HARTFORD, Conn. — Republican Tom Foley said early Wednesday that he ‘‘probably’’ lost the governor’s race to Democratic incumbent Dannel P. Malloy, but he’s not certain.
Foley’s comments to supporters in Greenwich came shortly after Malloy said, ‘‘We are in the position to declare victory.’’
Malloy’s campaign staff said they were still awaiting results from Hartford and New Haven, two Democratic strongholds.
While Foley didn’t officially concede the race, he said he was giving the speech he would have given if he were conceding.
Elsewhere in the state, Democratic US Rep. Elizabeth Esty fended off a challenge from Republican businessman Mark Greenberg, winning a second term representing the 5th Congressional District in northwestern Connecticut. The seat was considered to be one of the GOP’s best chances for victory this year. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee appeared to like its chances and canceled television advertising in the district, diverting $500,000 for ads in Iowa in the final two weeks.
‘‘When you look at the situation across the country, this is not an easy year,’’ said Esty, who thanked a crowd of supporters, promising she couldn’t wait to ‘‘get back to work and roll up my sleeves.’’
Besides Esty, 3rd Congressional District Rep. Rosa DeLauro easily won a 13th term representing the southern Connecticut district. Democratic US Rep. Joe Courtney won a fourth term representing the 2nd Congressional District in eastern Connecticut, and Democratic US Rep. John Larson won a ninth term representing the Hartford-area 1st Congressional District.
Meanwhile, Democrat George Jepsen won his second term as attorney general, defeating Republican Kie Westby of Southbury and Green Party candidate Stephen Fournier of Hartford.
Connecticut’s General Assembly will soon have a Kennedy among its ranks. Democrat Ted Kennedy Jr., son of the late Massachusetts US senator, won the 12th state senatorial district along the state’s shoreline. He defeated Republican businessman Bruce Wilson Jr. Additionally, House Republicans reported expanding their ranks by at least nine seats, for a total of 63 — the largest caucus in two decades. Democrats will still retain control of the chamber, however.
The party faithful were patiently awaiting word in Hartford and Greenwich of results in the governor’s race. In Greenwich, where Foley’s supporters gathered, roars erupted when the official count put Foley ahead. In Hartford, Democrats appeared optimistic Malloy would still pull out a win.
Under Connecticut law, an automatic recount is triggered for statewide races when the vote difference is less than 2,000 votes.
Much national attention has been focused on Connecticut’s gubernatorial race. Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama pleaded with Hartford residents who couldn’t vote because of polling place problems Tuesday morning to return later and cast their ballots.
Obama called into ‘‘The Colin McEnroe Show’’ on WNPR-FM on Tuesday afternoon to support Malloy and Democrats and stress the importance of voting.
‘‘We’ve got to make sure that those folks have the chance to vote, and I want to encourage everybody who’s listening to not be deterred by what was obviously an inconvenience,’’ Obama said.
Besides governor, Connecticut voters also chose candidates for the US House, the state legislature and state constitutional offices.
There also was one statewide ballot question about changing the state’s constitution to ease voting restrictions, which would allow state officials to consider early voting options including expanded use of absentee ballots and voting by mail.
Merrill said voter turnout appeared to be on track to exceed her original prediction of 55 percent. She said it could be as high as 65 percent, attributing the jump to the first-time availability of same-day voter registration in a statewide election.
A steady stream of voters flowed into a polling station in the Hartford suburb of Glastonbury, including retired engineer George Carlson, 75, who voted for Republicans.
‘‘Taxes. They’re too damn high,’’ he said, adding he was moving to the South because Connecticut is too expensive. ‘‘That’s how bad it is. I’m outta here. I’ve been here all my life and I resent that.’’
Lifelong Democrat Andrea Grant, a state worker, said it was important to her to keep Democrats in charge, partly because of their history in the civil rights movement.
‘‘Democrats are more progressive, more open to changes for the good of everyone, the middle class, the poor,’’ she said.
Much of this year’s gubernatorial campaign focused on Connecticut’s economy. While Malloy contended the state has turned a corner and the jobs picture has improved under his leadership, Foley claimed Malloy’s policies, including higher taxes he proposed, have slowed the state’s economic recovery and stymied job growth.