Three weeks to Tsunami Tuesday and counting. The state’s largest city is a player in the Democratic gubernatorial primary battle between Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, and an eclectic group of city pols–sometimes together, sometimes not–are split among one of the men who could become governor.
Let’s start with Ned. A contingent of political players who include Mayor Bill Finch, his chief of staff Adam Wood, Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, City Council President Tom McCarthy, City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh (not a fan of the aforementioned), and a bunch of party regulars, are supporting Ned. The primary reason? Lamont, of Greenwich, will spend more of his personnel fortune in this primary than any Dem has spent in the history of primary campaigns, and is positioned to spend equally with likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley, also a high-finance Greenwich resident, in the general election. Finch, Wood, Testa, McCarthy et al. have embraced a risk-reward strategy. If we support Lamont and he wins, we’d gain a greater return for the city than a Malloy win.
It doesn’t hurt, of course, if Lamont wins maybe he’ll offer a state commissionership to Finch who today is looking at a difficult mayoral reelection next year.
Ned earned his stripes in 2006 defeating U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman in a primary, based on Ned’s opposition to the war. Ned tapped into the Democratic voter anger against Lieberman’s support of George Bush’s war policy, and inspired Dem voters away from Lieberman (me too) and some who would not have participated in a primary. Joe regrouped as an independent candidate in the general election (they’re different animals than primaries) and won reelection. The gubernatorial primary in 2006, squeaked by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano over party-endorsed Dan Malloy, was an afterthought against the high-profile Senate primary.
This year is different. There’s no high-profile emotion driving primary turnout and Malloy supporters believe a low turnout helps their candidate while Lamont supporters maintain the larger the turnout the better he does driven by his spending advantage. He has opted out of the state’s public financing system. The statewide Dem primary turnout in 2006 was nearly 41 percent. In Bridgeport it was 25 percent. The city historically lags behind the statewide turnout.
Malloy, former Stamford mayor, didn’t go away after losing the 2006 guber primary. He worked the party system, built goodwill and bought into the state’s public financing system supported by Republican Governor Jodi Rell and approved by the Democratic-controlled legislature with Bridgeport State Rep. Chris Caruso one of the fathers of the legislation. Malloy worked in earnest to appeal to Dem primary interests that did not support him in 2006. Malloy has not given up on competing for Bridgeport voters despite the mayor and Mario supporting Lamont. Proven vote producers in Black Rock such as District Leader Dan Roach and State Rep. Auden Grogins support Malloy. So too, former party chair John Stafstrom and former City Council President Lisa Parziale on the West Side, as well as State Rep. Andres Ayala on the East Side and East End District Leader Ralph Ford.
And where is Caruso in all of this? The Big Wave is expected to make a decision this week about supporting a candidate for governor. Both Lamont and Malloy would like his support. If Finch does not seek reelection (or win reelection) next year there’s a pretty good chance Caruso will be mayor. Both Finch and Caruso would like to be aligned with the gubernatorial winner. If Caruso endorses a candidate for governor it sets up a compelling quest for votes in what is expected to be a competitive primary both in the city and around the state.
By the way, former Post scribes Jim Callahan, John Gilmore and I will handicap primary day Aug. 5, 6:30 p.m. at the Black Rock Library. Join us.
From Mayor Finch:
Mayor Bill Finch and Acting Police Chief Joseph Gaudett invite residents to a community forum to discuss citywide public safety concerns.
WHEN: Thursday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Conference Rooms A,B & C; City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St.
From Service Employees International Union
SERVICE WORKERS “GO ALL IN” TO BACK DAN MALLOY AND NANCY WYMAN TO LEAD CONNECTICUT
Umbrella organization for SEIU locals announces governor and lieutenant governor endorsements; launches Primary Election “get out the vote” efforts
HARTFORD – Members of the 55,000-strong Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Connecticut State Council are endorsing Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman as the Democratic Party’s 2010 nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. Delegates representing the coalition’s six affiliates voted Friday to throw the full weight of the state’s largest and one of its most politically active labor unions behind the Malloy-Wyman ticket for the August 10 Primary Election.
The vote by the delegates to the State Council sets considerable combined member mobilization efforts in motion for an election that observers are predicting will go down to the wire. The locals that had already launched internal “get out the vote” drives will be integrated into a comprehensive campaign of phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, and literature mailing to union households over the next three weeks.
SEIU Connecticut State Council Director Paul Filson said Friday that rather than a “piecemeal approach,” the affiliated locals decided to “go all in” to support Malloy and Wyman in their bids to be the state’s next governor and lieutenant governor.
Prior to Friday’s meeting of State Council delegates, Malloy had earned the backing of the members of four of its affiliated unions. In May, healthcare and nursing home workers in the New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199/SEIU and custodians and security guards in Connecticut District/SEIU Local 32BJ voted to support the former Stamford mayor for governor. CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 and CEUI/SEIU Local511 both announced last week their active and retired state, municipal and schools employees had also chosen Malloy to lead Connecticut for the next four years.
“Dan understands what it means to be ‘fair to those who care,'” said Francene Bailey, a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home in Windsor. “We need a governor who can bring people together for good jobs, safe staffing levels, and quality services. Dan will be the kind of governor who’s willing to put quality care for the elderly and the frail first,” said Bailey a member of the elected Executive Board for District 1199.
“In his 14 years as Mayor, Dan Malloy did a lot for the people of Stamford,” said Sara Pasterelli, a member of the union who sits on 32BJ’s Executive Board. “And as Governor, he’ll be able to do even more for the people of Connecticut. He has spoken out to protect the rights of all workers — including immigrant workers — and is making sure that working families will have the sick days we need,” said Pasterelli.
The recommendation by the elected leaders of both District 1199 and 32BJ to vote for Malloy was based in large part on his 14-year record as mayor of the City of Stamford. Malloy’s demonstration of consistent support for working families helped him edge out his last remaining rival for the Democratic Party’s primary nomination, and put him far ahead of all the candidates seeking support among GOP voters.
“Dan and Nancy are committed to real retirement security for all seniors,” said Donna McElduff, who retired as a registered nurse from Connecticut Valley Hospital where she established a utilization review that helped save millions in taxpayer dollars by holding managed care companies accountable. “Instead of targeting public employees’ benefits, they’re asking why more private sectors workers have lost theirs. That’s why Dan and Nancy are the kind of leaders Connecticut deserves,” said McElduff, a member of the retiree council in CSEA/SEIU Local 2001.
In their votes to support his candidacy, the leaders of both CSEA and CEUI recognized Malloy’s record as an advocate for vital public services and a vocal supporter of the workforce that delivers them. He has made frequent references to seeking partnerships with foresters, correctional lieutenants, school bus drivers, health inspectors, bridge repair workers, classroom aides, public safety officers, senior caregivers, and the many public servants providing value to the people of Connecticut each and every day.
The SEIU State Council organizes a months-long democratic process each year for its affiliated locals’ membership in order to facilitate informed electoral choices and determine the best use of campaign resources. Malloy and the other gubernatorial hopefuls seeking an endorsement were required to complete a lengthy questionnaire on working families’ issues and participate in a well-attended membership forum in April to answer questions about their service records and campaign platforms. Member political activists and elected leaders from the Council’s affiliated locals interviewed Wyman on her candidacy in June.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the largest and fastest growing labor organization in the nation, with more than 2 million members. Its Connecticut State Council represents over 55,000 active and retired members in six affiliated locals, making it the state’s largest union. Healthcare workers in District 1199, state and municipal employees in CSEA, CEUI, and IBPO, college faculty and staff in the 4Cs, and property services workers in 32BJ make up its diverse membership.