Leading City Dems Boost Murphy

Paul Bass Photo

New Haven Democrats gave Chris Murphy a rousing show of support for his U.S. Senate campaign—even as his opponent claimed some of them as her own backers.

The event took place Sunday at the East Rock home of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. It marked the launching of Murphy’s campaign organizing drive in the third U.S. Congressional District. He’s running for the 2012 Democratic nomination of the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman.

Some 80 Democrats, many of them elected officials and influential activists, crammed the downstairs of the home DeLauro shares with Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg. As Dan Malloy learned in the 2010 gubernatorial elections, New Haven Democrats, the state’s largest and best organized bloc of urban votes, are the big prize in statewide elections. Both Murphy and his leading opponent for the Democratic nomination, Susan Bysiewicz, have been calling and calling ward-level Democrats for months seeking their support. (Click here for a report on a Bysiewicz visit to the local party’s town committee last February.)

Murphy drew an impressive turnout at DeLauro’s home Sunday. Leading state legislators like state Sen. Majority Leader Marty Looney and Reps. Toni Walker, Roland Lemar, and Gary Holder-Winfield all spoke in support of his campaign. And 16 members of the city’s 30-member (all-Democratic) Board of Aldermen showed up, including many of the newly elected labor-backed activists who represent a formidable vote-pulling force.

“I think we have the entire Board of Aldermen here!” DeLauro proclaimed while introducing Murphy to the crowd from a perch on a stairway.

That turnout is less impressive than it looks, Bysiewicz argued afterwards.

“Just because you see people at an event, I think it means people are paying very close attention. I don’t think it’s clear at all who has an edge in New Haven,” she claimed.

In fact, she said, she has the support of a majority of the Board of Aldermen. She released a list of names.

That list included Douglas Hausladen, the new downtown alderman. Hausladen showed up at Sunday’s Murphy event.

He said afterwards that he’s supporting Murphy, not Bysiewicz.

“She called me a while ago and asked for my backing. I told her I thought it was too early,” Hausladen said. He said Bysiewicz’s handling of a 2010 ballot-counting debacle in Bridgeport as secretary of the state convinced him ultimately not to back her: “Seeing how Susie handled that—was my defining moment. She should have had to courage to go down to Bridgeport and sort it out early.” (Read background on that episode here, here and here.)

“I think the overflow crowd at Congresswoman DeLauro’s house spoke for itself as to who New Haven Democrats think the best candidate is to stand up for the middle class,” Murphy campaign manager Kenny Curran said Sunday night in response to Bysiewicz’s remark. The campaign declined to disclose how many attendees paid to come Sunday (that was optional) or how much money came in.

Bysiewicz’s list of aldermanic supporters also included Sergio Rodriguez and Frank Douglass. They both showed up at Murphy’s event Sunday. They both said afterwards that they’re undecided in the race. “I want to see what their commitment to the Latino community is,” said Rodriguez.

The list included some aldermen who did not show up at Murphy’s event. Contacted later, two of them, Al Paolillo and Alfreda Edwards, confirmed they do indeed back Bysiewicz.

And several aldermen interviewed at Murphy’s event said they were there to listen, not to declare allegiance yet. They included West River’s Tyisha Walker and Newhallville’s Brenda Foskey-Cyrus. Most others asked said they definitely are in Murphy’s camp, including the Hill’s Jackie James, Newhallville’s Delphine Clyburn, and East Rock’s Justin Elicker.

“He was more persistent” in calling for support, Elicker said of Murphy.

Walker said she left Sunday’s event with a positive reaction to Murphy but wants to wait to sit down with Bysiewicz to make her choice.

They Like The Middle Class

Both candidates spoke Sunday about how that choice will come down to who best stands up for “the middle-class” at a time of rising wealth and income inequality and a fight between Republicans and Democrats over the role of government in fixing the economy.

“As a party we have to start talking about the role that government plays in protecting the middle class and advancing people into it. We sometimes have gotten ourselves in to the habit of apologizing for government just a little bit less than the Republicans do,” Murphy said when he addressed the gathering at DeLauro’s house. (Click on the play arrow to the video at the top of the story to watch an excerpt.)

“For those people [like) Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney who want to tell you this story of ultimate economic salvation that comes by government going and just cowering in a corner—it is a total rewrite of American economic history. The genius of this nation is that we had massive private investment on top of massive public investment. The best school systems in the world. The best system of roadside and bridges. A safety net that you could bounce back off of if you hit hard times. That was the strength of this country.”

In a subsequent interview, Bysiewicz argued that she can better “stand up for middle-class families” by taking on Wall Street. She cited an “accountability plan” her campaign has issued, which includes, among other planks, instituting a financial “transaction tax that will fund mortgage relief to middle class families whose homes are worth less than they owe.” (Read her plan here.) She also criticized Murphy for not trying in the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate a “carry interest loophole” that enables “people like Mitt Romney” to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on capital gains. A Murphy spokesman claimed that the Congressman has “voted repeatedly to close that loophole.”

