Nedheads Rejoice–Lamont Builds Momentum Weeks From Convention

Lamont, Harris
Ned Lamont and Jonathan Harris. CT Mirror photo

Former state commissioner Jonathan Harris on Friday dropped out of the race for governor to throw his support behind Greenwich entrepreneur Ned Lamont who’s on the verge of front-runner status weeks from the Democratic convention. Last week Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also left the race.

This sets up a convention battle between Lamont and former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. The more the race thins out the more difficult it becomes for Mayor Joe Ganim who’s counting on a larger field of establishment candidates to carve up that vote. The Ganim campaign is expected to launch a labor-intensive petition drive to qualify for the August primary. The other way Ganim may qualify is 15 percent of the delegate support at the convention.

Operatives inside the Bysiewicz camp believe her candidacy is better positioned with Ganim on the ballot. Whether that materializes remains to be seen as Lamont builds coalitions to fortify his candidacy, including support from organized labor that influence primary battles.

Lamont stormed onto the state political seen in 2006 defeating then U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman in a war-protest primary. Lieberman won the general election as the de facto Republican candidate running on a third-party line. Lamont ran for governor in 2010 but was lanced by party-endorsed Dan Malloy. Lamont reemerged this election cycle as higher-profile pols such as Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Attorney General George Jepsen opted out of the race.

Statement from Ganim:

“I like Jonathan and wish him well.  Although many things unite us as Democrats, as the field narrows, delegates and voters will be able to see more clearly the differences between the candidates.  As the only big city mayor in this race who has balanced budgets, my campaign is about building a new Connecticut economy that works for everyone, not just a few, and that begins my making our cities once again engines of economic growth.  And as a second chance Mayor, our campaign is also about inclusion and providing an opportunity to all those who haven’t even had a first chance to succeed in this state.”

News release from Lamont campaign:

“Today, I am announcing that I am ending my campaign for governor,” said Harris. “Public service is and will always be close to my heart. I am proud to have dedicated myself to advancing my community in West Hartford and fighting to make Connecticut a great place to live.”

Harris continued, “This campaign has been an incredible experience and an important part of my journey as a public servant. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring forward the issues that I hold dear and have a productive conversation about the future of our State. Above all, I want to thank my family for their love and support. I couldn’t have done this without them. I also want to thank my supporters for their commitment to this campaign, and for their belief that together we can build a better Connecticut. Earning your support has been one of the highest honors of my life.”

Harris then went on to explain his endorsement of Ned Lamont: “When I entered the race, I said that Connecticut needed a bold leader who isn’t afraid to speak openly and tackle tough issues. With that in mind, I am happy to announce my support for Ned Lamont for Governor.

“Ned is someone I have become close with over the past few months and I know that he has the fresh perspective we need to fix our state’s budget problems and the leadership to build a real grass movement that brings people together to change Connecticut for the better. I hope that my supporters join me in getting behind Ned Lamont. Ned gives Democrats the best chance to win this November, and that is our best chance to bring positive change to our state.”

Ned Lamont accepted the endorsement saying “I am humbled to have earned Jonathan’s endorsement. He has run a campaign focused on the people of Connecticut. He is a great leader, a dedicated public servant and by far one of the nicest people I could have shared the early days on the campaign trail with. I look forward to working closely with Jonathan to build the ground swell of support that we need to bring real change to Connecticut.”

Ned Lamont is a leading member of the business community who has leveraged his experience in the academic and business worlds to attract new business to Connecticut, most notably Infosys, a tech company that will train up to 1,000 people for high paying tech jobs over the next few years. For the past decade Ned has been training the next generation of entrepreneurs as a professor at Central Connecticut State University. Ned Lamont became a well-known figure in Connecticut politics when he challenged Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in 2006 over the Iraq War. In 2008 he was the Chair of the Obama campaign and helping him win the support of Connecticut Democrats. In 2010 he challenged Dan Malloy in the Primary for the nomination for Governor, saying that if real political courage wasn’t shown Connecticut would find itself in an economic crisis ten years later.

CT Mirror reporter Mark Pazniokas has more:

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim and former Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly also will be competing for the nomination at the convention. Guy L. Smith IV, a former business executive, says he will petition for a place in the August primary.

Harris is the second Democrat to exit the race in 11 days. After a long exploratory campaign, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin decided not to go forward.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat seeking re-election, is the de facto leader of the Connecticut Democratic Party this year, directing a coordinated campaign. He has not publicly endorsed a gubernatorial candidate, but his relationship with Bysiewicz has been fraught since crushing her in a primary for the Senate nomination in 2012.

Full story here.



    1. Don, you know I could go with Dave Walker but he’s never in Bridgeport and he can’t seem to find the black community to hear what their concerns are the same way that Joe Ganim can’t find a way to do something or anything for the black community.

    2. Have tee shirts made with the slogan “ANYONE BUT GANIM!” emblazoned on the front, his likeness covered by a red circle and a diagonal line on the back. Sell thrm at the OIB soirée.

  1. We the people of the city of Bridgeport have a moral obligation to inform the rest of the state of Connecticut, especially the urban areas Joe “Quacky Duck” Ganim is counting on, that he is a con artist.

  2. Just a tag—–I’m not a delegate, but I can produce and sway more voters to vote than any delegate from Bridgeport. This I know from experience and knowing all those who think being named a delegate from Bridgeport means anything. How sad!!!!!

