Handicapping Lamont V. Malloy, The Message And Messenger

Okay boys and girls, get out your delegate scorecards. That’s what political operatives from the various campaign camps are doing in preparation for their respective state party conventions in a few weeks. On Monday Democratic guber candidate Ned Lamont will officially add a bunch of delegates to his list when Dem Party Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Bill Finch are scheduled to endorse him on the steps of Harding High School at noon.

Bridgeport has 77 Dem delegates to the state convention, second only to New Haven. Harding is a nice symbolic gesture for an endorsement. Oh, brother there goes Lennie again with another rant about Harding. I can’t rant about Harding enough. It’s a hellhole for kids and teachers. Ned rarely misses an opportunity to proclaim his concern for the kids he met as a volunteer teacher. I just hope Ned shows a lot more commitment (how about an outright pledge) that if he’s governor there will be, and I promise, a new Harding High School–than he did telling district leaders a casino is not a priority, but hey I’ll listen to you about it, sort of.

Look, don’t open the door unless you’re prepared to walk through it. Don’t use the school or the kids as props unless you’re prepared to take a sledgehammer to a shit-hole of a building and construct a new one. Let’s hope Ned is serious about doing something for the city. He’s going to need Bridgeport big time because he’s got a battle on his hands for both the primary and general election, if he makes it there.

Ned will take a handsome polling lead into the convention against his chief rival former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy. Ned’s spending a fortune of his own money right now while Malloy waits for his first cash infusion, roughly $1.2 million, in public financing that he’s expected to receive shortly after the convention. From there it’s a fast blast of spending by both sides on the way to the August primary. Malloy could receive upwards of another $2 million depending on how much Ned spends. Malloy will have enough moolah to eventually cut into Ned’s polling lead and compete. 

Why is the Bridgeport delegation supporting Ned? For a variety of reasons but it starts with Mario’s distaste for anything Stamford. He blames Stamford pols for blowing up a casino for the city. Talk about a long memory. But it’s more than that. As several local pols have told me and I’m paraphrasing … Lennie, we think Malloy will get the endorsement. Lennie, we think Lamont’s money will be enough to win the primary. Lennie, we think helping Ned win the primary gives us more leverage to get stuff done for the city (and a few jobs for our peeps).

Sure, if Ned wins the general election. I was excited about Ned in 2006 because he had the guts to take on Joe Lieberman who somewhere along the way attached his mouth to the exhaust of Dick Cheney’s quail-hunting truck. Against Lieberman it was all about the war. I voted for Ned in the primary. Voted for him in the general election with glee. My parents voted for Ned. My wife (wasn’t an easy sell) voted for him. I called my friends to vote for Ned. (Okay, all two of them.) Ned got his ass kicked in the general election because he didn’t know how to appeal to independent voters. Once again that will be his challenge should he get there.

Ned has a general election message problem. His message is the same as leading GOP guber candidate Tom Foley. It’s the same: I’m a business man, I know how to create jobs, vote for me. Nice and simple, right? Republicans are almost always better at making that message stick with independents who sway general elections in Connecticut.

Take Ned’s money away from Ned and what do you have? That’s why Malloy will make a race of this primary whether he receives the party convention endorsement or not. His message will appeal enough to serial primary voters to compete and he offers a contrast to the Republican: I’m not a Greenwich millionaire, I’m someone like you who embraced public service, managed a city, balanced budgets, cut taxes, reduced crime.

Malloy already has a message that appeals in a general election, and if he gets through the primary he’ll have enough in public financing to compete. Ned has to figure out a stronger general election message, otherwise what’s the point of the primary.



  1. Great read Lennie. Ned Lamont has my vote In Bridgeport CT. I am happy it will be at Harding High School. Had friends who went there and went on to college and the rest just went on to be another statistic who will have no college education and just dropped out from there. I really do hope Lamont makes a pledge to Harding and the rest of Bridgeport. I went to summer school there not 2 long ago a couple of years and for a public school I can clearly tell you no investment is going into the school or children. This is one of the main reasons i support Lamont over Malloy. Malloy nice guy but I do not think he would help bpt like Lamont would. Education is the best thing you can give a youth in the inner city and who wants to work in a building like that!!! I am very passionate about this issue and I hope Lamont does something about it. Lamont 2010!!!

  2. If you are correct, Bpt endorsing Lamont is a graphic example of why Bpt is so ineffective in the Legislature. Perfect example of small-time thinking on the part of the Bpt. chairman and town committee.

