Heather Bond Somers, one of three Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, says the recent “mudslinging” between two of her opponents about race is “nonsense.”
She was referrring to an ongoing clash between state Rep. Lisa Marie “Penny” Bacchiochi and Bridgeport Republican Dave Walker, who are both vying for the nomination that will come to a vote on Saturday by delegates at the Mohegan Sun convention center. The clash has become the most controversial issue heading into the state Republican Party convention, which starts Friday with nominations for all five U.S. House of Representatives seats and the Secretary of the State.
“The recent mudslinging that has taken place between my fellow Lt. Governor candidates is truly disappointing,” Somers said Friday. “As a party, we should be working together and focusing on the real issues and who is the best candidate to move our state back into a place where people want to work, live and retire. Our party needs to stay focused on what is most important for our state, and this nonsense has only led to confusion and distraction.”
She added, “I want to personally reach out to the delegates and ensure them that I will not enter into this type of behavior. Let us all come here and do what we came here to do – get our state the best Republican leadership that it needs for future success.”
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 to the 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 shockeand 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.”