Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh, who’s among a coalition of city pols and organizations leading the charge against the Nov. 6 ballot question that if approved by voters would give the mayor the power to appoint school board members, writes in a commentary that voter backlash to the question could hurt the efforts of Democratic candidates needing to run up large numbers in the city such as Congressman Jim Himes and U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy. The “Vote No” coalition that includes former President of the Board of Education Max Medina has created a website www.protectourvotingrights.wordpress.com. Walsh commentary below:
How important is it?
That is the question Bill Finch and his operatives need to be asking themselves when it comes to the GOTV effort on Election Day.
Ordinarily the Democratic machine would simply kick it into high gear and pull out every registered Dem they could find (and sometimes even those that couldn’t be found). It’s a numbers game and the bigger the number coming out of Bridgeport the more he and Town Chair Mario Testa could beat their chests up in Hartford.
They would scream at the top of their lungs “We came through.” “We delivered.” And implied would be the state has to deliver to Bridgeport.
But this year could be different. This is the year of the charter question. This year the mayor has twisted arms in the business community finding funds for a Yes vote. Salivating over complete control of the school board and hence the school budget, not to mention unabated access to the capital funds for school construction and rehab. And don’t forget jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. Since Day One Mayor Finch has complained about the lack of jobs.
With an elected board and a friendly superintendent he could squeeze some jobs out of the schools for political rewards but now it would be free and total control.
Create jobs that never existed before. Big paydays for big payoffs.
So where are the mayor’s priorities?
Does he pump up the turnout to Obamaesque numbers again or does he tune it down just a bit. He will deliver his State Reps and State Senators no doubt with a managed turnout but …
Where will that leave Congressman Murphy? Will a lower turnout be just enough to help Linda squeak by? And to a lesser degree Jim Himes. It took an Obama landslide to deliver for Himes four years ago, what about this time around?
And what will happen if Murphy and Himes forces start getting wind that something is afoot? No well-respected political operative would deny this is right out of the old (Finch campaign adviser) Adam Wood playbook; every man for himself. Would they go behind the mayor’s back and do their own GOTV or even possibly put some money into the No campaign just to tweak up that turnout percent just a little higher?
It could be a dangerous game the Mayor and his allies are playing and it is definitely a game they don’t want to get caught red-handed.