Author Archives: Jenny Wilson

SOTS Reports 21 Percent Turnout At Primaries

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Voter turnout figures released Tuesday show low participation in last week’s statewide Republican primaries.

Turnout was 21 percent among Republican voters, who last week elected Greenwich businessman Tom Foley and former Groton Mayor Heather Somers to run against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman in November.

Of the nearly 400,000 registered Republicans in Connecticut, less than 83,000 voted in the primary.

“The turnout was actually slightly higher than we had predicted for this year” Secretary Merrill said in a release.  “Compared to general elections, primaries consistently have a lower turnout so exceeding twenty percent was actually a little higher than we originally thought.”

The voter turnout was a nearly 10 percentage point drop from 2010, the last Republican gubernatorial primary, when 30 percent of Republican voters cast ballots to choose Foley as that year’s nominee. Foley said last week that a high profile senate race in 2010 contributed to the higher level of turnout four years ago.

New Foley Ad Hits Malloy: “Connecticut Is Hurting”

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

“Dan Malloy is so desperate that he’s falsely attacking Tom Foley,” a voice narrates in a new ad from Republican Tom Foley, responding to allegations in a recent ad the governor’s campaign launched against its challenger.

Malloy a week ago launched an ad that featured an awkward exchange between Foley and employees at Fusion Paperboard in Sprague earlier this summer, and compared the Greenwich businessman’s remarks there to what Democrats say are problems with his ownership of the Bibb Co., a Georgia textile manufacturer, in the 80s and 90s.

“It’s sad Malloy can’t defend his policies,” the new Foley spot says, criticizing the governor for the largest tax increase in state history, a struggling economy, and an unfavorable jobs market.

Cook Political Report Moves Conn. Gov Race From Lean D to Toss Up

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

On the heels of Tom Foley’s Republican primary victory, national political analysts have changed their rating of the race from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.”

Cook Political, the elections analysis firm, changed the rating Friday. Cook analyst Jennifer Duffy said in a post to Twitter that the switch has “nothing to do with pol enviro or any GOP wave, but because voters are unhappy w/ incumbents.”

“Despite Connecticut’s solid blue hue, Malloy has had a difficult first term and is not all that popular with voters,” Duffy said. “He inherited a $3.5 billion budget shortfall that he closed by raising taxes, including the sales tax. Although he claimed a budget surplus this year, it turned out to be premature”

Foley/Somers Hit The Campaign Trail

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Foley and SomersTom Foley and Heather Somers, paired together Wednesday by Republican voters, hit the campaign trail as a team for the first time Thursday and declared their arranged marriage “a dream ticket.”

Both campaigned as “outsiders” in the primary, saying they would bring the perspective of Connecticut residents to the state capitol.

“We come out of the business world – we know what job creators and leaders need in order to stay here and invest in Conn,” Foley said. “But we also are experienced in government…Heather was mayor of groton and I served twice in government, once over in Iraq and for 2 1/2 years in the State Department over in Dublin.”

Somers said: “We’re going to put Dan Malloy on notice right now that he should start packing his bags. In 12 weeks he’s going to be gone.”

Foley Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

The day after winning the party primary, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley accepted a challenge from his former opponent and agreed to have a bucket of ice dumped on his head  as part of a viral campaign to raise money for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

McKinney, who had a bucket of ice dumped on his head last night, “nominated” Foley – meaning the former ambassador had 24 hours to either participate or donate $100 to an ALS charity. Foley agreed to do both, as did McKinney. McKinney also nominated State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (who accepted the challenge) and Gov. Malloy (who has yet to).

Foley stood outside his Trumbull headquarters after a press conference Wednesday and made his nominations before McKinney dumped ice water on his head. He tapped political foes: Roy Occhiogrosso, a former Malloy adviser who helped to run the governor’s 2010 campaign; Nancy DiNardo, the state Democratic party chairwoman; and Gov. Malloy.

“A good friend of mine,” Foley said when he named Occhiogrosso, causing McKinney to exclaim, “Yes!”

Occhiogrosso, after learning of the challenge, posted a response to his Twitter account: “not until he learns how to pronounce my name. He’s got the “Roy” part down pat.”

Commenting on Foley’s good-natured humor in accepting the challenge, McKinney said, “More people need to see it. He’s a good guy.”

In Waterbury, Former Malloy Supporters Campaign For Foley and Somers

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

A group stood outside Kennedy School in Waterbury Tuesday evening, holding signs for Tom Foley and Heather Somers and greeting voters who showed up to the polls in the drizzling rain.

Of the six or seven men there, nearly all of them were former Democrats – some of whom had worked on Gov. Malloy’s campaign in 2010. A Foley victory this evening would set up a general election rematch of the closest gubernatorial race in Connecticut in over half a century, and late in the afternoon, Foley was predicting that he would win the primary by a comfortable margin.

Malloy defeated Foley by less than 6,500 votes in 2010 by carrying the three biggest cities of Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven. In Waterbury, which has a population of over 100,000, the vote was closer, and Foley has focused on the area this time around – announcing his candidacy at a VFW hall  there in January and scheduling an election party in the city tonight. Those who stood outside Tuesday said he has won their support. Included in the group was the former Democratic mayor of Waterbury, Michael Jarjura. Jarjura, also a former state legislator, switched parties and ran for mayor in 2011 as a Republican.

“Waterbury tends to be a very moderate conservative town,” he said. “It’s not an automatic thing – because you’re a Democrat, you vote Democrat. They think about who they’re going to vote for.”

Bob Fontano and Vito Santarsiero, both retired state employees, said they are former union members who worked for Malloy’s campaign in 2010 but this year are backing a Foley/Somers ticket.  Both were previously registered Democrat but have since switched parties.

