Ned Lamont and his personal fortune are expected to officially enter the race for governor on Tuesday.
Nice to have 10, 15, 20 million of your own dough to spend. Makes you an instant player. Because he has plenty of loot and built a profile defeating Joe Lieberman in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 2006 only to lose to Joe in the general election, Ned starts as the guy to beat on the Democratic side. Former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, the party-endorsed Dem for governor in 2006, will have something to say about that.
Lamont and his army of Nedheads defeated Lieberman in the primary as the anti-war candidate. Lamont, however, had trouble persuading independent voters to see it his way. And this is still Lamont’s nagging challenge that may create an opening for Malloy. Who’s better suited to win a general election? The guy who had Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and all the liberal special interests preening behind him into the cameras on primary night in 2006, or someone who has balanced budgets, attracted development, stabilized taxes, supervised a workforce? It’s not an easy juggle for Malloy either who will try to get to the left of Lamont on side issues without compromising his general election appeal.
Lamont had all the liberal’s liberals supporting him in 2006, the unions, activists and serial primary voters that generally decide primaries. Former State Comptroller Bill Curry, twice the Dem party nominee for governor, had a great primary profile, not good enough to win a gubernatorial general decided by Connecticut’s largest bloc, unaffiliated voters. Whether former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, former Congressman Chris Shays (if he decides to get in) or someone else, the ultimate Republican nominee is better equipped to stand up and scream: government is too expensive and if we don’t do something soon this state is headed for the rocks. That’s because they don’t need union support to win. Will the ultimate Democratic candidate boast the stomach to take on the unions, the state work force, the teachers, the professors, the college administrators? Not in a primary. So it’s a delicate balance: how to keep serial primary voters happy without general election voters viewing you as a sell-out.
The Dems, of course, will say we don’t tax the rich enough, blah, blah, blah. The problem with state spending, however, is a Democratic-controlled legislature.
Republican Governor Jodi Rell, still bolstered by high approval ratings, pretty much has given up. I’m outta here soon, let the next guy deal with it. Some legacy, eh? There’s no denying Rell’s Fairy Godmother appeal, but after six years on the job, what’s her legacy? What did she fundamentally change in six years? What major economic development initiative? What spending reforms? What urban renewal projects? Damn Democrats keep blocking me, she says. The problem with such an argument is that Rell never placed her prestige on the line to elect more Republicans. Yeah, she’d pick and choose a few Republicans she liked, but for the most party threw GOP candidates under the bus. And that’s why Dems have a super majority. In the end, she only cared about her own butt and was never able to leverage her appeal to govern effectively.
On a local level instead of saying I want to give Bridgeport a new high school, a new Congress Street Bridge, a new Pleasure Beach Bridge, urban revitalization money to clean contaminated properties … she says I’ll give Bridgeport another prison. Such leadership. Such guts. Such courage.
So when Lamont crows about how he’ll apply his private-sector experience–he made a fortune as a cable television service provider to college campuses–ask him what cuts he’ll make in state government to reel in a projected multi-billion dollar deficit. And oh yeah, what will he do about the state’s largest city? What will any of these candidates do for Bridgeport?
From Congressman Jim Himes:
Rep. Himes, Mayor Finch, Chief Gaudett to Announce 20 New Bridgeport Police Jobs
At one-year mark, Recovery Act is creating jobs, investing in Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT, CT—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) along with Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett will announce today that the Bridgeport Police Department is hiring 20 new full-time police officers, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed one year ago this week. Following a formal press conference at 3:45pm outlining the qualifications and application procedure, Himes will join an officer to ride-along during the first hour of the 4pm shift.
From Dan Malloy’s campaign:
LOCAL LEADERS FROM ‘EAST OF THE RIVER’ ANNOUNCE SUPPORT OF MALLOY FOR GOVERNOR
Notable elected officials, town chairs and community leaders from East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor, Glastonbury and Bolton back Malloy
February 15, 2010 – Former Stamford Mayor and potential candidate for Governor Dan Malloy was joined today by a number of elected officials and political leaders from East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor, Glastonbury and Bolton who publicly announced their intention to help “elect Dan Malloy as Connecticut’s next Governor” should Malloy become an official candidate.
Malloy met with the large group of supporters in East Hartford on Monday morning, and said he was “overwhelmed and energized” by the showing of support. Local leaders lending their support to Malloy include:
From East Hartford:
· Bud Salemi, Chairman, East Hartford Democratic Town Committee:
“I believe Dan Malloy is the Democratic Party’s best chance to win the Governor’s seat this fall. Dan has a record of achievement, a command of the issues and the determination to meet the challenges our State faces today. East Hartford voters face those challenges everyday of their lives and I believe Dan’s message will resonate here as well as across the State. Dan Malloy is our kind of candidate!”
