Category Archives: 2014 Election

DePino Working As Top Volunteer For Eick In Treasurer Race Vs. Tim Herbst

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris DePino, Denise Nappier Date:

Timothy Herbst and Robert Eick both say the average taxpayer probably doesn’t know exactly what the state treasurer does.

They want to change that.

And they also both want to become the next state treasurer.

Herbst, 33, and Eick, 51, are battling for the Republican nomination to run against longtime Democratic incumbent Denise L. Nappier, who has won four consecutive election victories dating back to 1998. Nappier stands as the longest-serving of the state’s constitutional officers.

Neither Herbst nor Eick has an immediately recognizable political name because neither of them has held statewide office. Herbst serves as the three-term first selectman in Trumbull, a Fairfield County suburb with a population of about 36,000, while Eick is a longtime investment executive and movie investor who has never held public office.

Former fashion executive Jack C. Orchulli, a Republican who lost the U.S. Senate race in 2004 against incumbent Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, recently dropped out of the treasurer’s race after saying he had difficulty raising money under the state’s public financing system.

The Republicans have not won the treasurer’s race since 1994, when Christopher B. Burnham emerged victorious. It was a big year for Republicans nationally and in Connecticut when they won the governor’s office and captured the majority in the state Senate.

State Republican chairman Jerry Labriola said Nappier’s record has prompted multiple candidates to seek the office, despite Orchulli’s recent departure.

“Thanks to over a decade of Denise Nappier’s mishandling of our state’s finances, our credit rating has been downgraded repeatedly and our state’s pension fund is on the brink of insolvency,” said Labriola.

Nappier declined several requests for comment.

With one of the best years on Wall Street in 2013, the state pension fund grew by nearly $3 billion in a single year to $28.2 billion at the end of last year. The fund, which provides pensions for legislators, judges, teachers, and state employees, was about $17.5 billion when Nappier was running for the job in late 1998.

In the ongoing battle for delegates, Herbst has strength among fellow first selectmen and mayors, including an endorsement by Erin Stewart, the mayor of New Britain who is viewed by supporters as a rising star in the Republican Party. He is also being backed by Republican insiders that include Newtown first selectman Pat Llodra, Stratford mayor John Harkins, and former Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham. The mayors all have ties to the delegates who will be choosing the party’s candidate at the state convention on May 17.

Eick’s best-known volunteer is former state GOP chairman and former New Haven legislator Chris DePino, who introduced Eick around the Capitol on opening day this year. Continue reading

Cafero Says UTC Could Lay Off Workers And Still Get 35 Percent of Tax Credits

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

With bipartisan support, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of a deal to allow Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. to use state tax credits as it seeks to build a new headquarters for the famed Pratt & Whitney division in East Hartford.

The bill passed by 134 to 4 with four Republicans voting against the measure. All Democrats present in the chamber voted in favor.

House Republican leader Larry Cafero said Thursday that UTC, under the bill, could lay off 1,650 workers and still get 35 percent of the state-paid tax credits that are being debated by the state legislature.

“Huh?” Cafero asked on the floor of the House at the state Capitol during the debate.

“That’s the part that bothered me,” Cafero said. “My concern is, what if it goes wrong?”

The deal that was crafted by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has been widely praised by both business and labor, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Cafero’s own caucus.

“I hope I can be comforted and not so confused,” Cafero told his colleagues Thursday. “I encourage all of us to get those answers to those questions.”

“Let’s be honest. It’s about UTC and UTC alone,” Cafero said. “If this bill passes, God bless them. I wish them all the luck in the world.” Continue reading

Republicans Offer Alternative Budget That Would Eliminate Rebates, Keno, and EITC

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Ben Barnes, Brendan Sharkey, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Keno, Larry Cafero Date:

With less than three weeks remaining in the legislative session, Republicans offered an alternative budget Thursday that rejects Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $55 tax rebates and eliminates keno gambling.

The Republican plan would save the state more than $120 million per year by eliminating the state earned income tax credit for the working poor, but that idea was immediately criticized by Democrats.

Republicans said they were offering a gimmick-free alternative to the second year of the two-year budget that restores funding to multiple accounts that include transportation and clean energy.

“This is an honest approach that eliminates the ugly gimmicks and ‘techniques’ that have been employed to balance the budget only on paper,” said House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk. “Absent the gimmicks, the Democratic budget would be $150 million over the spending cap and out of balance.”

Republicans also blasted the statements by the Malloy administration, citing a University of Connecticut economist, that sending the rebate checks back to residents would stimulate the economy so much that it would create 1,200 new jobs.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” said Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield. “Show me those jobs that are created. … You can’t make this stuff up. Real people in the real world don’t believe that adding that money [from rebates] creates jobs.”

Cafero asked, “If you got another 55 bucks, that’s all of a sudden going to create 1,200 jobs? What world does that happen in?”

But Malloy’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said that the Republican proposal falls short on several points as “a political document that’s heavy on rhetoric” that was produced “after months of grandstanding” against Malloy’s budget.

“Perhaps most troubling, it includes a $120 million tax increase on Connecticut’s working poor by eliminating the EITC, what Ronald Reagan called ‘the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress,’ ” Barnes said.

Barnes continued, “It also contains $54.8 million in phantom spending cuts that are not detailed anywhere.  Finally, it does all this and yet their bottom line spending is less than 0.1 percent different from the Governor’s proposed budget. So much for cutting spending.”

The detailed Republican proposal includes more than 400 line items of cuts and additions in a wide variety of state departments, covering environmental protection, corrections, public safety, education, labor, transportation, motor vehicles, criminal justice, public health, and children and families. 

Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the highest-ranking senator, said, “I didn’t see any bold ideas proposed by the Republicans. … After a big buildup, I think it was a big letdown.” Continue reading

YouTube Gun Debate: McKinney Says Record Distorted; Dems Say Pandering

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

Gun control has been a highly controversial issue for decades, and that is continuing in the current election year.

The issue came up again when Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney was questioned in an exchange that was captured on YouTube. He was asked if Republicans gained control of both chambers of the state legislature and voted to repeal the gun-control bill that was passed last year, would he sign it.

McKinney responded, “If the legislature repeals something, I think the governor owes great deference to what the legislature does, and I would.”

McKinney was blasted for that response.

“It is unbelievable that John McKinney, who voted for the gun control bill “SB 1160,” now says if he were governor and the legislature sent him a bill repealing the legislation, he would sign it,” state Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said in a statement. “This is political pandering at its worst.”

But McKinney responded, “The misleading attack by the Democrat Party and the Malloy campaign represents exactly what’s wrong with politics. They took a two-hour long conversation and reduced it down to a 22-second sound bite to distort my record and the truth.”

“In our republic, the will of the people is expressed through its elected representatives. I stand by my comments: if the legislature repealed a law, I as governor, would give them great deference.” Continue reading

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.

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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.”