    Lamont is a trust-fund baby (JP Morgan millions) who was sincere in his Senate run. However he’s now hooked with our celebrity culture and wants to be governor.

    As usual, Bpt gets the same tired, small-thinking hacks (usually city employees) who run for City Council, Town Committee, CT Legislature, etc. That’s trumped by having a town chairman who can only think small.

    It’s no wonder why other cities and suburbs continually trump Bpt. We have small-minded leadership presiding over lemmings that are inexorably marching themselves off the cliff.

  3. This is classic Mario perpetuating his longtime grudge against Malloy. Forget what’s good for the city or the state, it’s all about Mario getting even with Malloy. Don’t forget Stafstrom supported Malloy during the last go ’round. Mario gets back at two birds with one stone. If there’s one thing Mario knows well it is spite.

    Any truth to the rumor that, if Lamont wins, Finch will get a state position and McCarthy will be the Dem candidate in 2011?

    1. “Any truth to the rumor that, if Lamont wins, Finch will get a state position …”

      Now there’s one hell of a reason to support Lamont. I thought, CHS, that you were eager to press the reset button on the Mayor’s office?

  4. Well then the people of Bridgeport shouldn’t follow Testa’s endorsement, Just look at what he has done to Bridgeport, I totally agree with FBD & CHS.
    When are the Dems in Bridgeport going to wake up? The light at the end of the tunnel is getting dimmer.

  5. Methinks what’s bad for Lamont is good for Bridgeport. Maybe Mr. Testa wants to roll the dice, but thankfully neither Lamont nor Malloy wants a casino here.

    Local Eyes thinks The Park City will get a state-funded H.S. no matter who is Governor, thanks to the relentless efforts of Lennie Grimaldi.

    But Malloy has proven that he has abilities that exceed his disabilities and coupled with his political chops makes him my choice in the upcoming primary.

  6. As a member of the DTC I don’t support either candidate. I think they both give us lip service and that’s it. Sure Lamont did a spin as a teacher at Harding High School, then what did he do?
    The Dems in Bridgeport are not going to wake up because the people living here are living in a coma.
    It does not matter who the Dems put up the people of Bridgeport will vote for them as long as they are on the Democratic line.
    It does not help that the Republican party is non-existent and made up of people that don’t have a clue. Here we are a little more than a year from the mayoral election and do we have anyone from the Republican party stepping up and taking the administration to task? Easy answer NO!!!
    Look around the country and people are crying for change. Where are the people of Bridgeport? In a coma.
    We can knock Testa and Finch and anyone else in office in Bridgeport but the real blame lies with the voters of Bridgeport. We are not holding their feet to the fire, we are not demanding change, we are not demanding smaller government. We have a budget committee that is going to recommend a budget with a $6 Million shortfall not hardly a whisper of protest.

  7. *** Well that P/R move @ Harding will “not” change my mind about voting for Malloy. Hope regardless of who’s Gov. in the future that Harding & the East Side gets a new high school. Love to see new high schools for Central & Bassick too & a new Library downtown! This city is still in the stone age when it comes to its basic needs for the city in general. And as usual, voters who believe everything they read & don’t do their political homework will end up supporting Lamont just because he’s the endorsed DTC candidate, nothing really changes! *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  8. *** Seems the only results left for Bpt. in local district politics is to clean house. Vote Republican & Independent if there are any average decent candidates running like a Russo or even a Dem. like Caruso who’s removed himself from the core of the major Dem. Party and prefers to do things his way! Clean slate for every Bpt local political seat would be a way to actually test the political waters to hopefully achieve better results for all! And of course be much more particular about whom you vote for in the strongest party, DEM. For instance as an example instead of just running off & “supporting” a particular candidate due to what you’ve “heard or read” or “assume,” list the reasons why you “don’t” like your political pick’s opponents, whether personal or facts. Love to read donj’s reasons for not supporting candidates that are not endorsed by their political parties! ***

  9. I am very disappointed and sadden by Bridgeport’s decision; they are cutting off their proverbial nose to spite their face. When I worked in Bridgeport I worked side by side with Dan and other big city Mayors. Dan was always there to help Bill Finch in his first year and support legislation that would have helped the City. Perhaps I make a bad politician because I support what I think is right and I am loyal to my friends over political maneuvering any day. I’d rather not be elected than change my position on something I believe in.

