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A Democratic Governor in Connecticut

I think it’s important for us to have a Democrat take over at the end of Gov. Rell’s term. As it stands, our options are Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy. It’s no secret who I support in the primary, but even so, I think that the outcome of the November election is vastly more important than the outcome in the August 10 primary. So much so that I posted a post-primary unity pledge at MLN:

I will support the Democratic nominee for Governor, regardless of the outcome.

Many people who support both candidates joined me in that pledge. You can still take it, and I still plan to abide by it. The only thing that will change is perhaps how I choose to define support. At a minimum, it means casting a vote for the Democratic nominee in November.

The primary has gotten heated but I think, based on anecdotal evidence from the unity pledge and just talking to people, that most Democrats believe that the most important thing we can do this year is elect a Democrat as Governor. Some people think that means that the campaigns should never criticize each other, because if they do that we may as well forfeit the general election. I think that’s hogwash. In my opinion, it’s good for the candidates to have a back and forth where they critically examine each other’s claims. It’s fair for the Lamont campaign to point out that Malloy’s jobs claim is less than truthful. It’s also fair for the Malloy campaign to put pressure on Lamont to participate in debates. The important difference is how each campaign chooses to go about this.

Here is an excerpt from the Lamont press release about Malloy’s jobs claim:

In light of today’s front-page Hartford Courant story revealing that Dan Malloy misrepresented his record of job creation as mayor of Stamford, Ned Lamont’s campaign called on him to take down his new television ad that highlights Dan’s claim that he created 5,000 jobs. Dan’s claim ignores the fact that Stamford lost 13,000 jobs and unemployment increased by 58.7 percent during his tenure as mayor.

Essentially, the Lamont campaign is promoting a front-page article in the Hartford Courant that sheds some light on Malloy’s jobs claim. If you want to call this an attack you can, but it’s a fair one. If Malloy wants to say that his leadership was a key influence on the number of jobs in Stamford, then he must take blame for losing the 13,000 jobs if he wants to take credit for creating 5,000. They also ask that Malloy take down his misleading ad (probably knowing that he wouldn’t).

Here is an excerpt from a recent Malloy campaign press release addressing Lamont’s decision not to participate in a couple of debates:

Sadly, Ned Lamont still refuses to meet Dan Malloy in a debate. Instead of defending his record of reducing his workforce by 70 percent — much of it through layoffs – while paying himself half a million dollars a years, he’s chosen to continue making excuses.

Essentially, the Malloy campaign is peddling discredited lies, a strategy right out of the Roy O. playbook. Let’s go through this excerpt, sentence by sentence:

Sentence 1 – “Sadly, Ned Lamont still refuses to…” Actually, Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy are scheduled to debate in Windham this week. Plus all the debates and forums they’ve already had, including two that were televised.
Sentence 2 – “Instead of defending his record…” This was debunked back in 2006 when Joe Lieberman made the same claims. Most of the reduction in Lamont’s workforce was through selling off of subsidiaries — the employees that used to work for Lamont kept their jobs with the new company owners.

Primary campaigns should be a little rough, and the candidates should spar on the issues. When one campaign crosses the line — as the Malloy campaign has done repeatedly — they need to be called out on it. It’s clear that the Malloy campaign intends to go negative in a big way. From now until August 10th, their strategy is to try and tear Lamont down, rather than to build Malloy up. The Malloy campaign is undoubtedly staffed by very smart people, and they seem to have concluded that their best path to victory is to rile up their supporters and engage them in a scorched earth campaign against Ned Lamont. They just don’t give a shit about what happens if they lose, because it’s all about Dan.

On the flip side of the coin, when given a chance to hurt Malloy’s chances in November should he lose the primary, Ned Lamont declined to comment on an attack lobbed at fellow Democrat Dan Malloy by Republican candidate Mike Fedele. Ned didn’t pile on because it doesn’t help him win the primary, and it sure as hell wouldn’t help either Democrat win in November.

The kind of crap that the Malloy campaign is pulling is short-sighted, juvenile, and out of line, but I’m not the only one calling it what it is. BranfordBoy has a post at MLN about Derogatory Dan, and Kirby has a new one up at CT Bob about Dan’s apparent willingness to say anything to win.