Bysiewicz served as secretary of the state until 2011. Murphy currently serves as a U.S. congressman; all four other House members from Connecticut have backed his Senate campaign.

Following is the list of New Haven supporters released by Bysiewicz’s campaign, which includes eight current aldermen and seven who left office this month, some not by choice: “Hon. Yusuf Shah, Mr. Alphonse Paolillo Jr., Ms. Helen Martin-Dawson, Mr. Celestino Cordova , Alderwoman Dolores Colon, Mr. Raymond Saracco, Ms. Alberta Witherspoon, Ms. Linda Davis, Ms. Tina Jendrzweski, Hon. Katrina Jones, Cordelia Thorpe, Mr. Greg Smith, Ms. Edith Macri, Mr. Darrell Brooks, Alderman Sergio Rodriguez, Ms. Kimberly Edwards, Alderwoman Alfreda Edwards, Ms. Joan Forte , Hon. Gregory Morehead, Mr. Anthony Wallace , Mr. Gerald Antunes, Ms. Gina Phillips, Mr. John Cox, Mr. Frank Redente, Hon. Stephanie G Bauer, Cassandra Lang, Tanya Smith, Darnell Goldson, Alderman Douglas Hausladen, Alderman Frank Douglass, George F. Page, Phyllis Alston, Claudine Wilkins-Chambers, Patricia Troxler, Alderwoman Evette T.  Hamilton, Alderman Gabriel Santiago.”

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posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 23, 2012  9:35am

Hopefully the New Haven Democrats will be wise enough to run away from Susie Bysiewicz as fast as they can!

Sure, Susie B. is a trooper, and she’s put in her miles in support of many. But she’s also damaged goods.

For anybody on the fence, I encourage you to spend ten minutes watching the videotaped deposition from the AG ballot disqualification suit. It doesn’t get much more pathetic than this:

If Bysiewicz were to somehow win, it definitely puts in play what should otherwise be a safe Senate seat. Her nomination would be Linda McMahon or Chris Shays’ dream come true.

PS—(that she wrongly claims support from alderpeople like Doug Hausladen should tell you something about her character.)

posted by: SaveOurCity on January 23, 2012  10:24am

@ Scooper

Thanks for the Susan B link - wow - amazing that she could believe that she was qualified to be Attorney General…..although its possible that after looking at Obama’s qualifications to be president, she may have thought it was possible

posted by: streever on January 23, 2012  11:06am

Save Our City
I’m not sure how the drowning deaths of Gary Holder-Winfield, Douglas Hausladen, or indeed, anyone else at this event would make any life better.

As to “presidential qualifications”—well, the Constitution lays those out for you.

For citizens born after the adoption of the Constitution, the requirement is that they are a natural born citizen, 35 or older, and have not previously served two terms.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Mr. Obama qualifies on all counts.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 23, 2012  11:30am

Here we go again.First Black Judas Goat Prechers on Dr,King birthday,Now Black Judas Goat Polticians follwing the same act.Take a look at these pictures.All the slick white Liberals.In fact Malcolm X spoke about this.

The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative.Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political “football game” that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives.Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball through tricks of tokenism: false promises of integration and civil rights. In this profitable game of deceiving and exploiting the politics of the American Negro, those white liberals have the willing cooperation of the Negro civil rights leaders. These “leaders” sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains. These “leaders” are satisfied with token victories and token progress because they themselves are nothing but token leaders….

Any time you throw your weight behind a political party… and that party can’t keep promises that it made… and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify with that political party, you’re not only a chump but a traitor to your people.
- Malcolm X, 1964

posted by: dee on January 23, 2012  12:05pm

Wow. I write something critical of John Destefano (in past comments), and the Independent cuts it out of my comment. But “Save Our City” writes a comment wishing for the deaths of a hundred Democrats, and it sails rights through. Fascinating.

posted by: tj on January 23, 2012  12:08pm

Boy is the Democratic party in New Haven…sticking together like white on rice….did we not learn anything from the Mayoral election that just took place…I see a few people that did say they would support Bysiewicz in these photo’s…..most go for the free food and drinks…they won’t even give Susie a chance,,,,,anyone in office for years should be voted out that includes Rosa…Looney..Destefano and who else that thinks they are indestructible..

posted by: Silver Lining on January 23, 2012  12:09pm

Hello?  NHI?  Somehow poking fun at privileged graduate students running for ward co-chair crosses the line but suggesting that we’d all be better off if the 25 people referenced in this article were all murdered is fine?  Can we get some consistency in your censorship policy?

