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Endorsing Harp, Murphy Gets Specific
by Melissa Bailey | Aug 28, 2013 7:17 am
Posted to: Campaign 2013
Citing her leadership on stem cell research and her work for “abused and neglected children,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Tuesday threw his support behind Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign.
Murphy’s endorsement took place Tuesday afternoon at the Farnam Neighborhood House at 162 Fillmore St. in Fair Haven. It was the latest of many endorsements Harp has racked up, including from the governor, elected officials, unions and firefighters.
The event came two weeks before Harp faces three opponents—Kermit Carolina, Justin Elicker, and Henry Fernandez—in a Democratic primary for mayor.
Harp, who’s in her 21st year as state senator, has been working with Murphy since he was elected to the state House in 1998. He served two terms as state rep, two as state senator, and three in the U.S. Congress. Now he’s in his first year as U.S. senator.
Murphy gave three reasons to support Harp.
First, he praised her “visionary leadership” on health care.
Murphy credited Harp’s work on the public health committee at the legislature.
One of the first issues Murphy and Harp worked on together after Murphy joined the state Senate in 2002 was stem cell research, Murphy said. First, the state passed a law authorizing stem cell research in the state but not providing any money. Harp then pushed for a second law that authorized $100 million over ten years for stem cell research. That helped boost the number of labs in the state conducting stem cell research from two to twenty, according to Murphy.
He also credited her work on statewide health care reform.
“Toni Harp, more than anybody else, made the public health committee a place where we debated the big issues of whether or not we were going to allow thousands of Connecticut residents to go to sleep sick at night simply because they weren’t affluent enough to afford health care,” Murphy said.
Second, Murphy praised Harp’s “courage” in fighting to establish the state Office of Child Protection.
“There is no one who has spoken louder or more consistently for the voices of abused and neglected children” than Harp has.
Third, he praised Harp’s “effectiveness.”
“I’ve watched Toni Harp work at the state Capitol,” Murphy said. He said she has a reputation of “being able to reach out to those who disagree with her” to “get things done.”
He said her experience at the Capitol will give her the ability to pass a budget, work with a “diverse and strong-minded board” of city legislators, and to draw on her relationships at the state to support New Haven.
In her own remarks, Harp said she and Murphy share ideals on public health. She ran down a list of legislation they have worked on together: banning smoking from restaurants and bars; clean car emissions; stem cell research; the Office of Child Protection; and ethics reform.
“We have been in the trenches together,” Harp said.
Murphy pledged to send down campaign supporters to knock on doors and make calls for Harp. And he pledged to send an email to his list of 100,000 supporters to urge them to support Harp as well.
“This is not just a paper endorsement,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Harp campaign learned Tuesday that it had failed to persuade the secretary of the state’s office to force a change in the printing of the Stept. 10 primary ballot. (Read about that controversy here and here.)
Campaign manager Jason Bartlett said the matter will rest there. He said the campaign will not go to court to pursue changes.
“I think that would be too much of a distraction,” Bartlett said. “We need to focus on winning over the next two weeks and keeping our energy positive.”
Tags: chris murphy, toni harp
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Murphy Bed Notes:
1. Politics makes for strange bedfellows - and even stranger logic. Murphy says the matriarch of the Harp Dynasty is “effective” and a good advocate for the poor and healthcare. He doesn’t say she’s competent or somehow capable of being an effective mayor which is wildly different than what happens in Hartford.
2. Murphy made no mention of the Harp family tax delinquency or its impact on the poor or on working families. He never asked her to make sure the state gets paid, or that the mortgage holders, including quasi=state agencies get their money back either.
3. Murphy said this wasn’t a “paper” endorsement. No, it sure wasn’t. It was a rubberstamped one. Send in the armies and the trench warriors which come to think of it, is kind of funny - when you control the entire legislature as democrats do and have for years, what trench war have you been fighting?
4. Nice to hear the ballot drama is over after LOSING again but managing to cost city taxpayers more money and time. Perhaps Bartlett can come up with some other magic hat trick to play the victim in the general election besides something that costs us money
You know, these political endorsements from seated public servants are real BS. It should be both unethical and illegal
Noteworthy “Matriarch” - she is a female state Senator with a family, not the Queen Mother or Hera. Attacking people’s family can get so weird, and in this case so sexist, so fast. Do you really believe you have enough information about that family’s private life to have an informed opinion about it?
Keep your carpet bagging foot soldiers out of our town. Be aware that many New Haveners will be voting against you next time around.
