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Pelto To Form Third-Party Candidacy For Governor

June 12th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Education, News and Events, State Politics

Jonathan Pelto

Jonathan Pelto

Former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto’s education harangue against Dan Malloy is like nails on a blackboard for supporters of the governor. The blogger announced on Wednesday he will segue from an exploratory committee to a declared candidate committee for governor as a petitioning candidate in the general election appealing to education advocates opposed to Malloy’s school policies including Common Core standards. In what is shaping up as a tight general election for Malloy, even poaching one percent of the vote from electors seeking an alternative to Malloy’s eventual Republican challenger endangers Malloy’s reelection for a second term. And the state’s largest city, where education has become a controversial topic, will be pivotal under such a scenario.

In 2010, Tom Foley received more votes for governor on the Republican line than Malloy received on the Democratic line. The 20,000-vote difference was the Connecticut Working Families Party line where Malloy’s name also appeared for an extra 26,308 votes. Combined with his Democratic vote haul, Malloy was elected governor by roughly 6,000 votes following a visit to Bridgeport by Barack Obama and a grueling election-day ballot shortage in Bridgeport that created chaos and made national headlines.

Four years later, although angst exists in the ranks of the Working Families Party over some of Malloy’s policies including teacher standards and what students are expected to know at various grade levels under the Common Core curriculum, the WFP is still poised to endorse Malloy.

Even if Malloy appears on the WFP line again, just the threat of Pelto perched on another third-party line provides a landing spot for voters who opposed the state takeover of city schools and initiatives advanced by Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

Pelto needs roughly 7500 certified signatures of Connecticut voters to place his name on the “Education and Democracy Party” line. Republicans Tom Foley, John McKinney and Mark Boughton will square off in an August 12 primary for governor.

More from Pelto on his blog.

“Since creating an exploratory committee for Governor a few weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed and incredibly humbled by the positive response I have received,” said Pelto, who represented the Town of Mansfield in the Connecticut General Assembly for five terms from 1984 to 1993.

“With the help of volunteers across Connecticut, we are creating a grassroots campaign that can have a profound impact on the 2014 election.” Pelto added.

Pelto says his campaign has over 100 volunteers out collecting petition signatures and that they have already signed collected approximately 2,200 signatures in the past few days. Pelto projected that the number of people collecting signatures will reach nearly 200 people by the end of the week and he is confident that the campaign will reach the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

“I said I would only run for governor if I could be a credible candidate,” Pelto said. “Having spent the last several weeks talking with voters across the political spectrum and with people willing to volunteer to help with our campaign, I am confident that we can utilize this opportunity to focus the electorate’s attention on a number of important issues such as a fair and equitable state tax system, adequate funding and support for our teachers, students, parents and public schools, and an economic development strategy that is focused on supporting small businesses and creating real jobs rather than on giving out millions of dollars in Corporate welfare.”

Pelto added, “As a third-party candidate for Governor, I recognize that the campaign system is rigged to make it being elected as difficult as possible, but I see a clear path forward and I am indeed running to win.”


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13 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    Since Pelto served time in the CT legislature more than two decades ago, perhaps he will also shed some light on the trend of State financial standing because of decisions promoted by that body, many of which results have come home to roost.
    What type of outcomes will he project or predict if his concepts are followed? Will his opposition to the Charter Schools that are pleasing many parents whose children are productive in that environment automatically lose him support of those voters? And what experience does he have with small business development as a core element of economic development strategies, as well as the real effect of local and/or State taxation and regulation levels on growing businesses?
    Does it seem to anyone else out there the public is looking for some straight talk about the largest issues, rather than trash talk that aims to demonize opponents, paint things simply and inaccurately, and ultimately, drives the public from the voting booth and other participation in governance? Time will tell.


    I do not know if this was intentional or a Freudian slip but he said: support for our teachers, students, parents and public schools.

    If you wanted to make the list most important to least would you put: students, parents, teachers? Maybe this is a hint to where his loyalties lie.

    Also, any governmental input in business is a bad idea. Build middle class housing. $180K-$280K. Let the business take care of itself. If you build it they will come.

  • Godiva2011

    Is it just me or is there anyone else who hasn’t got a clue as to who this man is? He doesn’t stand a chance; this is just a dogged attempt to be a spoiler a la Ralph Nader.

    • Pete Spain

      So Godiva,
      Unless a third-party candidate stands a chance according to you, we should officially limit the race to candidates from the GOP and Dems?

      The system’s pretty much bent that way already.

      From Colin McEnroe at the Courant:
      “Now he [Pelto] has to collect 7,500 signatures to get on the ballot … To qualify for even a measly one-third (33%) of the public financing grant that Malloy and Republican Tom Foley will get, he would have to collect well over 100,000 signatures–which is way too burdensome but will never be fixed because the only people who could fix it are Democrats and Republicans, who are about as interested in an open political process as Ted Nugent is in stricter gun laws.”

      Source: www .courant.com/news/opinion/op_ed/hc-op-mcenroe-connecitcut-hot-political-summer-pri-20140522,0,298277.column

      Lots of people around the state–especially public school teachers and administrators I’ve spoken with–have had enough of Malloy’s documented disrespect for and antagonism toward public school teachers.

      Jon Pelto is well known to these people because he strikes them as deeply aware of and committed to best managing the near- and long-term complexities of public funding and public education policy and progress across the state.

