Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters Monday that little-known Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lee Whitnum of Greenwich should not be included in debates with other candidates seeking the party’s nomination for the Senate this year — saying that she “is on the fringe of the fringe,” and has not run a “real campaign.”
Malloy also said Whitnum “confirmed why she shouldn’t be included” in a televised debate last Thursday, when she called the widely acknowledged front-runner for the nomination, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, a “whore” and said Murphy has his “head in the sand.”
Meeting briefly with reporters at the Capitol Monday morning, Malloy was asked about Whitnum’s “whore’ comment, a couple of hours prior to another debate among the five Democratic Senate hopefuls, Monday at 1 p.m. at the University of Connecticut, sponsored by CT1 Media.
“Listen,” Malloy responded, “you’re talking about somebody who’s on the fringe of the fringe, and, quite frankly, should not be included in these debates. She has almost no support. if any. She has not run a real campaign, as measured by the other primary candidates’ performances — going to lots of city committee and town committees across the state, raising money, and that sort of stuff. By any objective test she shouldn’t be included. And now she’s confirmed why she shouldn’t be included — and that is that she really is on the fringe of the fringe.”
The soon-tostart debate at UConn will be live-streamed from 1-2 p.m. and will air on Fox CT Monday night at 7. Participating candidates are Murphy, Whitnum, former secretary of the state Susan Bysiewicz, state Rep. William Tong and another little-known hopeful, Matthew Oakes.
Whitnum, a former software engineer, made her controversial remarks during Thursday night’s debate on the topic of Israel.
“Elect somebody who is not pro-Israel,” Whitnum said during the debate at NBC Connecticut. “I’m pro American. Elect somebody who doesn’t drink the [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] Kool-Aid.”
Murphy responded that Whitnum’s comment was “out-of-bounds.” “Israel needs friends today more now than ever,” he said. “Israel is our ally, Israel is our strategic partner. We need to stand with them today and there’s not going to be anything that makes me apologize for that.”
Whitnum, who said she believes the U.S. should stop all aid to Israel, said after the debate that “I probably came on a little strong.” But she said it is important for “politicians [to] speak to us honestly.”
Thursday’s debate was the first that featured Whitnum. She sued the organizers of a similar forum in Norwich last month after she was not allowed to participate.
Whitnum has a slander lawsuit pending against Malloy. She filed it in May 2010 but the issue dates back to the summer of 2008 when Whitnum was running for Congress in a primary against Greenwich Democrat Jim Himes, who later was elected in the general election. During a news conference on the day before the primary, Malloy said that Whitnum had made anti-Semitic comments, according to her lawsuit. Whitnum maintains that she made statements about Israel that were truthful, not anti-Semitic.