Category Archives: 2014 Election

McKinney Leads Individual GOP Fundraising Race; Boughton Team Ahead

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

With one month to go before the state Republican convention, Sen. John McKinney is leading in the important fundraising race for governor.

McKinney had raised more than $178,000 in small contributions by the end of the first quarter on March 31. He was followed by Greenwich business executive Tom Foley at $131,000 and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton at $121,000.

The main candidates have said that they will be seeking public financing, which requires them to raise $250,000 in amounts up to a maximum of $100. As such, they need 2,500 contributors at $100 each. If the average falls below $100, then they would need more contributors – in a task that politicians say is far more difficult than it appears. If they reach the threshold, they would qualify for $6 million in public funds to run in the general election.

But Boughton considers his team as the fundraising leaders because he has combined with a lieutenant governor candidate, Heather Somers, to raise a combined $184,000 in qualified contributions toward the $250,000.

“Heather and I are on pace to qualify for the Citizens’ Election Program and wage a fully-funded effort to get Connecticut back on the right track,” Boughton said.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti was in fourth place at more than $110,000, while former West Hartford town council member Joseph Visconti and Avon attorney Martha Dean trailed at less than $9,000 each. Dean was the last candidate to enter the race, but she was among five candidates on the stage last week at the Mark Twain House in Hartford for the first major televised debate of the season. Continue reading

April 15 Tax Day: GOP Focuses On Malloy Tax Increase; Dems Talk About Rowland

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jerry Labriola, John McKinney, John Rowland, Nancy DiNardo, Tom Foley Date:

On April 15 each year, voters and taxpayers are focused on the federal and state deadlines to get their taxes completed.

The Republican and Democratic parties both released statements Tuesday with a tax theme.

“On this Tax Day, we encourage all Connecticut families to thank Governor Dan Malloy and his record-setting tax increase for the $700 more in taxes they owe this year,” said Republican chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. “Today, we’re all receiving a painful reminder of exactly what Dan Malloy meant when he pledged to take a ‘different path.’ Instead of holding the line on taxes and reigning in out-of-control government spending, Governor Malloy increased government spending and passed the largest tax increase in state history at a time when Connecticut families could least afford it.”

Labriola continued, “In hopes of convincing voters to give him a second term, Governor Malloy has been ignoring the facts as he tours the state armed with Malloy Math and made up “facts” about Connecticut’s economy. But Connecticut voters know the truth. The reality is that Dan Malloy’s record-setting tax hikes and irresponsible spending increases have driven us further into debt and given Connecticut the worst economy in the nation.”

In response to Labriola’s comments about Malloy, Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo focused much of her statement on the past policies of former Gov. John G. Rowland, who left office in 2004. 

“The GOP gubernatorial candidates’ tax plans are like fairy tales: fun to read, but not believable,” DiNardo said. “Nearly all of them are saying some variation of the same thing: they’ll cut taxes by more than $1.5 billion. That reminds me of John Rowland, who ran in 1994 on a promise to eliminate the income tax. We all know how that turned out.”

DiNardo continued, “Seems they’re not quite done with John Rowland yet, since all of them are trying to be just like him. Either their ‘proposed’ cuts won’t happen, or if they do, they will attempt to balance the budget by gutting funding for essential programs like education, or by laying off tens of thousands of state employees. There simply aren’t many places in the state budget where you can cut $1.5 billion.”

Malloy On Men’s Basketball Tourney: “Come To Hartford Next March.”

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Basketball fans and local businesses in Greater Hartford were pleased Monday by the news that a major basketball tournament is coming to Hartford next year.

The American Athletic Conference, which held its men’s basketball tournament in Memphis this year, is now moving to Connecticut’s capital city for March 2015.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy hailed the decision, which will bring teams from around the country to fill up seats at the XL Center in downtown Hartford, along with local hotel rooms, restaurants, and parking lots.

“I want to send a message to college basketball fans everywhere: come to Hartford next March,” Malloy said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

Gov. Malloy Mispronounces Auriemma At UConn Parade Outside State Capitol

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

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy captured some attention at the University of Connecticut basketball parade on Sunday by mispronouncing the name of the women’s team’s well-known coach, Geno Auriemma.

Some in the crowd started to boo, and Malloy, who had just returned from Florida and was hoarse, said, “Did I mispronounce it? … I got a bad voice.”

The Courant’s longtime sports columnist, Jeff Jacobs, reports the following from the rally outside the state Capitol in Hartford:

Before he drew boos for mispronouncing Geno Auriemma’s last name — making him a candidate to run for mayor of Boston — Gov. Malloy had drawn big cheers for welcoming the crowd to the “Basketball Capital of America.”

And on this day, who was in position to argue?

This date, April 13, is a date that forever will hold a grip on the hearts of sports fans in our state.

April 13, 1997, was a dark, dark day.

Hartford’s last NHL game was played that day, and it was mourned by thousands and thousands. Seventeen years later, about 25 members of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club gathered Sunday for its annual “Fanniversary” at the Black Bear Saloon.