    I am proud to support Dan Malloy and his commitment to public financing; you aren’t going to be beholden to anyone for $100 dollars. I supported Lamont against Lieberman because of his views on national policies. However for Governor, when you compare the experience of Lamont and Malloy side by side, Malloy has it hands down. Malloy can hit the ground running in Hartford based on his experience as Mayor and has an understanding of how the Connecticut government works. Lamont is a smart man but he has no experience in running a government entity. Many of us abhor political gridlock; however you have to understand it to get through it. When you’re a CEO you’re accustomed to giving an order, implementing a policy and it is done, you just can’t do that as Governor. You have to understand the environment you are in and have the politic smarts, tenacity and understanding of the system. You make your first move, know the consequences and make your second move. It is more like games of chess and poker.
    I also know Malloy has had a history of successful economic development and job creation. Just because Stamford was in a good location, it wasn’t a given that Malloy would succeed. Many have all the geographic advantages and still manage to screw things up. I am tired of hearing about past issues of the casino that have no relevance to who is the best leader for Connecticut. If and when a casino in Bridgeport ever comes up again, then it is relevant. Right now education, jobs, economy and health care are the pressing issues of the day.
    It is interesting Lamont is courting former Lieberman supporters who probably wouldn’t support him if he ran for Senate again. I would support Lamont for U.S. Senate, a learning curve is acceptable for a Senator. In most ways it is more about policy and issues as a legislator. As far as the Governor’s seat one inexperienced decision and that could be disastrous. Further, to win the general you need someone with a strong contrast to the Republican nominee. I think Lamont and front-runner Foley’s background have been molded by the same cookie cutter. Lamont showed he didn’t have middle-of-the-road support when he ran against Lieberman. Lamont will be perceived as too far left and without any experience he will lose to Foley. Malloy’s experience and background will provide a clearer alternative to Foley. The majority of the population can relate more to Malloy’s upbringing then to Lamont’s or Foley’s background. Malloy may have lived in Stamford but he grew up in very modest conditions, with a large family and mother who worked as a nurse to help support them. He understands the needs of the average citizen, working-class families and those who are struggling to survive. He also understands, which is critical to me, a wide spectrum of people with a special needs, he overcame learning disabilities like dyslexia and physical disabilities as a child to go on to be very successful academically and in his career. There is something about a person who overcomes adversities and becomes a champion for the public good that can never be paralleled. It is their inner strength of character and an unwillingness to accept defeat. It is like being a parent. No matter how empathic a person you are, unless you are a parent you truly don’t get it. It is not a prerequisite for a leader, but it sure is a fantastic asset. As a delegate I will be behind Dan Malloy 100%.

    1. I agree with you MCAT. Bridgeport is not so much supporting Lamont as they are spiting Malloy. Dan understands the problems of the average citizen and the cities much greater that Lamont and will be in a position to help us. Now when Dan wins the governorship, Bpt will be out in the cold again. Finch doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘loyalty.’ Remember it was Joe Ganim who got Finch a job when he was unemployed and losing his house. Yet who was the first to call for Ganim’s resignation way before the facts were in? Bill Finch.

      Why is it in New Haven that DeStefano is the mayor and the clear leader of the Dem party yet in Bpt Mario gets top billing over Finch every time?

    2. Good piece, MCAT. I agree Lamont might be able to pull out a primary victory but will go down in flames in the general election. The problem is those who vote regularly in the primaries do not always reflect the sentiment of the general electorate (as seen in Lamont’s loss to Lieberman).

    3. Or it could be they think Lamont is actually the better choice. At least Lamont did something for the city when there weren’t any votes in it for him (Lennie, you forgot that in your discussion of the event staging), and when it comes time to demand the wealthy pay their fair share to support revitalized cities, it won’t come off as ripping off other people’s money and shipping it back home. Time for some of the other cities to get some state redevelopment love for a while.

      And he’ll go against the party grain when he thinks it’s necessary: if Lamont can bring the Mario and Caruso wings together, then it may just be possible to get everyone pulling in the same direction for Bridgeport again.

      My view has been that Ned was the long-term planner, Dan the negotiator and politician (yes, we do need good politicians), and Mary the small-town technocrat. I said a while ago Glassman seemed to me the most electable of the group. I just met Juan this week, who is great but doesn’t seem to have it together frankly. With Glassman joining Lamont, frankly making a decision seems to have gotten a lot easier.

