The marquee race in Connecticut turned out as expected on Tuesday night as former WWE CEO Linda McMahon cruised to victory in the Republican Senate contest, but we saw two surprises on primary night, one big and one small. First, the big one: Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy crushed Ned Lamont in the Democratic gubernatorial race despite trailing in polls, racking up a 57% to 42% margin with most precincts reporting.
It's not entirely clear how that happened. Lamont had led Malloy consistently in polls throughout the race, but Malloy had closed down the stretch. A 41% to 24% lead in May had become a 45% to 42% lead on Monday, according to Quinnipiac.
Though Ned Lamont ran a statewide campaign just four years ago in 2006, beating out Joe Lieberman for the party's Senate nomination, Malloy basically made up the difference in name recognition: in Monday's poll 19% said they hadn't heard enough about Malloy to have an opinion; 15% said the same of Lamont. It's not as if Connecticut Democrats dislike Lamont: he enjoys a 62% favorable rating. But somehow he lost out, and he lost out big.
So the magnitude of the Stamford mayor's win seemed to come out of nowhere, even though the victory itself wasn't as shock. Malloy will face Republican Tom Foley, whom he leads by double digits in polls.