Cook Political Report Moves Conn. Gov Race From Lean D to Toss Up

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

On the heels of Tom Foley’s Republican primary victory, national political analysts have changed their rating of the race from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.”

Cook Political, the elections analysis firm, changed the rating Friday. Cook analyst Jennifer Duffy said in a post to Twitter that the switch has “nothing to do with pol enviro or any GOP wave, but because voters are unhappy w/ incumbents.”

“Despite Connecticut’s solid blue hue, Malloy has had a difficult first term and is not all that popular with voters,” Duffy said. “He inherited a $3.5 billion budget shortfall that he closed by raising taxes, including the sales tax. Although he claimed a budget surplus this year, it turned out to be premature”

Sen. Maynard Discharged From Hospital

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Sen. Andrew Maynard, who suffered severe head injuries as a result of a fall at his home last month, has been discharged from a Rhode Island hospital and was transferred to a New Britain facility for therapy to continue his recovery.

“He is making a slow, yet positive, recovery,” according to a statement issued Thursday by Denise Mahoney, Maynard’s sister. “He is awake and is responsive to family and friends who have been by his side. While his recovery will take time, his doctors are confident that the recovery will continue to be positive and that the [Hospital for Special Care in New Britain] is the right place to continue that recovery.”

Sen. Andrew Maynard

Sen. Andrew Maynard

Maynard, 52, was injured in the early morning hours of July 21 when he fell from an outside staircase at his Stonington home. He was rushed to a Westerly, RI hospital and then transferred to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence for further treatment.

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Foley/Somers Hit The Campaign Trail

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Foley and SomersTom Foley and Heather Somers, paired together Wednesday by Republican voters, hit the campaign trail as a team for the first time Thursday and declared their arranged marriage “a dream ticket.”

Both campaigned as “outsiders” in the primary, saying they would bring the perspective of Connecticut residents to the state capitol.

“We come out of the business world – we know what job creators and leaders need in order to stay here and invest in Conn,” Foley said. “But we also are experienced in government…Heather was mayor of groton and I served twice in government, once over in Iraq and for 2 1/2 years in the State Department over in Dublin.”

Somers said: “We’re going to put Dan Malloy on notice right now that he should start packing his bags. In 12 weeks he’s going to be gone.”

Greenberg, Debicella Reach “Young Guns” Status

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Republican congressional candidates Mark Greenberg and Dan Debicella have attained the highest level in the GOP’s competitive Young Guns program.

The program is a way for the national party to reward energetic candidates in key races who have met certain fundraising thresholds.

“Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration,” National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden said.

Debicella and Greenberg have “outlined conservative principles that will grow jobs, stop the harmful effects of ObamaCare, and get Washington’s spending under control,” Walden said. “[They have] met a series of rigorous goals that will put [them] in a position to win on Election Day.”

Greenberg is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty in the 5th District, Debicella is challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in the 4th District.

Biden Coming to East Hartford Next Week

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Vice President Joe Biden will make another trip to Connecticut next week.

Biden will attend an event on workforce development and skills in East Hartford on Wed., Aug. 20, according to the White House. No additional details were provided.

biden 2

Neil Vigdor of Hearst Newspapers is reporting that Biden will also attend a pair of fundraisers in Fairfield County that day. Citing multiple sources, Vigdor says Biden will attend a fundraiser in Greenwich for the Democratic Governors Association and another in Stamford for the Connecticut Democratic Party.


Republicans File Election Complaint Against Malloy, DGA

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The Connecticut Republican party has filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission alleging unlawful coordination between a committee established by the Democratic Governors Association and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s reelection campaign.

Democrats say the allegations are baseless.

The complaint, filed on Wednesday, asserts that $91,255 in expenditures made by Connecticut Forward, a committee established by the Democratic Governors Association, were coordinated with the Malloy campaign, a violation of state election law.

The complaint does not provide any details in support of its claim. However, Zak Sanders, spokesman for the Connecticut Republican party, said the very fact that Malloy is a member of the Democratic governors group is proof of coordination.

“Gov. Malloy sits on their board and has raised money for the organization,” Sanders said. “Now this money is coming back and is being spent on his behalf.”

“When the law gets in the way of Gov. Malloy’s plans for re-election, he either finds a way around it or blatantly ignores it,” said Jerry Labriola, Jr., chairman of the state Republican party. “We saw this first with his pay-to-play shakedown of state contractors for campaign cash, and we’re seeing it again now through his apparent illegal coordination with the Democratic Governors Association and Connecticut Forward.”

Devon Puglia, spokesman for the state Democratic party, said the complaint has no merit and contains no specifics. He dismissed it as a publicity stunt.

“This claim is utterly baseless, totally unsubstantiated, and unbelievably reckless,” Puglia said. “There are fewer specifics in this claim than the GOP’s policy proposals — and that’s next to nothing. If voters want to know why the GOP will take Connecticut backwards, this is it. Rooting for Connecticut to fail and trying to turn back the clock on this state, this is a cheap, paper-thin ploy to generate a headline.”