      Here in Bridgeport, many people I’ve spoken with, even those without kids in the schools or sending their kids to private schools, care deeply about whether Bridgeport’s BOE is elected (remember the bogus charter revision for Finch to take over the BOE a majority of us rejected?), is fair and fair-minded, is following the letter and spirit of the laws, and is acting in the best interests of the schoolchildren and the taxpayers based on the best evidence and measurements available.

      Here’s a little connect-the-dots for you: Malloy -> Pryor -> Moales and Finch (MBR mean anything to you?) who both wrote letters of recommendation for Steve Perry’s charter school in B’port, which was approved by Malloy’s SDE Board.

      If you’re for re-electing Malloy and you live in Bridgeport, ask yourself: Has Malloy been a key enabler in Finch’s mismanagement of the city?

      • BOE SPY

        Wait a minute, Pete. You say ‘charter revision for Finch to takeover the BOE that a majority of us rejected.’ First off, only 30,000 Bridgeporters went to the polls to vote on the charter revision. In a city with a population of 144,229 only ~21% even voted. Of that 21% you had 53% No votes to 47% Yes votes. That means only 11% of the people wanted this. Even among those who vote only 3% or 900 people rejected the charter revision. That would hardly be ‘most of us.’

        • BOE SPY

          Sorry, that was terrible English. For those who bothered to vote, understood the question or read the question instead of just randomly clicking a box, the charter revision question failed by 900 votes. 14,550 yes to 15,450 no. Something like that. Still not ‘most of us.’ More like only a few, slim margin, hardly anyone.

        • Pete Spain

          If you would allow me a revision … I should have written a “majority of those of us who voted” …

          Regarding dismal voter turnout: BOE SPY, you’re absolutely right! You point to a major impediment to meaningful progress toward an open, accountable, and transparent and COMPETENT government in Bridgeport.

        • David Moore

          BOE SPY, there are not 140,000 VOTERS in Bridgeport, there are 140,000 residents, which includes children and those not legally allowed to vote in the US. There was a 6% voter spread between the nays and the yeahs. Approximately 43% of registered voters participated in that election. Although Finch, ConnCAN, Excel Bridgeport, Residents for a Better Bridgeport etc. spent over $560,000 compared to the no vote’s campaign of a $110-$120,000, they got creamed. The no vote was 15,914 and the yes vote was 13,943, a difference of 1,971 votes. Winning by 2,000 votes is clearly a resounding majority and victory.

          • BOE SPY

            Yes, but Pete did not say ‘most of us registered voters.’ He said ‘most of us.’ ‘Most of us’ would include all of us regardless of ability to vote. You’re saying 70K people in BPT are registered to vote. 30K voted and the victory was 2K. That would be 1.5% of the population, 2.8% of the registered voters and 6.7% of the people who voted. Not that resounding a number.
            I did say 140K voters and that was an error and not what I meant.
            Pete is correct about the low voter turnout being one of the problems in BPT. If it is important for you to believe it was a landslide, that is fine. It does not make it the best choice but whatever. This is why we use the Electoral College. It is important to make elections look like landslides. It keeps the losing side from being upset. They believe because so many people went the other way they must have been the correct choice. We will have to wait and see the resounding gains in education. However, the popular vote is usually much closer than the Electoral College. In a few instances (one or two) the guy who won lost the popular vote.

          • BOE SPY

            Finch was elected Mayor of Bridgeport in November 2007 with approximately 76% of the vote. That is a landslide victory. He must be the best mayor ever.

      • BOE SPY

        Funny thing, Pete. Lots of people around the state, especially the working class, have had enough of Malloy’s documented disrespect for and antagonism toward the middle class and like charter schools. They are tired of paying high taxes for failing schools to support a city they do not live in. Every time a city needs their tax money to be bailed out of a mess they made themselves, it is one of the CT cities with failing schools and Democratic leadership. For those who even know who Pelto is, they see him as Malloy on ‘tax and spend’ steroids in this respect.

        • Pete Spain

          BOE SPY, I followed you until your final sentence. What evidence to date is there that Pelto would be “tax and spend” on the middle class?

          • BOE SPY

            If he wants to up spending on education, or anything for that matter, he will have to raise taxes. He could cut welfare but the ‘kids who are hungry or don’t have cell phones don’t learn so good’ rap would be deafening. There is the spend part.
            If he needs to tax, who will he tax? The rich are leaving like rats on a sinking ship. Look at the average working household income in CT. It shows a definite downward trend. You could think companies are cutting pay but that would only explain a little. The rest comes from those who make a great deal are moving just over the boarder to NY or asking for transfers to less-taxed states. If you could be transferred to Texas and save $60k/yr between state and local taxes, would you? You get a bigger house that costs less, you move away from your underwater CT house and since you have nothing in it you let the bank take it. If someone making $1mil/yr moves out, that would appear as if 100 families got a $10k/yr pay cut. The other problem is there simply are not enough ‘rich’ people to make the kind of money you need. The state will have to define ‘rich’ as above $60-70K/yr and lower the definition of ‘poor.’ Most of this will be done for him. You get the average household income in CT, which is dropping, then say poor as anyone making 25% less than that and rich is anyone making 25% more. Do the math, if the average income in CT were $60K and is now $50K, look what happens to the definition of rich and poor. The increase will probably be staggered, a 0.75% increase from W-X, 2.5% from X-Y, 3% above $70K. The tax part will go something like that. It always does.

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