Two Republican candidates for lieutenant governor are clashing sharply less than 24 hours before the state party convention opens – with charges and countercharges about race.
Republican David Walker said Thursday that state Rep. Lisa Marie “Penny” Bacchiochi of Stafford Springs is lying, and he is demanding an apology.
The dust-up started when Bacchiochi went on WTIC-AM radio with longtime host Jim Vicevich on Thursday morning and voluntarily raised the issue that telephone calls were being made among delegates that raised an issue about her candidacy because her husband is black. She said she had been subjected to “tremendous negative attacks by my opponent” because she has a black husband and four black stepsons.
“I’m devastated, and I’m shocked by that,” Bacchiochi said.
The clash was featured on Channel 3 news at 11 p.m. Thursday, in which Walker said, “It is desperation tactics on behalf of a desperate candidate. … She can’t run on her own qualifications. This is the third time that she’s tried to attack me for various reasons.”
“I hope people will see Penny Bacchiochi’s assertion for what it is – a complete untruth by a desperate candidate on the eve of the GOP convention,” Walker said in a detailed statement. “This outrageous, unethical and unfounded personal attack has no basis in fact or reality. I am shocked and saddened as to why this particular line of attack was chosen, but she has essentially called me a racist. I have run a positive campaign based on my qualifications and the issues. Meanwhile, Penny continues to focus on personal attacks rather than tell the voters how she will solve the problems facing our state.”
Walker continued, “I have a 40-year record, including 15 years of public service during four presidential administrations. I have been subject to the three full FBI background investigations and have been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate three times. There are literally thousands of people that I have worked with who would be outraged by her unfounded assertions. For people who know me, her comments are clearly ridiculous and deserve no response. But in the court of public opinion, and because a television station decided to run this as a top story, without verification, I have no choice but to defend myself.”
“The real story is that Penny Bacchiochi deliberately impugned my reputation in the most hurtful and harmful way possible for purely political reasons. I am disappointed that Rep.Bacchiochi has decided that this was an appropriate campaign tactic. It is wrong, it is unfair, and anyone who knows me knows it is not true.
“This was a destructive act, and it is not good for the Republican Party, our democratic process or for the public discourse.
Walker continued, “If people wonder why qualified individuals choose not to run for public office, they need look no further than State Representative Penny Bacchiochi’s Channel 3 interview. She is a State Representative elected by the people of her district in Connecticut. The public should reject her kind of campaign tactics.
“No responsible person, much less any responsible public elected official, would make this completely false accusation.
He concluded, “Penny Bacchiochi should be ashamed of herself, and she should apologize for her actions.”