and she's going to be an awesome representative for the district and the town," Fawcett said.
For Vahey, victory was achieved because, "We have to be able to separate the issues from the people, and debate our issues in a way that allows us to respect each other as individuals. I believe that with such a passion."
As more supporters arrived to join Vahey's celebration of her win, there was a phone call she had to take. "I just got a call from Governor (Dannel) Malloy," she said. "He said to tell you all he said, `Hi.'"
With the 133rd House District apportioned among seven of the town's 10 local voting districts, turnout in some of those districts was sparse. In District 4, for example, only four votes were cast -- all for Waggner.
Of the 98 absentee ballots cast in the primary, 86 were for Vahey and 12 for Waggner.
Vahey said Tuesday night she plans to take a break before beginning to campaign again for the November election, when she will face Republican Carol Way, a Representative Town Meeting member.