I’ve been a fan of Chris Murphy since 2006 when he was able to defeat Nancy Johnson for the U.S. House, who had come to prominence as an opponent of the Clinton health care plan in the ‘90s. I am willing to listen to him when he says Toni Harp has been a valuable player in Hartford on the subject of health care.
Although I am extremely disappointed in him for endorsing her for mayor, especially before the primary, wondering why he feels a need to potentially alienate many who support him, I take heart in the reinforcement his statements give to my own growing conviction that Toni should stay in Hartford.
Why does Rep. Harp feel the need for all of these endorsements? Can she not stand on her own merits and accomplishments? Are the people of New Haven so easily swayed and blinded by these endorsements? Is the Harp campaign assuming we are a city of sheeple easily manipulated by sparkly lights and snapping dogs. Well I feel insulted.
Unfortunately Sen. Murphy left out one other reason for which to be supportive of Toni Harp. So allow me to help him. She’s the only DEMOCRAT in the race.
The other three guys are behaving like Cinderfellas until the clock strikes eight on election day September 10th. On September 10th at 8:01 pm, Henry, Justin and Kermit will drop their Democratic shoe at the registrar’s office and immediately turn into Independents.
Independent voters are just like genuine Democrats, loyal to their beliefs. On Nov. 5, 2013 both Independents and Democrats will show Henry, Justin and Kermit that they will not be used by pretenders.
Pretending to be something that you’re not, reveals blatant character flaw.
Voters are not stupid guys!
Of course Chris Murphy supports Toni Harp. These two union cheer leaders have alot in common. Chris Murphy also “forgot” to pay his taxes from 1998 to 2005, and “forget” to pay his mortgage and was sued for foreclosure. He got bailed out by Webster Bank while he was in office, in a sweetheart refinance deal, similar to Chris Dodd. When will the brain dead voters of New Haven realize that they are being sold a line of bull from snake oil salesmen and snake oil saleswomen???
I am extremely disappointed in Chris Murphy. His endorsement is specific about Toni’s laudable achievements at the state level. However with the possible exception—her ability to reach out at the legislative level to people who disagree—nothing he says indicates she would be a good mayor. This is what I do not understand about everyone who is endorsing her. Chris Murphy may send his supporters down to canvass for her, but I know that his list of supporters has shrunk since making this endorsement. The list of politicians who I consider to have both courage and integrity is small. Now, with Chris Murphy off that list, it is even smaller.
@ Brian L. Jenkins
Would that be the same “loyal” Democrat Harp who: endorsed Holder-Winfield, only to blind side him 3 days later with her entry into the race; and, tell Michael Smart she wont run with him and then reaching back out to him after the endorsement “snafu” required a slate??
Let’s be real- as a sitting Democratic State Senator she CAN’T run as an independent- political suicide. Otherwise, she would. (recall she said repeatedly she wouldnt run for Mayor either…until she did)
@ Elizabethaiken—“The list of politicians who I consider to have both courage and integrity is small. Now, with Chris Murphy off that list, it is even smaller.”
I personally think Sen Murphy’s endorsement is a showing of courage and integrity on his part. Especially when there was no compelling political reason for him to weigh in so early on this race. Like many of the Elicker supporters have suggested with the Malloy endorsement, he knowingly risked alienation of the East Rock crowd at a time when he could have just as easily waited until after the Primary to issue his endorsement—when she would be running against a bunch of Independent (not Democratic Party) candidates.
I have even more respect for Sen Murphy than I did previously. He doesn’t seem to shirk from acting out his heartfelt convictions. To him, and to countless others, the choice isn’t even close. Sen Harp is by far the most experienced, thoughtful and respected among the Principal, the Alderman and the Consultant.
Political Love Notes:
1. @Razzie - Murphy endorsement shows courage? Pull out the Oxford, friend. That’s not courage you’re seeing, that’s the machine rubber-stamp or playing follow the leader. Look at the list of people trying to force feed us Toni Harp. The union is trying to shove her down our throats and all the rest of these political goons are just falling in line. In a few short years, Murphy will need her help whether she wins or loses.
2. @Brian Jenkins - We finally get to agree. “Pretending to be something that you’re not, reveals blatant character flaw…” and I do hope you share that with Ms. Harp.
Stiff One Notes:
1. I was wondering why Harp does these events at Farnam House - here’s why:
2. OMG - it’s Edith Prague - newly minted Commissioner on Aging and paid $100K a year. No real agency and apparently, no real requirement to be on the job. No wonder this state is broke.
I’m just curious as to what Elicker is going to spin as his party affiliation after September 10th. Post Primary, when he is trying to appeal to Republicans and Independents, is he still gonna claim to be a Democrat, who only wants a Lieberman do-over because he wants to give everybody a chance to vote? I suggest not. And is he gonna tell everyone that he no longer is a Democracy Fund candidate in the General election? I suppose not.
