As published in the Record Journal Wednesday August 11, 2010
By Jesse Buchanan
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Jerry Farrell Jr., the Republican candidate for secretary of the state, didn’t face a primary Tuesday, but he spent the night visiting with fellow Republicans at victory parties keeping an eye on the vote to determine his Democratic opponent.
Denise Merrill, a state representative from Mansfield and the House majority leader, defeated former New Haven Alderman Gerry Garcia in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and will face Farrell in the general election.
“Tonight I’m just delighted,” Merrill said, adding that she’s looking forward to a positive campaign against her Republican opponent that “talks about the issues.” Farrell, a Wallingford town councilor and the state’s consumer protection commissioner, said he respected the campaign run by Garcia, who he said tried to engage disenfranchised voters.
Farrell called Merrill a “Hartford insider,” and said her victory gave voters a distinct choice in the general election.
Farrell spent much of the evening at U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s victory celebration in Cromwell accompanied by campaign staff and his wife, Natalie Campisi, and parents Gerald Farrell Sr. and Mary Ann Farrell, all of Wallingford.
While the governor and U.S. Senate races receive plenty of attention, Farrell said running for secretary of the state was a challenge since some are unaware of the office’s role. Attending the Republican victory parties is important in raising support, Farrell said.
“It’s a good place to be,” he said. “You’ve got to network with these people.”
While Farrell didn’t face a primary, he said fellow Republicans have been impressed that he’s been campaigning while Garcia and Merrill fought it out. That’s a message he hoped to get out while talking to Republicans Tuesday night.
“They know I’m out there working,” he said. “I haven’t rested on my laurels.”
Farrell said he hopes his supporters in the party will spread the word among their friends and family of his merits. He expects to do well in Wallingford, his hometown, but expanding beyond that will take work.
“Party people see there’s an energy there and I’ll keep that up,” he said. “That’s the kind of networking that radio and television can’t buy you.”
New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart, a Republican, said he’s supporting Farrell and was impressed with his work for consumer protection.
“You can’t say anything bad about the guy,” Stewart said. “He’s what you want in government.”