They Won’t Back Down

Paul Bass PhotoCity/Town Clerk Ron Smith isn’t giving up on making the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot, even though the registrar of voters has rejected his petitions.

Smith (pictured at an April campaign event) is in a three-way race to keep the position he has held for the past ten years. His two challengers, Sergio Rodriguez and Michael Smart, have collected enough verified signatures, 2,406, to qualify for the ballot in the party primary.

Smith learned Monday that the registrar’s office did not find enough valid signatures on his petitions to put his name on the ballot.

“It was an injustice,” he claimed.

Smith said he’s not going down without a fight. His campaign submitted some 3,800 or so signatures of voters, he said. His campaign plans to look at all the names rejected by registrars to try to confirm that enough are valid to put him over the top.

Meanwhile, he said, he has qualified to have his name on the Nov. 5 general-election ballot as an independent candidate.

“Blackjack” Maneuver?: Objections to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s decision to make an endorsement in a four-way Democratic mayoral primary continued to reverberate in town Monday.

Malloy endorsed state Sen. Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign in a New Haven stop last week.

Monday, as Malloy returned to town alongside Harp to tour Newhallville and discuss crime, the campaign of Kermit Carolina sent the governor an open letter.

“As many New Haven voters know, the Unite Here union has created its own machine in New Haven.  The Union’s New Haven machine does not allow the aldermen and women whose campaigns they finance to have their own opinions about any political matters.  Union leaders are perched in their cozy suburban cul-de-sacs trying desperately to control New Haven because no Democratic candidate for Governor can win without winning big in New Haven.  Clearly, the Union feels that a Harp mayoral victory represents its best chances for success in your re-election bid in 2014,” the Carolina campaign wrote in the letter.

“To be sure, the suburban union leaders are only concerned about New Haven to the extent that it serves their suburban interest. 
By endorsing Toni Harp, you have certainly turned many voters of the other three candidates against you – and they will not forget that when it is time to elect a new Governor.  Governor Malloy, either you do not understand basic political strategy,  are simply too arrogant to care about what New Haven voters think, or you are so obsessed with your re-election that you will take advantage of any perceived opportunity. Perhaps it is a combination of the three.  ...

“Governor Malloy, you have just decided to play a game of political blackjack in which there are 3-1 odds against you pulling a higher hand than Harp’s three opponents.  The smart play was to wait until the day after New Haven’s September 10, 2013 primary in order to endorse a candidate.  Unfortunately it’s too late; you have already played your hand.”

Click here to read the full letter.

The New Haven Register also weighed in with an editorial criticizing Malloy’s decision.

“It’s worth noting, by the way, that Malloy hasn’t made an endorsement in the Democratic primary in his home city of Stamford,” the Register noted. Read the editorial here.

They Won’t Back Down: In the same editorial, the Register continued to assert that U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has agreed to become the “next” politician to endorse Harp’s campaign. The paper repeated an unconfirmed report it first published last week, that the Murphy and Harp camps came to that agreement in “conversations,” according to “sources”—even though both the Harp and Murphy camps openly denied that they’d even had a conversation about the subject.

No one will be surprised if Murphy, like practically every other elected Democrat, endorses Harp, if he does make end up making an endorsement.

Murphy and Harp were in the same spot in Newhallville Monday, at a forum on juvenile sentencing laws. Murphy denied again that he had ever had any conversations with Harp’s campaign about an endorsement, let alone agreed to be “next in line to offer his public support,” as the Register editorial put it. 

He was asked if he would endorse anyone in New Haven’s mayoral primary. “I haven’t made any decision yet,” he said.

Harp echoed Murphy’s denial. “No, I haven’t talked to him about an endorsement,” she said.

Paul Bass and Melissa Bailey contributed reporting to this story.

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posted by: HhE on August 19, 2013  7:46pm

“No one will be surprised if Murphy, like practically every other elected Democrat, endorses Harp, if he does make end up making an endorsement.” 

I would be. 

Gov. Malloy alienated a number of people with his endorsement—people who contributed to his campaign.  Sen. Murphy needs union support less than our Governor, so the party would have to put something big on the table to make the down side a fair trade. 