Razzie- I’ll bite on this one.
He’ll tell folks he’s not a “machine, old party” democrat like Harp. He’s progressive. Just like my candidate, Carolina, will.
And as a Democrat myself, I’ll vote for Elicker if Kerm decides not to run.
And neither Kerm, nor Elicker, if they lose the primary, are allowed to use the democracy fund. But at least they tried!
Brian’s claim that Democrats who are running in the Democratic primary are not Democrats just because they are “non-party establishment” candidates is total nonsense.
Take note: in the NYC Democratic primary, the “non-party establishment” candidates are now polling at 60%. Thompson and Quinn are split at 40%.
Unlike NYC, New Haven does not have a primary runoff and has very few Republicans, so the general election essentially becomes the Democratic runoff.
@westville man: I get your point, but there’s still something that just rubs me the wrong way about folks taking money from the Democracy Fund to finance a dry run in a primary election whose results they don’t intend to abide by. I would have preferred it if these candidates just skipped the Democratic primary altogether and committed to run as Independents in the general election from the get-go. That seems more principled to me than using public funds to run in a primary election, but then not agreeing to be bound by the results of that election.
Primaries exist for a reason—so that a political party can elect a candidate to run as their party’s candidate in the general election. If you’re not a member of that political party, then you shouldn’t run in that party’s primary. I get the (valid) criticism that folks have of the way that the Democratic party is run in this town, but if folks feel like the current process doesn’t adequately give independents and non-democrats a voice in the general election and that the Democratic party in this town’s method of choosing a candidate is flawed, then the answer is simple: don’t run as a Democrat, run as an Independent. That seems much more principled to me than trying to get two bites at the apple by running as a Democrat first, and then dropping your Democratic party affiliation to run as an Independent if you don’t win the primary election.
Side-note: All the folks threatening to vote against Murphy in the next Senate election—take a deep breath! I get it, you don’t like that he endorsed a candidate other than yours. But c’mon—are you really suggesting that Murphy hasn’t adequately represented your interests during his term in the Senate, or that your (progressive) interests would be better served if a Republican were elected (and Senate control shifted to the Republicans)? Let’s all calm down a bit… No need to cut off your nose to spite your face…
Razzie Dazzie Demo Notes:
1. When Elicker runs in the general election, as the primary winner or not, he will run as a Democrat.
2. He’ll run as a practical progressive who has morals and integrity, not beholden to anybody or any machine, or union. He’ll run on the strength of his Democratic ideas.
3. Independents and Republicans might find the practical side, the honest side, the not solving every problem by adding more debt and increasing property taxes.
LG, they didn’t suggest they would vote for a Republican. Murphy isn’t bad but perhaps a left-leaning Democrat or Independent—someone like Bernie Sanders—committed to truly progressive policies, transparency and public financing could challenge Murphy and/or other party insiders in the primary or general. The Senate could use more folks like Bernie.
Elicker, Carolina, and Fernandez all seem more progressive than Harp. For one thing, the first two used public financing and take over 3/4 of their donations from within New Haven. According to NHI over 80% of Harp’s money came from outside our city. Harp also voted for a controversial state bill, just signed into law in June, that undermines public financing.
LG I think in general we agree but specifically, as it pertains to NH politics, I dont think someone should lose out on the debates, news coverage, etc on the possibility they may lose in the primary. In my view, they’re using public monies to get their names out and ideas heard, much the way a Fernandez is doing with big money anyway should Harp win the primary. I don’t think the losers will run in the general unless they’re within shouting distance of the winner. Then, with some democratic voter backing, together with independent and Republican votes (though the majority would be democrats) they might win the november election. In my mind, that vindicates their decision to use clean money early on. If they win, it may signal a new day in New Haven politics.
@westville man: I totally appreciate where you’re coming from, especially about how NH politics is different.
I’m not an anti-union person—in fact, I think unions are vital to insuring that working class folks get a fair shake. But there is something unseemly about the disproportionate influence the local unions have on the Democratic party primary. (Frankly, I don’t think Harp is the best candidate—I was excited about her based on her good reputation in state government, but as this campaign has progressed, I’ve been disappointed about her lack of knowledge about the issues and her failure to articulate specific municipal policies that would address the issues of the budget, crime, education, jobs, etc. When I’ve asked union friends why they’re supporting her, all I get is: “She’s the person who can best bring together city.” I don’t find that answer responsive to any of the issues that are being talked about in the race, and it sounds more like a talking point that was handed out from on high for Harp supporters to repeat.)