[Editor: Thanks. You’re right. Comment deleted.]

posted by: noteworthy on January 23, 2012  12:22pm

Let’s not apologize for government because government is working so well.

posted by: Harry David on January 23, 2012  12:45pm

Apropos of nothing here is an interesting video on property taxes… Harryhttp://online.wsj.com/video/opinion-a-tale-of-four-cities/CB4F26FC-C2BC-4FED-9894-A562BF59FA9F.html?mod=opinion_video_newsreel

posted by: TRJR on January 23, 2012  12:46pm

Save Our City, you are one sick individual! You
should really consider changing your moniker.

[Editor: Comment deleted. Sorry I let it through. Definite mistake.]

posted by: SaveOurCity on January 23, 2012  12:50pm


... My company decided that it could no longer operative within the high cost and high regulatory environment of CT, so I have free time on a Monday to engage in a discussion…..

To be clear, I’m not saying that I have information (such as a birth certificate) that makes BHO ineligible to be President.  I’m just saying that since he had never led anything as substantial as a Boy Scout troup, why should we have expected any better results than we are seeing?

Sure, he is eligible - but he is also eligible to join the Lesbian Alliance of Metro Milwaukee…..

posted by: jschm on January 23, 2012  1:40pm

Murphy the progressive will only do more damage to the state. He’s done nothing for just like the rest of the Dems. We need balance in our representation so the Dems will not take CT for granted. We get 69 cents back of every dollar we send to DC. Our delegation has not done a good job for the state.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 23, 2012  1:57pm

The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them. - Karl Marx

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 23, 2012  2:18pm

Ask yourself this.How come the same democratic party people who remain silent when it came to Jeffrey Kerekes,Now have there mouth open for Chris Murphy.

posted by: streever on January 23, 2012  2:35pm

Save Our City
You may disagree with the work that Obama has done, and you are entitled to do so. I am not interested in that, but merely was confused by your statement of “qualified” and wanted to explain the qualifications of the job if you hadn’t read them before.

Sorry you lost your job. I hope you find a new one, and I do hope you reconsider your view that dumping a large assemblage of people into the ocean is going to fix anything—last I checked, CT wasn’t the only state dealing with a vanishing economy.

posted by: cedarhillresident on January 23, 2012  3:48pm

This is a really tough one for me.
I am 100% Bysiewicz supporter and think she will be perfect and represent me and my beliefs. She is who I would want.

When I have expressed this feeling to folks the reply was almost alway…

That is not how you look at this. Many are suzie supporters in our party. But the main reason for supporting a candidate at this point has to be, who can get republican votes, keep democrat votes and beat the republican candidate.

so the dilemma is do I stay with who I believe in and stay true to myself. Or do I guy with the candidate that has better shot against the Rep. candidate (at least what the powers that be say is a better candidate)

posted by: nhteaparty on January 23, 2012  4:11pm

Murphy is #5 out of 440 for top accepters of funding from groups that support SOPA.

posted by: streever on January 23, 2012  4:27pm

In my opinion, you should stick to who you believe in. Once the primary is over, you can rally behind the winner, who will hopefully emerge a stronger candidate post-test.

I think the candidate who can take the democratic primary the best is the candidate who can win the general the best.

Traditionally, I have a lot of respect for Bysiewicz, but I am really unhappy with the way she campaigned for AG. I think it shut out some seriously qualified folks, and became more political theater than politics. Worse of all, she couldn’t commit to serving the entire first term, which to me is disappointing conduct.

If you ask for people to elevate you to a position, you should be willing to honestly commit to that position for the full term. If you can’t because you want another job that opens up half-way through the first term, you shouldn’t run for the spot at all.

I think Bysiewicz lost a lot of credibility among her own party with that lack of commitment, and suspect it will cost her this primary.

posted by: cedarhillresident on January 24, 2012  10:15am

You are right, the flipping around did hurt her even in my eyes. And I like Murphy, not saying he is not a good candidate, because he is a good one. But Suzie has always had a bit of a soft spot for New Haven. I can bet many New Haveners have meet and spoken with her more than once. She is like Blummy to me, excessable to everyone. I like that. I am all about people that actually listen to the people.
But it sucks that the party heads were switching her around the way they did last go around.

I have yet to meet Murphy, Mostly cuz I do not have money and most things I have been invited to for him were about fund raising. Feel a tab bit funny going and being low income to events such as this.
But I am doing my reading and following Chris has been working his ass off for this. So I do respect that greatly.
I am still unsure which way I will go. Again it is a tough one.
Mc nasty will use Suzies flop against her and it will turn off voters.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 24, 2012  10:52am

posted by: cedarhillresident on January 24, 2012 9:15am

I am still unsure which way I will go. Again it is a tough one.

Do like me.Go this way.