Category Archives: Democrats

Partisan Clash Over Easing Connecticut’s Voting Rules

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, Democrats, General Assembly, Republicans, Uncategorized Tagged: , , , Date:

How and when people should be allowed to vote has become a highly partisan issue around the United States in recent years, and Connecticut’s turn is now arriving smack in the middle of a heated political campaign season.

Democratic and Republican state lawmakers squared off Wednesday at a legislative meeting over the seemingly innocuous issue of how to explain to voters a proposed state constitutional amendment that’s on the ballot this November.

Photo courtesy of Connecticut State Government.

Photo courtesy of Connecticut State Government.

The real debate wasn’t about the wording, but about the proposed amendment that would remove current restrictions on the General Assembly’s ability to allow things like early voting or “no excuse” absentee ballots. Republicans insist the change could lead to more voter fraud, but Democrats say all they want to do is to make it easier for people to vote.

Connecticut’s constitution doesn’t allow early voting systems like those now used in 33 other states, such as opening the polls on the Saturday before an election. At least 27 states permit registered voters to use “no excuse” absentee ballots – but Connecticut will only allow an absentee ballot if someone is too sick or is out of state at the time of that Election Day.

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Polling Woes: Foley’s Way Ahead of Malloy, Or Maybe Not

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Jonathan Pelto, Republicans, Tom Foley Tagged: , , Date:

If anyone needed any more evidence about how cautious you have to be of political polling these days, all they have to do is look at the results of two very different opinion surveys released in the last few days.

On Tuesday, a new-style, online type of poll on Connecticut’s gubernatorial race came out with the somewhat startling results that Republican Tom Foley was leading Democratic incumbent Dannel Malloy by nine percentage points.  One reason it got so much play – despite all the questions about how it was done – was because it was commissioned by the New York Times and CBS.

Democrat Dannel Malloy

Democrat Dannel Malloy

On Thursday, a slightly more traditional opinion survey was released, this time by a GOP-leaning group called Vox Populi Polling. It found Malloy was ahead of Foley by a single percentage point. A third-party candidate, Jonathan Pelto, came in with three percent support among those polled. With the margin of error involved, the only conclusion you could have is that the race is too close to call.

Republican Tom Foley

Republican Tom Foley

So, which one are we supposed to  believe? The NYT-CBS sponsored survey that used rather questionable online methods? Or the Vox Populi Polling results that also involved some methods (such as automated “robo-calls” to presumed voters) that traditional pollsters question?

Maybe the answer is to be very wary of both.

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With No Fanfare, GOP Surprised by “Bizarre” Announcement After Bond Commission

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

Without the traditional trappings of being surrounded by family and friends behind the podium, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy abruptly announced Friday that he is running for a second term as governor.

Malloy picked the Legislative Office Building in Hartford for his announcement, which came in response to a reporter\’s question after he had spent more than eight minutes answering questions on the details of the state budget and other issues.

Word started to spread among Capitol reporters that Malloy might be making an announcement Friday morning, but Malloy first covered a series of other issues while talking to reporters. Certain selected reporters had gotten a heads-up with a telephone call to make sure they would be attending the post-bond commission press conference. Others received nothing.

Greenwich Sen. L. Scott Frantz, a member of the Bond Commission who had attended the meeting, said it was a \”bizarre\’\’ way to announce for a second term as governor.

\”I\’m really surprised that he came out after a Bond Commission meeting and announced,\’\’ Frantz said. \”There\’s not a lot of fanfare here. There\’s virtually no on from the public here – no family, no close friends outside of government. … It\’s bizarre.\’\’

On the merits, virtually no one in state government thought that Malloy would not be running.

\”It\’s the worst-kept secret since Gwyneth Paltrow\’s divorce,\’\’ said former state Republican chairman Chris Healy, referring to the well-known actress who recently broke up with her husband, Chris Martin.

Healy and others said the key reason for running now – as cited by Malloy – is Malloy needs to get started on the daunting task of raising $250,000 in maximum amounts of $100 in order to qualify for $6 million in public matching funds. That means getting at least 2,500 individuals to contribute $100 each. If some contribute less than $100, then a candidate needs more than 2,500 people – a very difficult task.

\”He wants to raise the low-dollar money and has probably been told that it will take longer than expected, even for an incumbent governor,\’\’ Healy told Capitol Watch Friday. \”It took him almost a year and a half last time [in the 2010 race for governor], and he wasn\’t sitting as an elected official with a captive audience.\’\’

Regarding Malloy\’s long delay in making an official announcement, Healy said, \”Maybe he\’s tired of the absurdity of denying the question. It\’s probably no more complicated than that.\’\’ Continue reading

RGA Has Its Own Version of March Madness

by Categorized: Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republicans Date:

Forget basketball: The Republican Governors Association has its own version of March Madness.

Instead of college basketball teams, the RGA bracket is filled with Democratic governors. The RGA says its online competition will allow participants to \”learn about the destructive policies and failed leadership of Democrat governors and candidates, and choose through a series of head-to-head matchups the Democrat that is inspiring the most Blue State Madness in 2014.\”

For the record, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy faces off against Washington state\’s Jay Inslee in Round One.


DCCC Launches Web Ad Against Mark Greenberg, Other GOP Candidates

by Categorized: Democrats, Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg, Uncategorized Date:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hitting 5th District Republican Mark Greenberg in a new targeted web ad on healthcare.

