3:40 a.m. full rewrite.
NORWALK, Conn. – Karen Doyle Lyons, the 14-year veteran Republican registrar of voters, survived an attack from her own party leadership to win Tuesday’s primary over the GOP-backed candidate, John Federici.
The unofficial vote totals were 769 to 651. The totals do not include the 152 Republican absentee ballots.
“It’s a disappointment,” Federici said Tuesday night. “It was a lot of work. It was relentless.”
The Republican Town Committee fought hard to displace Lyons, calling into question her work ethic, competence and ability to get long with others. The RTC leaders also complained that she was not doing enough for the Republican Party.
Lyons fought back publicly, and a war of words erupted in various media letters to the editor and comment sections.
Last weekend, a flyer was sent out by Federici’s campaign with misinformation about where to vote. Lyons’ backers seized on the incident and turned it to their advantage. Lyons already had the support of Democratic co-workers in the registrars office – something that flew in the face of reports she could not get along with co-workers – and they jumped into action to correct the error, sending out a press release and holding a press conference to call attention to the problem.
RTC Chairman Pete Torrano said there are no plans to try to challenge Lyons on a minor party ticket.
“The voters spoke,” he said. “It’s over with. We have our candidates going forward, and we’ll get behind them.”
Lyons said she could not have made it through without her support system.
“My family and my friends are phenomenal,” she said, highlighting numerous times her grandchildren. “They worked so diligently in my campaign. Without my family and my friends you see here, and my veterans…”
Lyons also praised Federici, who stayed above the fray and out of the mud-slinging.
“John Federici was a total gentleman, and he’s always been a total gentleman,” she said.
Federici said he wants to put the entire thing behind him and work to bring the party back together.
“My goal now is to unite the party, mend the fences, bring everybody back together again and move forward as a united Republican Party,” he said. “It’s the only way we can survive.”