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Voters Want Experience, Jobs

Democrats and Republicans differ on many issues, but when it comes to primaries it seems voters from both parties focus on the same things this election cycle: candidates with experience, and jobs. When Paul and Carole Johnson cast their votes in the Democratic primary at Holmes Elementary School Tuesday afternoon, the pair said those two issues were the deciding factor.

"I've known (Dan) Malloy for many, many years," said Paul, referring to Ned Lamont's opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. "I have to say that I voted for Malloy, even though I wasn't going to," Carole added. "And I think it's because he has more political experience."

Voters from both parties also said they wanted candidates to bring more jobs to Connecticut, and cut back on government spending. Mary DiCarlo, who voted in the Republican primary at Darien High School, said it was one of her top concerns. "I grew up in the Depression," said DiCarlo, 84. "I think I was better off then than I am now."

Volunteers Kendall Edgar, Emily Luongo, and Robert Hendrickson saw "a constant, steady" flow of voters throughout the morning at Darien High School, but by 10 a.m. only about 95 voters had stopped by District 5's polling center. At about 2 p.m., the count across town at Holmes was 188. "There were a lot more absentee ballots requested," said Janet Offutt, supervising the voting at DHS. "It's just that it's an August primary, so a lot of people are out of town."

Offutt said her team of volunteers had been in DHS since 5 a.m., prepping the space and manning the polls. Although they'll be paid for their work today, and thankfully drew an air-conditioned site, they'll still be working well into the night, staying behind to clean up after polls close at 8 p.m. "It's going to be a long day," Offutt said.

Also in for a long haul, but without the luxury of A.C. was the group of volunteers stationed outside DHS. Rose Osterndorf, Erin McFadden, Susan Marks and Charline Pale gathered just outside the mandatory 75-foot radius from the polling center entrance to pitch for their chosen candidates in the Darien/New Canaan probate judge race.

Osterndorf brought McFadden along to Darien to campaign for her brother-in-law Bill, while Marks touted Michael McCarthy and Pale pushed for John Ryan. With not many voters to persuade, the four mostly chatted amongst each other through the morning. "We've been getting along well," Osterndorf said. "Even though we're with different candidates."

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