The interactive ad, modeled on the game of Life, accuses Greenberg and Congressional Republicans of pursuing a damaging agenda on healthcare.

\”Whether it\’s being able to afford an emergency C-section, making sure kids get the right nutrition, ensuring women don\’t have to pay more for their care or guaranteeing Medicare\’s future, Mark Greenberg wants to join a Republican Congress that plays reckless games that hurt your health at every stage of life – all because they would rather stack the deck for their special interest buddies,\” Marc Brumer, DCCC spokesman, said in a press release. \”Now you can see just how much of a mess Mark Greenberg would make of your health care – but one spoiler alert: in this game, you can\’t win.\”

Watch the ad here:

Greenberg, a Litchfield County businessman, is the leading challenger to freshman Democrat Elizabeth Esty in the 5th District. Greenberg has been endorsed by 220 Republican leaders in 5th District and 18 members of General Assembly.



Son Of State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez Dies Suddenly At Windsor Motel

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, Hartford Date:

State legislators are mourning the sudden death of the son of state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, a longtime Hartford representative.

Josue Maldonado, 33, of Amity Street in Hartford, was found dead at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Flamingo Inn at 29 Windsor Ave. in Windsor.

The Courant\’s David Owens reports that Maldonado was discovered by a housekeeper, and police were called at 1:28 p.m. Maldonado was pronounced dead by a paramedic at the motel that is north of the Hartford line.

An autopsy that was performed on Monday did not determine a cause of death, and now the chief medical examiner\’s office in Farmington will be waiting for weeks to learn the results of laboratory tests.

Windsor Police Capt. Tom LePore said detectives would like to question a woman who was at the motel with Maldonado and had been seen leaving at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday. He had checked into the motel at about 2:30 a.m.

\”She\’s not a suspect, but we would like to speak with her, find out if she could provide us with any information,\” LePore told Owens.

In 2008, Maldonado had been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Tuesday for possessing the drug PCP with the intent to distribute, officials said.

He had pleaded guilty in April 2008 in federal court to one criminal count of possession after being indicted by a federal grand jury in New Haven in July 2007, according to the U.S. attorney\’s office. The office said that Maldonado \”knowingly possessed 18.5 grams of PCP with intent to distribute a portion of that quantity\” in a case that was investigated by both the FBI and the Hartford police. Continue reading

Q Poll Finds Broad Support for Raising the Minimum Wage

by Categorized: Democrats Date:

By a margin of nearly 3 to 1, voters overwhelmingly back the idea of raising the minimum wage, Tuesday\’s Quinnipiac University poll found.

Forty-two percent of voters support raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, the number set by both President Obama and Gov. Malloy.

The broad support for a higher minimum wage is good news for Democrats, who have made the proposal their marquee issue in the 2014 campaign cycle. President Obama is scheduled to come to Connecticut Wednesday to promote the idea.

The poll found that just 8 percent of respondents would favor a state minimum wage lower than $10.10 an hour while 20 percent want a larger increase. About 25 percent say the $8.70 state minimum wage should remain the same.

Support for a higher wage is nearly universal among Democrats: just 6 percent of the party\’s members opposed it, according to the poll. About two-thirds of unaffiliated voters back the higher wage. But Republicans are more divided: 53 percent oppose the idea while 41 percent favor it.

Keno Gambling Appears Dead in CT

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brendan Sharkey, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Keno gambling appears dead in Connecticut before the games even started – as numerous top officials now say they are against the bingo-like game.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey called Wednesday for the state to repeal keno before it takes effect – dealing a huge blow to the game and essentially ending its chances for implementation. Continue reading

Report Gives Connecticut Top Marks For Budgeting Process

by Categorized: Connecticut, Democrats Date:

Connecticut ranks first among the states for its use of fiscal planning tools, according to a recently-released report from a D.C. think tank.

\"capitolUnder the state budgeting process, lawmakers set multi-year projections, ask a non-partisan agency to analyze the fiscal impact of legislation and put money into a \”rainy day fund\” that can be tapped in budget emergencies – all effective tools in long-term budget planning, according to the report from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Connecticut also received praise for providing estimates of how much it would cost to continue delivering services at the current level, a projection that helps show when a governor\’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to a state agency. The report cited Gov. Malloy\’s 2011 budget as an example, and said that the baseline estimate allowed lawmakers to see that a $5 million cut to a department\’s budget was, in fact, a more significant cut of $10 million when compared to the actual cost of continuing current services. The legislature reversed some of the cuts in the final budget it adopted, the report said, after \”digging deeper\” and learning about some of the programs Malloy wanted to cut.

Connecticut received low marks from the CBPP in just two of 10 categories: pension oversight and oversight of tax expenditures. The state needs regular reviews of future pension costs from an outside agency, and needs to better scrutinize the future costs of tax breaks, the report said.

Malloy\’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said Connecticut had a \”transparent and accurate system of fiscal reporting.\”

General Assembly Opening Delayed Until Thursday

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republicans Date:

With a major snowstorm bearing down on Connecticut early Wednesday, legislative leaders and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have agreed to postpone the opening joint legislative session until Thursday. Gov. Malloy will deliver his State of the State address to the legislature at noon on Thursday.

\”Given the forecast over the next couple of days, I\’ve asked legislative leaders to postpone the star of session until Feb. 6,\” Malloy said. \”Whiel I hope the storm is not as bad as the predictions suggest, I also don\’t want to put anyone in harm\’s way. I want to thank the leaders for accomodating this request.\”