Statewide political campaigns are in full debate mode, be it governor or other constitutional offices. Challengers are leveraging debates to draw contrasts with endorsed candidates: Joe Ganim against Ned Lamont in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Tim Herbst against Mark Boughton and other Republicans on the primary ballot for governor. Dita Bhargava, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, is pressing Democratic-endorsed Shawn Wooden to a series of debates.
In the end campaigns must decide the upshot to debates. Is there more to lose than gain for the perceived front runner? Underdogs generally have nothing to lose.
From the Bhargava campaign:
Just days after Shawn Wooden’s disastrous appearance before the AFL-CIO convention, Dita Bhargava, Democratic Candidate for State Treasurer, renewed her challenge to have five debates –in each of the state’s Congressional Districts.
While Wooden, a former senior advisor to the AFL-CIO, was the odds-on favorite to win the union’s endorsement at the convention, they ended up passing on making any endorsement, a huge victory for Dita.
“Shawn’s strategy is clear at this point, and it’s clearly not working,” said Dita. “Acting like you’re the frontrunner because you got the convention endorsement doesn’t mean you automatically win. But instead of respecting the voters by having debates and real discussions about the issues, Shawn is ducking debates and coming across as complacent.”
Dita called for five debates on the issues that will most impact voters’ decisions in the upcoming primary and the general election, including pension investment strategy, restoring Connecticut’s cities, women’s issues, suburban/rural concerns and college affordability.
Soon after issuing her challenge, Action Together’s Northern Fairfield Chapter offered to host a debate in the 5th CD. Dita accepted; Wooden has yet to respond.
“I’m out there every day, hearing people’s concerns and working hard to make sure Democrats know they have a choice during this primary,” said Dita. “We need a candidate who’s going to fight for every vote if we’re going to be successful in November.”
Meanwhile, Dita’s candidacy continues to garner widespread support from a growing list of elected officials and civic organizations that have endorsed Dita’s campaign, including EMILY’s List, State Senator Marilyn Moore, State Senator Cathy Osten, State Representative Chris Perone, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Manchester Mayor Jay Moran, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, and Simbury First Selectman Eric Wellman.