  3. It’s still the Gold Coast-Hartford Power Axis against the rest of the state… But now, a very interesting reconfiguration…

    There shouldn’t be any doubt that what Lamont really wants is to be a US Senator — and, at 64, he probably doesn’t want to be stuck in Hartford for four years. Bysiewicz is pretty much in a parallel political universe in that regard. (It would seem that Lamont and the Gold Coast-Hartford Power axis didn’t sense statewide-momentum feasibility for a Harris candidacy…)

    But Lamont doesn’t have the kind of record to generate statewide momentum for his gubernatorial candidacy either…

    So we have two “front-runners” that seem terribly gubernatorial to the electorate… This could get very interesting… So maybe we see things shake out in a Lamont-purchased party endorsement with Bysiewicz then coming in-board as a running mate for the sake of party unity, with plans in the background to let Lamont cede power to run for Blumenthal’s seat seat, and with Bysiewicz, as lieutenant governor, then being able to serve as governor in time to jump off and run for Murphy’s seat?… In the mean-time, the state senate could be set up to eventually provide desirable line-of-succession leadership in this regard…

    And what will Harris’ reward be for stepping aside (however reluctantly) for Lamont?

    In any event; it seems that Stamford-Hartford is really afraid of the political rebellion that is fomenting against them (the Connecticut Oligarchy) in the other 80% of the state…

    Again: the rest of the state — led by its large urban centers — will decide this election, and it won’t go the Oligarchy or a Republican (not with the current R messages, at least) if the urban centers can be rallied by an exciting, hopeful, fleshed-out Ganim message…

    It should be obvious that the state Democratic establishment is really nervous about the fomenting electoral, urban-/rural-/working-class-suburb rebellion by the way that they keep sacrificing their Oligarchy-surrogates (that make the best Ganim-profile-raising candidates…)

    But counting on Lamont’s money to buy the election will be a bigger mistake. The mood and perceptions of state are being misread big-time — just as they were nationally, in 2016…

    But; if a “real” Ganim message doesn’t materialize soon, the D’s ticket might be cut-and dried — even before the convention… And Lamont and Bysiewicz are not renaissance candidates — nor even properly motivated, for that matter… (And where has Toni Harp been since all of the Bridgeport casino excitement started to wane?)

    1. Give the “Gold Coast-Hartford Power Axis against the rest of the state” shpoel a test why don’t you, Jeff. Enough with the paranoid conspiracy bullshit. Time to chamge the aluminum foil lining the pasta colander you wear on your head.

    2. So Jeff, who are you supporting for governor? You said, “And where has Toni Harp been since all of the Bridgeport casino excitement started to wane?)” Mayor Harp is in New Haven being the mayor and trying deal for their budget and their Board Of Education something that Joe Ganim should be doing.

  4. *** “NED” is seeming to gain more & more interest state wide while “Susan” does not seem to be able to make a better political profile & relationship with women,black & other minority voters in the state. Joe may do well in Bpt. and lower Fairfield County,however he will not win in his bid to become Ct. Gov; but I respect his spirit for trying, especially after being an ex-offender who was convicted of crimes while holding a political position as the Mayor of Bpt. He’s managed to come back to the POL position he once held due to voters in Bpt. whom not only believe in a second-chance but some also liked the job he did as Mayor of Bpt. over his prior 10+ yrs. in office. And lets not forget that Bpt. is a 90% democratic city, with the remaining 10% of registered voters either republican, independent or just don’t bother voting at times! And last but not least, you have to have the benjamin$ ! ***

    1. Mojo, I hear you but you that Joe Ganim made a bad decision in running for in 2018. Ganim should had been the best mayor that he could for his full term and demonstrate leadership in governing with his second chance thereby showing the entire state that he’s for real and that he can be trusted then he run in 2022 or 2026 because he’s young enough to run in the future.

    2. Mojo,
      The truth is that Democratic registration runs about 9:1 ahead of Republican. But I also think that the facts would show a block of 20-30% of registered who are unaffiliated with any party (as well as a scattering of minor parties). But we are not a 90% democratic city by any meaning, especially if we think of democratic people USING THEIR REGISTRATION and VOTING, which we do not to any great extent. With low turnouts, the machinery of the party can usually manage results. What can make a difference? Time will tell.

  5. Kid: I understand that you’re harboring a great deal of anger and frustration, and I certainly don’t demean you for your human condition in this regard.

    I believe that if you were to work on developing more of a true understanding of how the world in general — and especially its political aspect — works, you would find yourself much better able to channel your great anger and frustration into some coherent thinking, and possibly even actual action… Possibly you might even find yourself motivated to use your talents in this regard…

    With a little study, thinking, and inspiration, you could make a difference…

    Good luck to you!

    1. Ron Mackey // Apr 27, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      So Jeff, who are you supporting for governor? You said, “And where has Toni Harp been since all of the Bridgeport casino excitement started to wane?)” Mayor Harp is in New Haven being the mayor and trying deal for their budget and their Board Of Education something that Joe Ganim should be doing.

  6. Ron: Toni was pretty enthusiastic about the Bridgeport-New Haven political partnership — especially the casino and Amazon HQ specs, in that regard… One would think that she might have some public thoughts on these issues and the evolving gubernatorial race. But there has been little news out of New haven in recent days in this regard… As they say; “the silence is deafening…” Her city will have a lot to say about what transpires at the upcoming state D-Party convention… With major gubernatorial candidates dropping out of the race and the race reconfiguring, one might expect some commentary out of New Haven in this regard… Considering the Bridgeport-New Haven political alliance… Don’t you think so?!…

  7. It’s the policies of Connecticut Democrats that have produced our current decline and provided crumbs to the poor and juicy benefits to state workers while impoverishing us all. Consequently,

    Democrats for Governor Dave Walker

    Democrats for State Senator Rich Deecken


  8. Is he the “New Hillary” that all the party leaders are being told to rally around?
    When Finch came out for him I said, what is this entitlement/privilag thing coming back at us. ?
    Time to look at the Republicans!


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