      If I can ask, MCAT, why is it interesting Lamont is courting former Lieberman supporters? More than half the state voted for Lieberman. Malloy is courting DeStefano supporters. I think of you as someone with some interesting ideas, so I wonder why you are surprised by this?

  10. The majority of people want divided government. Tom Foley is your next Governor–like it or not. I just don’t see the moderates and independents in this state voting in a fully Democratic legislature and a Democratic Gov … I think the polling is reflecting this as well … we will see …

  11. The two candidates who win the election and enter the Governor’s and Lt Governor’s offices will be facing a $4 billion structural deficit (yes–BILLION!); huge unfunded pensions liabilities; job losses; high debt; securitization of anticipated business-unfriendly revenues that should be eliminated not become guarantees for bonds; and an accounting system that has never adopted Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Lt Gov Fedele announced last week at the morning breakfast showcase if the State Government were to adopt GAAP the state would have to file for bankruptcy. Maybe those who are running need a psych exam to figure out why they would subject themselves to such daunting challenges.

    Let’s get real here. The Governor and LT Governor who Bridgeport should be supporting is the team that can hit the deck running and dig the state out of this total mess. This type of hardball isn’t for those born with silver spoons. They have to produce a two-year budget within 90 days of taking office while incentivizing private sector jobs; reduce, consolidate,and collapse state employment; and lead us all out of this mess. All this and helping Bridgeport grow its tax base.

    I am embarrassed Bridgeport is holding a grudge, looking backward, and focused on who has the most money to take on Ambassador Foley. They are obsessed with voting as a block rather than backing the team that can do the best job.

    Dan Malloy and Mary Glassman are the only team that have the best skills, experience, and tenacity to face the State’s challenges. I am once again disappointed this City doesn’t have leadership that is forward looking.

    I believe Dan Malloy has the votes to win the nomination. I believe Mary Glassman will wind up being the Lt Governor nominee. So Bridgeport’s leadership is setting this City up to eat crow once again. Unacceptable.

    1. Nancy, you should be aware that Lamont did actually do a dry run of a budget development process as head of Center for Public Policy at CCSU, was chair of the CT Investment Advisory Council in the ’90s, and was on the Brookings council for tax policy. And he started his current television business after starting up Cablevision of Connecticut. So it’s pretty wrong-headed to act like he’s some chump who fell off a turnip truck. He’s built a lot of jobs, has real policy chops, and done oversight on $20 billion (yes, BILLION) of State pension investments.

  12. *** Who is running against Senator Gomes; also does anyone know what he’s done, authored, sponsored or co-sponsored while @ the capitol for Bpt? I really don’t know and maybe I might have missed something good; matter of fact what have any of our 8 legislators done for Bpt lately? Inquireing minds would like to know! *** “Man,” talking politics just gives me the blues, gonna have to see “Buddy Guy” to get an Rx! ***

  13. Mojo, go to www .cga.ct.gov go into advanced search and search by legislator. You can search all bills that were sponsored or co-sponsored by the legislator. You can also pull up bills by number and see the voting history in the House, Senate and committees. There is a whole bunch of other good stuff on that site too. Have fun.

    1. *** Thanks MCAT, I don’t know the timeframe in actually introducing a bill @ the capitol or the length of time my state legislators have been up there so far but Gomes has 27 & Santiago has 11 bills total. Some sounded interesting & others were basically not really of any interest @ all. I’m not impressed by the quality or need of “some” of the bills as to how it would “affect” my district in general? I know my observation is an outside the box type of look @ just mere bill titles, however I may need more info. on the entire process in general to be able to make a better determination? Thanks again & good night! ***

  14. Malloy Myth #1
    Support Malloy because Lamont cannot win a statewide general election against a Republican.
    Hello, Dan Malloy could not win his only try at a statewide Democratic primary. Why would anyone think Dan’s statewide exposure has grown in the past four years? As a matter of fact it is shrinking because Dan was so terrified of losing if he ran for mayor again he “retired.”
    Remember he almost lost in his last mayoral election to a complete unknown.
    Ned Lamont beat a multi-term incumbent with strong statewide recognition in his Democratic primary. No gubernatorial candidate the Republicans are considering has anywhere near the statewide name recognition Joe Lieberman has.
    Dan Malloy lost to another big-city mayor with a similar background and a similar recognition factor.
    Until Dan wins ANY kind of statewide election his supporters should abandon this argument.


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