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Republicans, Democrats Choose Congressional Candidates

July 22, 1987

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Democrat Christine Niedermeier and Republican Christopher Shays easily won their party primaries Tuesday and will face off in a special election to fill the congressional seat left vacant by the AIDS-related death of U.S. Rep. Stewart B. McKinney.

Niedermeier, a former state representative from Fairfield who nearly defeated McKinney in the 1986 election for the 4th District seat, declared victory in the three-way Democratic primary less than an hour after the polls closed.

Shays, a state representative from Stamford, claimed victory after all but one of his three opponents conceded.

The special election will be held Aug. 18.

″I’m just ecstatic,″ Niedermeier said at her Fairfield headquarters, a converted gasoline station. ″I never in my wildest dreams would expect a win this overwhelming.″

Shays, who was heavily outspent by two of his opponents, attributed his win to effective work by his campaign volunteers.

″Isn’t it nice to know money can’t buy everything?″ he asked as he claimed victory.

Unofficial returns from the district’s nine towns showed Niedermeier with 13,843 votes, nearly a 2-1 edge over her nearest competitor. Stamford Banker and Finance Board Chairman Michael Morgan had 5,018 votes, while state Sen. Margaret Morton of Bridgeport had 7,256.

Shays had 10,344 votes in the four-way Republican primary, according to unofficial returns. Businessman John T. Becker of Greenwich had 7,263 votes; Stamford developer Frank D. Rich Jr. 6,658; and state Rep. John G. Metsopolous of Fairfield 2,963 votes.

Rich and Becker spent more than $200,000 each on their campaigns. Shays spent about $80,000 and Metsopolous about $20,000.

Also in the race next month will be 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 mounting a write-in campaign.

McKinney, a moderate Republican, had represented the district since being elected in November 1970. He died in May from AIDS-related complications.

His doctor said the congressman became infected through a blood transfusion, but some news reports quoted sources as saying McKinney had had homosexual relationships.

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