BY MATTHEW Q. CLARIDA
Jonathan Pelto, the veteran Democratic operative who has split from the party to challenge Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November, acknowledges that his candidacy has the potential to spoil Malloy’s reelection bid. Pelto says he doesn’t feel bad about the possibility.
In a video posted by the New Haven Independent, Pelto is asked if he will feel bad if Malloy loses because of Democratic votes skimmed by Pelto.
“No. Because I think the Democrats need to understand that when you walk away from your constituencies and you stop doing the things that those constituencies need you to do…there is a political ramification that I intend to deliver them,” Pelto says. “If my involvement means the Democrats lose [the governorship], then that will send an important signal to the Democrats.”
Pelto adds that his spoiler potential is “an issue that weighed heavily on me, and I didn’t get into the race quickly or easily, because I was concerned about that. But the fact is that I think Democrats will maintain control of the legislature and that that will prevent Connecticut from becoming another Wisconsin.”
Of Tom Foley, the Republican who is favored in the party’s August 12 primary against Fairfield state Sen. John McKinney and the man who stands to gain the most from Pelto’s candidacy, Pelto says: “He’s not a tea bag. He’s not [Wisconsin Republican Gov.] Scott Walker.”
Pelto has been busy gathering the 7,500 signatures he needs to earn a spot on the November ballot. A lifelong Democrat who once worked for Malloy, Pelto is running with the Education and Democracy Party, which he created. His lieutenant governor nominee is Ebony Murphy, a teacher.
Pelto is not the only candidate trying to crash the party on November 4. Republican Joe Visconti, a former West Hartford town council member, is also trying to petition his way onto the ballot.
Both Pelto and Visconti say they have reached the 7,500 signature mark and are working to create a buffer in case some signatures are not approved. The petitions are due in local town halls by 4 p.m. on August 6.