Did you watch Sunday’s Republican lieutenant governor forum on WFSB’s Face The State hosted by Dennis House? It featured Bridgeport resident David Walker, State Representative Penny Bacchiochi and former Groton Mayor Heather Somers. Watching the two female candidates go at it with Walker in the middle, it seemed like one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons with a fight cloud. Fight breaks out, there’s a cloud of dust and then Bugs crawls out of the maelstrom unscathed to fight another day, smile on his face.
From a pure debate-tactic point of view, Walker’s female opponents seemed strident in contrast to his easy southern drawl. As the forum progressed Bacchiochi and Somers went back and forth challenging their veracity, trying to correct the record on respective positions be it corporate welfare, taxes, appointment of judges. They’ve been going at it pretty good the past few weeks with the August 12 primary now just over a week away.
Somers has questioned Bacchiochi’s temperament for the lieutenant governor’s job for putting foot in mouth during the course of the campaign. Bacchiochi has fired back claiming Somers’ business was the recipient of state corporate welfare.
Walker was Walker: the burrowing policy wonk, former U.S. comptroller general, arguing the Connecticut ship of state is sinking fast from a host of poor policy decisions he’d correct as a partner in state government.
Bacchiochi, as the endorsed candidate, is running next to party-endorsed candidate for governor Tom Foley, but Foley has not endorsed her. Somers will appear on line two next to Foley opponent State Senator John McKinney, but McKinney has formed a campaign kinship with Walker who helped McKinney qualify for a $1.3 million public financing grant that will mushroom to $6.5 million if McKinney wins the primary and faces Governor Dan Malloy in the general election. Walker will appear solo on the third line, a point he made near the close of the show.
Republican primary voters are now starting to focus on the candidates. If these forums matter to voters it could make a difference for Walker who’s hoping his partnership with McKinney extends into the general election. But primaries are weird ducks. Walker could win the primary and so could Foley. They then would be the Republican ticket against Malloy and Nancy Wyman. Then again McKinney could win and one of the two other candidates for lieutenant governor could emerge. So it goes in the crazy world of campaigns.
On Monday team McWalker will meet with the editorial board of the Hearst Connecticut Newspapers that represents the Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time and Danbury News-Times.