The Democratic Governors Association, and its Republican counterpart, are expected to big big players in gubernatorial campaign, which pits Malloy against Republican businessman Tom Foley.

Earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Chrisie, the head of the Republican Governors Association, came to Greenwich and pledged to “commit the resources that are necessary to try to get Tom’s campaign over the finishing line.”

Danny Kanner, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, called the Republcians’ complaint “frivolous.”

“While it’s nice to see erratic millionaire Tom Foley is taking time off from blaming workers for losing their jobs and driving his company into bankruptcy, he and his Republican hatchet men should use the opportunity to come clean about the devastating impact his hidden policies would have on middle-class families instead of filing frivolous legal complaints,” Kanner said.

The SEEC is expected to take up the complaint at its next meeting on Tuesday. At that time, it will determine whether the complaint is within the commission’s purview; it if it found to meet that standard, an investigation will be opened, a spokesman for the commission said.

Foley Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

The day after winning the party primary, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley accepted a challenge from his former opponent and agreed to have a bucket of ice dumped on his head  as part of a viral campaign to raise money for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

McKinney, who had a bucket of ice dumped on his head last night, “nominated” Foley – meaning the former ambassador had 24 hours to either participate or donate $100 to an ALS charity. Foley agreed to do both, as did McKinney. McKinney also nominated State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (who accepted the challenge) and Gov. Malloy (who has yet to).

Foley stood outside his Trumbull headquarters after a press conference Wednesday and made his nominations before McKinney dumped ice water on his head. He tapped political foes: Roy Occhiogrosso, a former Malloy adviser who helped to run the governor’s 2010 campaign; Nancy DiNardo, the state Democratic party chairwoman; and Gov. Malloy.

“A good friend of mine,” Foley said when he named Occhiogrosso, causing McKinney to exclaim, “Yes!”

Occhiogrosso, after learning of the challenge, posted a response to his Twitter account: “not until he learns how to pronounce my name. He’s got the “Roy” part down pat.”

Commenting on Foley’s good-natured humor in accepting the challenge, McKinney said, “More people need to see it. He’s a good guy.”

Malloy Kicks Off General Election Campaign With A New Ad

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

One day after the Republican primary, with nominee Tom Foley still savoring his victory, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy launched a new attack ad.

The 30-second spot hits Foley’s business record and also his appearance last month at a factory in Sprague that is laying off workers.


The ad picks up on two lines of attack first aired by Foley’s Republican colleagues. In 2010, Michael Fedele’s campaign produced a devastating ad that accused Foley of profiting from a Georgia textile company that later closed. (Fedele wound up losing the party’s nomination to Foley.)

Just last week, Republican gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney made an ad that featured Foley’s appearance at Fusion Paperboard in Sprague. The visit was supposed to be a photo op and press conference on what Foley has called Malloy’s failed jobs agenda; instead it dissolved into a tense exchange with workers and a Democratic town official that was captured by trackers for rival campaigns.

The Malloy ad seeks to draw parallels between Bibb and Sprague. “Tom Foley knows a thing or two about how to wreck companies, destroy jobs and personally profit from the rubble,” said Mark Bergman, spokesman for the Malloy campaign. “At Bibb Co, Foley laid off hundreds of workers and drove the company into bankruptcy while he and his company made millions. And when his political theater in Sprague was interrupted, he showed who he is really is—blaming workers and local officials instead of the out of state private equity company that was responsible for closing down the factory and costing over 100 Connecticut jobs. The same type of out of state private equity company that Foley ran when he drove Bibb Co into the ground.”

Judge Fitzsimmons to Retire From State Bench

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Holly B. Fitzsimmons, a longtime U.S. Magistrate Judge in Bridgeport, has announced she will retire in April, opening a $183,000 a year judicial position that certain to generate wide interest among state lawyers.

Fitzsimmons has presided over a variety of cases since her appointment in June 1993.

Before taking the federal bench, she was federal prosecutor, leading efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s office against political corruption in the state in the 1990s. Prior to joining the federal government, she worked for the Hartford law firm Robinson and Cole.

Among other things, Fitzsimmons prosecuted former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro and other members of the city’s government for political crimes in the late 1980s. The U.S. Attorney’s office since has established itself as the state’s chief prosecutor of political corruption.

The retirement of Fitzsimmons, who is known widely among the state bar, is expected to attract numerous applicants to what amounts to a lifetime appointment.

Unlike U.S. District Judges, nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Magistrate Judges are appointed by vote of the federal judges in the state. The position was created by Congress in 1968 to ease the work load of the federal judges.

By law, Magistrate Judges can perform most of the functions of federal judges, with the notable exception of presiding over felony trials.

Applicants for Fitzsimmons’ position should apply to the U.S. District Court clerk. Candidates will be screened by a merit committee. A finalist will be appointed by the judges following background investigations by the FBI and IRS.



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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