April 13, 2014, was a great, great day.

Across the street and up the hill from the Black Bear, 200,000 gathered for a parade to celebrate UConn’s dual national basketball championships.

Republicans Declare Victory in Special State Election In Northern CT

by Categorized: 2014 Election, CCDL, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Roy Occhiogrosso, Sandra A. Lyon Date:

Republicans were declaring victory Friday night as East Granby finance board member Tami Zawistowski won a special election over Democrat Peter Hill in the 61st district in northern Connecticut.

The special election was held to fill the seat of former Democratic state Rep. Elaine O’Brien of Suffield, a two-term legislator who died in February at 58 of brain cancer.

Zawistowski, a pro-gun advocate and former president of the East Granby Chamber of Commerce, had lost when she ran for the seat against O’Brien in 2012. The district covers East Granby, Suffield, and parts of northern Windsor.

Zawistowski had received support on the blog of the pro-gun Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

Insiders said that the race was emblematic of a broader trend in politics beyond the boundaries of the district. Greenwich business executive Tom Foley, who leads among Republicans in the race for governor, campaigned along with Zawistowski, while U.S. Senator Chris Murphy went door to door with Hill.

The race marks the second time that Republicans have recently won a previously Democratic legislative seat in a special election. Republicans won a seat last year that had been held by Democrats for decades, including by Nancy Wyman of Tolland, who now serves as lieutenant governor.

Democrats now hold a majority of 96 to 54 in the state House of Representatives with one seat open in a Democratic district in New Haven.

“Tami’s landslide victory tonight is a true testament of the strength of her Republican message of restoring much-needed fiscal sanity to our state,” state GOP chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. said Friday night.

“Tonight’s results are also a clear referendum on the failed economic policies of Dan Malloy, which have given us the worst economy in the nation, brutally high taxes, and an unemployment rate that continues to far exceed the national average.

House GOP leader Larry Cafero said, “This is a great grassroots effort in this district, and we’ve shown over time a propensity to win these targeted races when we get our message out and our people out. This is a wonderful harbinger for the coming election cycle.”

Malloy’s campaign spokesman, James Hallinan, referred questions to the state Democratic Party. Sandra A. Lyon, the chief of staff for the state Democrats, said she commended Hill “on a hard-fought race and congratulate Tami Zawistowski.”

“But please, someone give Jerry Labriola a reality check,” Lyon said, adding, “As much as Jerry needs good news, a special election for a state House race is not an indicator of anything for November.” Continue reading

Foley Slammed for Skipping Debate

by Categorized: 2014 Election, John McKinney, Mark Boughton, Tom Foley Date:

Five of the six Republicans running for governor came to the Mark Twain House for a debate Friday.


Tom Foley, who is the frontrunner according to several Quinnipiac University polls, chose not to attend the debate. His spokesman said he is focusing his efforts on delegates at this stage in the campaign. He intends to participate in debates after the Republican nominating convention next month.

But several of Foley’s opponents criticized him for skipping Friday’s forum, the first major televised debate of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

“It’s unfortunate one candidate opted not to attend today,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. “I think that the delegates that go to the convention next month, I think the people of Connecticut and the Republicans of Connecticut ought to be able to hear from all of us…that’s how you lead. You lead from the front, you don’t lead by hiding somewhere else in the state of Connecticut.”

After the debate, Boughton reiterated his point:

“Tom Foley should be here. Look, we have a responsibility as candidates to have a conversation with the public in Connecticut and when you duck your responsibility, when you don’t come…it’s not like he’s doing anything else today but hanging around the estate. The reality is, you have a duty to share with the Republican voters and later the general voters, where you stand on the issues of the day.”

State Sen. John McKinney echoed those comments:

“Listen, ambassador Foley should have been here today. There’s no other way to describe it. When you run for office, you have an obligation to tell the people who are going to hire you what your positions are. You need to listen to them and you need to respond to their questions. Not showing up for a debate I think shirks a fundamental responsible and obligation as a candidate for public office.”


Former Sen. Tony Avallone, Longtime Democrat, Appears At Judiciary Hearing

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Tony Avallone Date:

Former state Sen. Tony Avallone, a high-profile political activist and longtime Democratic National Committee member, was questioned Friday over how he can cast aside his longheld, hard-core political beliefs in order to become an impartial judge.

Avallone, a former Democratic state senator from New Haven and political contributor, was nominated recently by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Avallone had been a close friend and confidante of Sen. William A. DiBella of Hartford at the height of DiBella’s powers as Democratic majority leader in the early 1990s.

“How does one go about then – having been in that world for such a long time – conveying that image of being apolitical when you’re in court?” asked Sen. Jason Welch, a Bristol Republican on the legislature’s judiciary committee.

“Your actions, senator, speak more” than words, Avallone responded. “I recognize my political career is over. I thought very seriously about that. Those days are over. You put the robes on – and you apply the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court.”

When asked about his views on the “sausage-making” during his 10 years as a state senator from 1983 to 1993 and his views on creating laws, Avallone said, “As a judge, that’s not my role.”