All that said, I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of folks using the Democratic party primary process as simply a “launching pad” for their campaign—and even more so with the idea of using public money to run in a primary election without also committing to abide by its results. I know it doesn’t violate the letter of the law to use the Democracy Fund that way, but it sure seems like gaming the system—using taxpayer money to finance a dry run for the general election.
I don’t know enough about how the Democracy Fund operates, but is it a requirement that a candidate has to participate in a party’s political primary to get funds? That is, are you eligible to get funds if you run as an Independent from the beginning? If so, I’d rather see folks do that rather than treat the Democratic primary election as simply a place to get exposure before dropping the party affiliation and running in the general.
@anonymous: Okay, I may have misunderstood. I thought I’d seen a comment in one of the other NHI articles about Murphy—the one that speculated about whether he was going to endorse Harp—where a commenter said he regretted not having voted for Linda McMahon on account of this news. (I’m all for more folks like Bernie Sanders in the Senate!)
@Noteworthy: That’s incorrect—if Elicker doesn’t win the Democratic party primary election, then he can’t be the Democratic party candidate in the general election. Nor do I think he (or any other candidate that loses the primary election) should be allowed to call themselves a Democratic candidate in the general election.
Process matters—if you’re a member of the party, then you have to abide by the rules laid out for the primary election. If you don’t like the rules, or don’t think the process is fair, it’s fine to make that (valid) criticism. But then it seems to me that what you should do is not participate in the primary election, and just run as an independent in the general. No candidate is required to run in the Democratic primary, and I’d much rather see someone take a principled stand and run as an Independent from the outset, rather than conditionally dipping their toes in the Democratic primary without agreeing to abide by its results.
Taking taxpayer money to run in the primary without also agreeing to be bound by the primary election results seems like a misuse of the Democracy Fund. Not in the legal sense, but in the principled sense. And if one of your main selling points is that Democracy Fund candidates should get special consideration for choosing, on principle, to to opt for public financing rather than get money from special interests, than it seems to me you should be consistent as far as principles are concerned throughout your campaign. You shouldn’t get to invoke principle when it aligns with your self-interest, and then just eschew principle when it doesn’t.
@LG and @ Notes
“Taking taxpayer money to run in the primary without also agreeing to be bound by the primary election results seems like a misuse of the Democracy Fund. Not in the legal sense, but in the principled sense.”
LG - That is precisely the point that the Elicker East Rock Elites wish to obscure. Requiring all NH taxpayers to finance their primary dry run, while stockpiling their private contributions for the General election run as an Independent borders on fraud to the voting public. If you are going to run as Independent, run as an Independent and don’t do the primary election misdirection that Elicker’s forces have engaged in. He’s already proven that his wealthy donors have money to level the playing field. Be honest and principled and tell everyone up front, that you don’t believe in the New Haven Democratic Party and the way they choose their candidates. Don’t wrap your political self interest in the mantle that you want to give Republicans and Independents a chance to weigh in on the Mayor’s vote. There is no higher moral ground for the Elicker folks to be claiming. Sheer political self-interest.
EDDIE and LG1975,
I’m sure you’d prefer that other candidates run as independents because then candidate Harps extremely weak debate performance wouldn’t be on display and she would get months of unquestioned public relations. But that’s not how it is.
@robn: I don’t support Harp for mayor. Read my comments above. I think she’s been unimpressive during this campaign, showing a lack of knowledge about the issues and an inability to articulate concrete municipal policies that she’d implement if she were to hold the office. I’m just making a point about how the Democracy Fund is being used. If you have a response to that point, I’d love to hear it.
I’m trying my best to be as open to all the candidates as I can—but I’m also trying to be intellectually honest about it, too. Personally, Elicker has really grown on me during this campaign. I started out skeptical about whether he had enough managerial experience to run a city, but I’ve been impressed with his energy and some of his ideas. I think he’d bring a lot more to the Mayor’s Office than Harp would. But that doesn’t mean that I find his use of the Democracy Fund any less problematic.
I know for some folks, they’re so enthusiastic about Elicker that they’re willing to look past that. But process really does matter to me, as does abiding by the Democratic primary election rules, and I genuinely feel uncomfortable about someone using public money to get a freebie in the primary, and then drop their party affiliation to run in the general. I understand that folks can have an honest disagreement about this, and that you might see the issue differently. But I’d genuinely appreciate it if you took what I had to say at face value and debated the merits of my argument, rather than accuse me of only taking this position because I’m secretly supporting Harp. That’s not the case, and it doesn’t really advance the discussion of this issue.