HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — With his victory over wrestling magnate Linda McMahon, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy led a Democratic sweep of major races in Connecticut, which will once again send a congressional delegation to Washington without any Republicans.
Murphy, a three-term congressman from northwestern Connecticut, on Tuesday turned back a well-financed challenge by McMahon to claim the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Five other Democrats — including four incumbents — were elected to U.S. House seats, and President Barack Obama took the state's seven electoral votes. Connecticut has not sided with a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
State Senate minority leader John McKinney, a Fairfield Republican, said Obama's popularity in the state made it difficult for GOP candidates to compete.
"I think at the end of day, the performance of Gov. Romney and Linda McMahon and the four congressional challengers was not as strong as we would have hoped, and I don't know if I would say she hurt our ticket, as much as I would say that President Obama's popularity hurt our ticket," he said.
Election officials said turnout was heavy across the state and no major problems were reported, despite lines that had some voters waiting as long as 45 minutes.
"There were long lines across the state, but nobody ran out of ballots and everyone who was in line got to vote," said Av Harris, a spokesman for the secretary of the state's office.
A week after the shoreline was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, all but two of the state's 773 voting precincts were open, but some displaced by floods had to travel long distances to vote in their precincts.
Jody Eisemann, a 60-year-old acupuncturist, said the bottom floor of her house in Fairfield, Conn. was destroyed by flooding. She came from New York's Westchester County, where she is staying with her brother, to vote in a neighborhood that was still filled with downed trees, utility trucks and National Guard troops.
"It's a big pain in the neck," she said.
Democratic U.S. Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes all won re-election.
In northwestern Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty defeated Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback for the seat currently held by Murphy.
Connecticut's other U.S. senator, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, defeated McMahon in an acrimonious race in 2010. He said he was the happiest man in the room at Murphy's victory rally Tuesday night.
All the state's legislative seats were up for grabs, with Democrats expected to retain majorities in the House and Senate. Voters were also deciding local ballot questions on municipal spending proposals.
Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia, Susan Haigh in Norwich, John Christoffersen in Fairfield and Susan Haigh in Hartford contributed to this report.
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