· Melody Currey, Mayor, East Hartford:
“As a Mayor, I understand just how important Dan Malloy’s service as Mayor of Stamford has been in preparing him to be Governor. Dan spent 14 years in Stamford creating jobs, building affordable housing, lowering crime, and delivering balanced budgets year after year. That’s what Connecticut needs.”
· Gary LeBeau, State Senator (D-East Hartford), Commerce Committee Chair
“Now more than ever, we need proven leadership to help rebuild Connecticut by growing jobs, investing in new industries like biotechnology and alternative energy, and creating a more vibrant and livable future for our state. With Dan Malloy’s leadership, we can do precisely that.”
· Jason Rojas, State Representative (D-East Hartford)
· Henry Genga, State Representative (D-East Hartford)
· Bill Horan, Vice Chair, East Hartford Town Council
· Barbara-Ann Rossi, East Hartford Town Council
· Marcia LeClerc, East Hartford Town Council
· Marc Weinberg, East Hartford Town Council
· Mary Alice Dwyer-Hughes, Chair, East Hartford Board of Education
· Ram Aberasturia, Secretary, East Hartford Board of Education
· Jeff Currey, Member, East Hartford Board of Education
· Pat Gately, Vice Chair, East Hartford DTC and State Central Committeewoman
· Cathy Condio, Secretary, East Hartford DTC
· Frank Vignati, Treasurer, East Hartford DTC
· Chris Stone, Former State Representative, East Hartford
· Michael Pohl, Chairman, Manchester Democratic Town Committee:
“Dan Malloy has the knowledge, experience and type of innovative ideas that Connecticut so desperately needs at this critical time in our state’s history. The next Governor has to be able to hit the ground running, and Dan is the person best qualified to do precisely that.”
· Margaret Hackett, Chair, Town of Manchester Board of Education:
“Dan’s track record in Stamford when it comes to education convinced me that as Governor he would be a partner to schools statewide. Year after year he invested in his city’s school system, and created the state’s first citywide pre-school program, ensuring that all 4-year-old children have access to pre-K regardless of their economic circumstances. That kind of executive focus on education is vital to Connecticut’s future.”
· Lisa Paggioli-O’Neill, Secretary, Town of Manchester Board of Directors:
“I support Dan Malloy for Governor because he understands the tremendous challenges facing Connecticut’s towns and cities. Dan has a proven record of creating jobs, improving schools and reducing crime. He’s turned Stamford into a model American city while operating on a balanced budget. As Governor, Dan Malloy will provide the type of dynamic leadership Connecticut needs.”
· Josh Howroyd, Former Mayor, Manchester
· Jay Moran, Member, Town of Manchester Board of Directors
· Rudy Kissmann, Member, Town of Manchester Board of Directors
· Maria Cruz, Member, Town of Manchester Board of Education, and Secretary, Democratic Town Committee
· Peter Labelle, Democratic District Chairman, Nathan Hale
· Carl Stafford, Democratic District Chairman, Waddell
· Jim McCavanagh, Former State Representative, 12th District
· John Topping, Former Member, Town of Manchester Board of Directors
· Colin O’Neill, Member, Manchester Democratic Town Committee
· Richard Cormier, Democratic Volunteer and Retired Education Leader
· Chuck Barrera, Constable, Member Manchester Democratic Town Committee
· Tom Stough, Labor Leader and Member, Manchester Democratic Town Committee
· Sandy Stough, Labor Leader and Member, Manchester Democratic Town Committee
· Doug Norwood, Member, Manchester Democratic Town Committee
From South Windsor:
· Joan Walsh, Chair, South Windsor Democratic Town Committee
· John Pelkey, Mayor, South Windsor
· Ed Havens, Deputy Mayor, South Windsor
· Betty Kuehnel, Member, South Windsor Democratic Town Committee
· Tony Duarte, Member, South Windsor Democratic Town Committee
· John Toomey Jr., Chairman, Bolton Democratic Town Committee
· Tom Kehoe, State Representative, Glastonbury
Ned camp responds:
LAMONT 2010 STATEMENT ON MALLOY ENDORSEMENTS
Joe Abbey, Campaign Manager for potential candidate for governor Ned Lamont, made the following comments in response to the endorsements announced today by Dan Malloy:
“Ned is not a career politician and has never been the insiders’ choice for office. In this political climate, it’s clear voters want candidates who will challenge the status quo and shake up the system, and who won’t participate in the same old political deals motivated by selfish political ambition that they’ve seen become commonplace in both Washington and Hartford.
“As this campaign progresses voters who are concerned about their jobs and the future of Connecticut are going to see a stark contrast between the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Governor.”
Why, I wonder, would Ned’s camp bite on Malloy’s endorsements? And why would Ned castigate folks supporting Malloy? I gotta think some of them supported him for U.S. Senate. Malloy spokesman Roy Occhiogrosso shares his take.
Why’s Ned overreacting like this? It’s a little unsettling. Is he seeing significant support moving toward Dan, and getting rattled by it? There’s more to come. And did he really use the term ‘selfish political ambition?’ Ironic.