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Democrats, Republicans Set For Today’s Primaries

July 21, 1987

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Campaign strategies of the candidates vying for the 4th district congressional seat were different, but the seven hopefuls all agree on one thing - voter turnout in today’s primaries is their main concern.

A field of three Democrats and four Republicans are in the hotly contested race for the seat left vacant by the death of Stewart B. McKinney, who died of AIDS in May.

John Pelto, political director for the Democratic Party in Hartford, said that the party is preparing to help its candidate in the Aug. 18 special election.

″This is a relatively quiet day for the party as opposed to the candidates where they’re into their final hours of campaigning,″ Pelto said. ″For us, it’s a preparation day for a campaign that begins Wednesday.″

The Democratic candidates are: attorney and former state Rep. Christine M. Niedermeier of Fairfield, who narrowly lost to McKinney last year; state Sen. Margaret E. Morton of Bridgeport; and Stamford banker and Finance Board Chairman Michael Morgan.

The Republican candidates are Stamford developer Frank D. Rich Jr., businessman John T. Becker of Greenwich; and state Reps. Christopher Shays of Stamford and John G. Metsopolous of Fairfield.

Also in the race are independent candidate Nicholas J. Tarzia, a Stamford plumber running under his own party called War Against AIDS, and Alan Abel, a Westport author and movie producer who is mounting a write-in cmapaign.

Republican State Chairman Robert Poliner said Republicans spent Monday emphasizing two things - that the voters go to the polls and that they realize the hours the polls are open are shorter than during a regular election.

Polls will be open today from noon to 8 p.m., in accordance with state law, Poliner said. During a regular election, the polls open at 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, the candidates were busy Monday with last-minute campaigning across the district.

″It’s a tossup,″ said Betsee Osborn, vice chairman of the state Republican Party who ran McKinney’s campaign since 1976. ″I think primaries are very hard to predict.″

″And we’ve had a lot of distractions - the hearings in Washington, the senior (professional golf) open here, the hot weather and the beach,″ she said.

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