“I’m a good lawyer, but I bring people together,” said Avallone, a former co-chairman of the legislature’s judiciary committee.

“It’s important for judges to have patience,” Welch said. “I’m getting the impression here that you are a man of patience. Maybe you can illuminate that a little more for us.”

When asked about his patience, Avallone responded, “It occurred in this very building. I was under attack and didn’t know I was in a fight. … I started to lose my temper. I remembered something I had been taught. I walked away. I came back, and I said, ‘We’re going to agree to disagree.’ And I turned around and I walked away. Someone asked me, ‘Where did you get that?’ I got it from my father.”

He added, “I learned that lesson. I learned it right here. … This place teaches you a lot. This place is a great place.”

Noting that Avallone has been a lobbyist and heavily involved in politics, Welch asked, “Why the change?”

“Obviously, it’s part of any lawyer’s dream to be a member of the bench,” Avallone responded. ”I think I have something to offer. As I said earlier, when you walk into a courtroom for the first time, you deserve respect. I think I can do that. … It’s not about making money. It’s about giving something back.” Continue reading

First Major TV Debate In Governor’s Race Friday; To Be Broadcast Sunday Morning

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, Joe Visconti, John McKinney, Mark Boughton, Tom Foley Date:

The first major television debate in the governor’s race was held Friday at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

While Republicans have faced off in various forums across the state, Friday was the first big debate televised statewide. Sponsored by The Hartford Courant and FOX CT, the one-hour debate was taped in front of a live audience in the Twain House auditorium and will be broadcast at 10 a.m. Sunday on FOX CT.

The debate will preempt “The Real Story” and Tom Dudchik’s weekly Capitol Report that combine for the Political Power Hour on Sunday mornings.

The participants were Senate Republican leader John McKinney, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Avon attorney Martha Dean, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and former West Hartford town council member Joe Visconti. Greenwich business executive Tom Foley, who is leading among Republicans in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, did not appear. Continue reading

Rowland Indicted For Dealings With Two Congressional Campaigns in 2010, 2012

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brian Foley, John Rowland, Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg Date:

Former Gov. John G. Rowland was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on seven criminal counts for his dealings with two Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012.

Federal prosecutors say that Rowland “devised a scheme to work for the campaign of a candidate seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional Districut during the 2009 and 2010 election cycle.”

Litchfield developer Mark Greenberg was not named in the indictment as the 2010 candidate, but he has publicly stated that Rowland offered to work for him during that campaign.

“To make the illegal arrangement appear legitimate, Rowland drafted a sham consulting contract pursuant to which he would purportedly perform work for a separate corporate entity, referred to in the indictment as the “Animal Center,” the federal prosecutor’s office said. “By proposing to run the campaign-related payments to Rowland through the Animal Center, Rowland sought to prevent actual campaign contributions and expenditures from being reported to the FEC and the public.”

The charges against Rowland include two counts of causing false statements to be made to the Federal Elections Commission, which carries a maximum of 5 years on each count; two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, which carry a maximum prison term of 20 years on each count. In addition, he was charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions.

While the time in prison is traditionally reduced by federal guidelines, the maximum combined term for the 7 counts in the indictment is 57 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

Overall, 6 of the 7 counts relate to the 2012 campaign of Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley of Simsbury, while one count relates to the 2010 campaign of developer Mark Greenberg of Litchfield. Greenberg is currently running this year against Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire, who won the 2012 race against Republican Andrew Roraback.

Rowland is expected to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. Friday in New Haven in front of Judge Ellen Bree Burns, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1947, was nominated to the federal bench by Jimmy Carter, and is now 90 years old. Continue reading

Esty, Greenberg Tangle Over Ryan Budget

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg Date:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and her Republican challenger Mark Greenberg are sparring over Thursday’s budget vote in the House.

Esty, a freshman from Connecticut’s 5th District, voted no on the fiscal 2015 spending plan put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. Ryan’s budget cuts federal spending by $5 trillion and includes sharp cuts to Medicaid and other health-care programs.

In a statement, Esty outlined her opposition to what she called Ryan’s “harmful, bad-faith budget.”

“It would break our commitments to seniors by ending Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and would increase out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and preventive care. The Ryan budget also slashes investment in education and limits our ability to improve our roads and rail infrastructure. And it keeps incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas while forcing middle-class families to pay more,” Esty said.

Greenberg lashed out at Esty, saying the Democratic spending plan she backs “continues [a] pattern of irresponsible spending and back-breaking tax increases.”

The Democrats’ plan would boost spending by $740 billion, Greenberg said in a press release. ”Does Esty stand with her DC allies or the people in the 5th District who continue to suffer? I call on her to reject this type of tax and spend budget,” he added.

Asked which budget Greenberg would support, his campaign manager Bill Evans said: “ Mark is not a member of Congress and can’t commit to voting for a bill he has not read.  I can say that he wouldn’t support the plan being advanced by Esty’s colleagues because it raises taxes and balloons spending.”