In Malloy’s 2010, “every fair, every event he went to, we were right there with him, me and Bobby,” Santasiero said. “But he was very disappointing…when you don’t make the changes you promised on the campaign trail.”

Fontano said Democrats “put out the myth that they’re for the working people, but they’re not for the working people.” Though Malloy has been endorsed by the state’s largest workers union, Fontano said rank and file members “don’t go with the executive boards.” Support for the incumbent, Fontano said, was “about 50/50 from the people I talk to.”

Mike Burns, a unionized construction worker, said union members “are all having problems so they don’t like what’s going on…between work, regulations, we had good benefits, and now that’s gone.” Burns voted for Foley in 2010 and 2014.

Fontano said he was supporting Foley over McKinney because “We don’t want to put somebody in there who’s been up there 20 years and hasn’t changed anything yet.”

The state senate minority leader “says if he gets in there now he’s going to but he doesn’t tell us how,” said Fontano.

Pro-Gun Democrats

Richard Roland, 65, is still a registered Democrat, but stood in the rain holding a Foley sign Tuesday. Roland is an employee of Connecticut-based firearms manufacturer O.F. Mossberg and Sons.

“I see what Malloy has done to the gun industry in Conn., which has a lot of proud history,” Roland said. “When sandy hook happened, people were crying, even at the shop, we were all crying,” he said. But he was disappointed in the post-Newtown gun restrictions, which resulted in his company partially moving out of state and laying off “a lot of people.”

“I’ve seen too many good friends lose their job because of Malloy,” said Roland, who quit his Democratic Town Committee after the Newtown gun legislation was enacted.


Steelworkers Union Slams Foley On Fusion Comments

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

A workers union Monday slammed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley for comments he made two weeks ago about the closure of a Sprague paper mill.

“Tom Foley’s disingenuous claims that the workers and the governor are somehow to blame for Fusion Paperboard’s unfortunate decision to close its plant couldn’t be further from the truth,” the United Steelworkers said in a statement released Monday.

Fusion Paperboard announced last month that it would close its doors in the fall, leaving 145 employees without jobs. Foley, a Greenwich business executive who is running in a primary election Tuesday, released a statement blaming Gov. Malloy for the closure and held a press conference in Sprague. Democrat state Sen. Cathy Osten, who is also the town’s first selectman, and other workers at the press conference got into a heated exchange with Foley that escalated to the point of Foley blaming Osten and the Fusion employees for losing their jobs.

“Tom Foley’s effort to shift the blame for this situation onto the shoulders of the workers and the governor is politics at its worst,” the union said.

Republican voters will elect the party’s nominee for governor in a primary tomorrow. Foley is running against senate Republican leader John McKinney, who said that the press conference his opponent held in Sprague “is not something that I would ever do.”

Malloy Campaign Ad Mentions Newtown, Hurricane Sandy, Long-Term Debt

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s newest campaign ad continues a prominent theme of the governor’s reelection bid: Whether a destructive hurricane or a school massacre, Dan Malloy is good in a crisis.

“Dan Malloy has made the tough decisions for our kids and for our future,” a narrator says in the ad. The narrator adds that Malloy has “cut $12 billion in long term debt” and “increas[ed] funding for education every year.”

The spot, called “Determination,” also credits Malloy with “providing the leadership to protect our families from gun violence.”

Malloy and the narrator are accompanied by two other Connecticut residents in the ad. Milford Mayor Ben Blake credits Malloy for his response to Hurricane Sandy, and Nicole Hockley says that “Governor Malloy has the courage and conviction to stand up and do the right thing.”

Hockley lost her son Dylan in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

To see the full ad, click here.

Malloy is spending $180,000 on the commercial this week as it is broadcast in the Hartford and New Haven regions, as well as the highly expensive New York City market that spills over into lower Fairfield County – an important voting area where Republicans traditionally have political strength.

Malloy is expected to face Republican rival Tom Foley in the November 4 general election. Foley is favored to defeat Fairfield Sen. John McKinney in the GOP primary, which is August 12.

Fairfield County Train Stations Frequent Campaign Stop For McKinney

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:


If you’re a Fairfield County commuter, you’ve had a pretty good shot of meeting Republican gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney in the last week.

While some candidates barnstorm through local ice cream shops, state fairs, and pot-lucks, McKinney has added rail platforms to the list, rising before 6 am most days and greeting commuters as they board Metro North trains bound for New York and Stamford.

This morning, McKinney was at the New Canaan train station shaking hands by 6 am, according to his press schedule. Last week, he made a stop at the Westport train station. Commuters also told Capitol Watch that McKinney shook hands at Southport station last week.

McKinney has been critical of the MTA’s operation of the rail line and made commuters a central focus of his campaign. His legislative website lists “advocating for the commuter” as a priority for the senator, and McKinney has said that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has bungled the state’s commuter infrastructure and its relationship with the MTA.

“I think transportation as a general issue is critically important to economic development for the entire state. You have to get people to and from work more quickly,” McKinney told Capitol Watch in July. “We risk losing people in the financial services industry, and in other industries as well, to other states because of our failure to make improvements on our rail line.” Continue reading

Malloy Unlikely To See Repeat Endorsement From State Police Union

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:


As Gov. Dannel P. Malloy racks up endorsements from powerful unions across the state, at least one group remains absent from the roll of those chanting “four more years!”

The State Police union, with whom Malloy has publicly clashed over labor concessions and top-level leadership appointments, has still not endorsed a candidate for governor. The State Police went for Malloy in 2010.

Andrew Mathews, the longtime president of the state police union, told the CT News Junkie that things have improved between Malloy and the state police since the rocky start. But Mathews said the group still might stay neutral in the governor’s race. Continue reading