So I think.

posted by: robn on August 19, 2013  8:22pm

I am seriously liking the gargantuan set of stones the Kerm is displaying. New Haven ructions have been sorely missing intelligently humorous bombast and he’s bringing it back.

posted by: mstratton on August 19, 2013  9:34pm

Kermit is right on in challenging the power grab made by Unite Here in New Haven. Nonetheless the proof is in what they do with this power. If they work progressively towards a fiscally sustainable city with good union jobs and neighborhoods that are safe I will stand with them. The fear that I share with Kermit is the very real potential that this power grab could have an ulterior motive—entrenching the status quo. But Unite Here has the advantage of very little time in power. They have no real track record—other than the appalling sale of the streets debacle. Independent candidates are always preferable but I for one am willing to give Unite Here the benefit of the doubt. This is a union town and the best solutions are progressive ones that have union support. But thats going to require real leadership in Unite Here to take on sticky issues like unsustainable labor contracts. In the end if we have a choice between independent candidates or union backed candidates, we should go independent. But thats not easy in the current environment.

posted by: FrontStreet on August 19, 2013  10:39pm

Machine politics in CT are notorious for rampant conflict of interest, graft, and corruption.  Paul Bass knows this well - he was a key voice (when editor at The New Haven Advocate) in helping to clean out some parts of New Haven City Hall in the ‘90s (a la Sal Brancati, who had the gall to show his face earlier in this campaign). 

Malloy and Harp are big cogs in the machine.  And the machine, like any other largely unchecked power, reacts instinctively to protect itself and its interests.  Strong, independant candidates for the mayor of New Haven scare the heck out of the machine.

I’m seeing lots of Elicker lawn signs out here in Fair Haven, the Heights, Annex and East Shore.  Smelling change in the air….

posted by: beyonddiscussion on August 20, 2013  11:15am

I admired the way Kerm took on and stood up to DeStefano’s pressure. But in this campaign he has been a relentlessly attacking bully. He’s been a poor example for his students of how to engage and compete civilly. He seeks to tame violence in the city, but he does nothing but stir up the pot.

posted by: vanguard on August 20, 2013  12:50pm

Brian, Brother, you are right on and I truly
understand your frustration but please,please
don`t lower yourself to the depths that these
other guys are going to in their quest to fool
the voters that they are equipped to run this City. Let`s all remember that,after the election, we must all come together to govern.
That is what the voters and residents of New
Haven expect and deserve. I, as you, know that
Senator Harp is head and shoulders above the
others in qualifications,experience,raw ability,and true compassion for those in need.
She portends to be the best Mayor we could have and I believe that the majority of the
voters in this great City know that and will
act accordingly on election day. Let these
guys continue to make utter fools of themselves while everyone else focuses on
getting ready to manage this City with the best at the helm.

posted by: Razzie on August 20, 2013  12:53pm

Kermit Carolina = FAIL! In his personal quest for political relevancy in New Haven, Kermit Carolina has earned the same marks he has earned as Principal of Hillhouse HS—Dead Last Among His Rivals. [Last in money raised; Last in voter polls; Last in endorsements; Last in Ideas; Last in Hope] He’s so far in the hole that he has reverted to parading endorsements from Carol Brown and the West Haven Black Coalition as signs of his relevancy and “momentum”.

Well, “Thanks, but no thanks”, Kerm I suspect that Governor Malloy is not impressed by your cartoon, and neither am I. I only wish you would devote as much time to managing Hillhouse HS (the job you are currently being paid $138,000 annual to do] as you are in dreaming up cute cartoons to score political points. Is this the new method of addressing the Achievement Gap at Hillhouse?

I am certain Kermit sees the handwriting on the wall like everyone else. What happens next to his campaign is a direct reflection of his wisdom, personal judgement, and commitment to the students and faculty of Hillhouse. I hope he chooses wisely.

posted by: westville man on August 21, 2013  8:44am

NHI-  so Brian Jenkins gets to post his “rant” against Carolina and resorts to name-calling and belittling. I respond in measured reply to get a rebuttal posted. What do you do??  Besides NOT posting my reply, you delete his, then post 2 comments: one that agrees with his post and another by Razzie (whom I anticipated would continue to do the same!) bashing Carolina without a scintilla of reason.
Paul should be ashamed of the way this paper has turned into a biased, unevenly applied censored opinion rag allowing the same loud mouths to spew venom and nothing more- as long as they are supporting NHI’s bent.
Sorry, but this has happened too many times to me to think it’s “protcol”.  The excuses are lame. I can what’s going on now.  And I now understand why so many dont bother to post anymore.