Lamont-Bysiewicz Ticket Complicates Winfield Run

A deal to join forces at the top of the ranks of the Democratic Party gubernatorial campaign complicates the potential candidacy of New Haven State Sen. Gary Winfield for the position of lieutenant governor.

Winfield, who has represented New Haven in the state legislature since 2009, was on the cusp this week of announcing that he would seek the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor at this coming weekend’s state party convention.

Then the news broke Monday afternoon that leading gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont had struck a deal with his top party rival, Susan Bysiewicz. Bysiewicz agreed to drop her own gubernatorial candidacy to run as Lamont’s lieutenant governor candidate.

Winfield said Monday afternoon that he didn’t immediately know if that means he’ll drop a bid for lieutenant governor as well.

“I don’t know. I just found out five six minutes ago. I hadn’t gone all the way [in] yet,” Winfield said. “I don’t make snap decisions.”

He questioned whether an all-white gubernatorial/lieutenant governor ticket is a smart move for the Democrats this year. (Winfield is African-American; Lamont and Bysiewicz are white.)

“Whether it’s me or anybody else, diversity was something that was part of the conversation from the beginning this year,” he said. “We’ve had a female lietuenant governor and governor before. We haven’t never had a person of color. I’m not saying it has to be a man. It’s interesting when that was part of the conversation, how little was made toward making an attempt toward that.

“You’re going to rely on certain communities to get over the hump. Those communities want to see themselves reflected on the ticket.”

Lamont, who is self-financing his campaign, poured almost $10 million into his failed Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign in 2010. Bysiewicz was seeking to run under the state’s public-financing system; even if she had qualified, she still would have been limited to spending $1.25 million.

Two other Democrats, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and former liquor executive Guy Smith, have said they plan to gather voter signatures on petitions to force a party gubernatorial primary.

An earlier version of this story follows:

Winfield Weighs Lieutenant Governor Run

Markeshia Ricks PhotoA New Haven politician may seek statewide office this year, after all.

That person is State Sen. Gary Winfield. Political circles were abuzz Friday with the news that he may seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.

Winfield, who has taken a leading role on civil rights and social justice issues since first getting elected to the state legislature in 2008, confirmed in a conversation with the Independent that he’s seriously considering the run.

He has until next Friday to decide. That’s when the Democrats gather for their statewide nominating convention.

“Lots of people from different places have talked to me about it,” Winfield said. “I’m open to the possibility.”

He said he had previously weighed a run, but held off until the recent birth of his twins. (Read about that here.)

He noted that as an African-American he would add “diversity” to the Democratic ticket, and said his knowledge of how to negotiate with people and work “inside the building”— the state Capitol— would add needed experience.

New Haven Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro Jr. welcomed the idea of a Winfield candidacy.

“Gary would bring generational change into the race,” Mauro said, delicately alluding to the fact that Baby Boomers have been dominating the races for statewide offices in both parties. Winfield is 44.

Another next-generation candidate, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, announced Friday that she’s seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Stewart, 31, had previously launched a gubernatorial campaign, but concluded she lacked enough support within the party.

Winfield is “smart, progressive. He’s a veteran of the Navy. He’d be a formidable candidate,” Mauro said. He noted that New Haven has the largest delegation to the state convention and produces more votes than any other city for statewide Democratic candidates.

Joe Fox, senior adviser to gubernatorial candidate Susan Bysiewicz, welcomed the idea of a Winfield candidacy. His “progressive voice” would “add to the race,” Fox said.

State Democratic Chairman Nick Balletto said he knows of only one other Democratic contender for the lieutenant governor nomination, Eva Bermudez of Newtown.

He called both Bermudez, a labor organizer who had previously considered challenging Secretary of the State Denise Merrill in a primary, and Winfield are “very credible candidates” for lieutenant governor.

“Gary is an unbelievable state senator, very dedicated public servant. He has served New Haven very, very well,” Balletto said.

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posted by: ShadowBoxer on May 11, 2018  5:43pm

I think if Joe Ganim is the nominee, which is a 50/50, then that ticket will be too urban.  The suburbs will not want a Bridgeport/New Haven ticket.  Having said that, note that Ganim has the best shot and here is why: if Ned LaMont is the nominee, than it is almost certain Susan B and Ganim will force a primary.  Susan and Ned will split the liberal vote, and Ganim will emerge as the centrist, pragmatic nominee.  Its not a crazy scenario, and in the Trump era, is it really any scandal that he took fancy dinners and bottles of wine?  He served his time and did his time.  If we believe in a second chance society, than he exemplifies that.  He was reelected in Bridgeport, because among African Americans, transgressions of the law are not looked at with the same stigma as in the white community.  This is not a racist comment, it is a fact because the law targets people of color, so more are unfairly embroiled in it.  If LaMont is the nominee, my money is on Mayor Harp.  Ned might be past his sell by date and sacrificial lamb in a difficult year given Malloy’s unpopularity.  Having said that, I voted for him twice before. At least the dems have a solid bench!  The GOP bench is very weak. But if the GOP can nominate someone generic, they might squeak by, even in a wave year.  But I think its Governor Ganim in a squeaker.

posted by: NewHaven06512 on May 11, 2018  7:13pm

Another Malloy enabler, he is part of the collective that put Connecticut in the them all out.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 11, 2018  7:56pm

Winfield also believes in a lot more taxes, spending, fees and thinks bi-partisan is overrated and a dirty word.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on May 11, 2018  9:51pm

Run Gary Run!!!
He would be a great Governor too!!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 12, 2018  12:39pm

posted by: ShadowBoxer on May 11, 2018 5:43pm

The GOP bench is very weak.

The Democrats bench is also are weak.You have Democrat votes who are not going to vote Democrat due to Dan Malloy.In fact ask Democrat state workers who were laid off by Dan Malloy.Ask Teachers who are fed up with the Democrat party.Plus the GOP does not win the governor race.All they have to do is get control of Both houses.

Winfield is “smart, progressive.

Give me a break.Progressive politicians have sold there souls long ago for power and fame.

He is my list of the candidates I will be looking to vote for.


2.Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

posted by: 1644 on May 13, 2018  12:18pm

At the Republican convention, the assumption was that the Democratic ticket would be Lamont/Bysiewizc.  My impression of Susan B. is that she just wants a job, any job, and it would add gender balance to the ticket and defuse a primary if she were the Lt. Gov.  candidate.  Susan will appeal to the swing voter, suburban, soccer moms.  Urban leftists will vote Democratic no matter what.  The more interesting question is whether Dita gets the treasurer nomination over Wooden.  Again, it’s suburbanites vs. urban voters.

posted by: Ex-HVN on May 13, 2018  5:09pm

We don’t need Winfield to add diversity to the Democratic ticket. I am a delegate to the State convention who is supporting Shawn Wooden of Hartford for State Treasurer.
We don’t need Winfield to add younger than baby boomer to the ticket. Wooden is also in his 40s.

Most importantly, we don’t need someone who could not commit to run adding there name into the mix at the last minute.

Candidates seeking Democratic party nominations have spent the last 6 months visiting Town Committee meetings, explaining their qualifications to delegates and seeking support.

Not bothering to reach out to delegates is a slap in the face for those of us who take this responsibility seriously and have spent countless hours listening to potential candidates, reading literature, taking phone calls, etc.

No one needs a Johnny-come-lately who has ignored the process, but is backed by a big city machine.

posted by: robn on May 13, 2018  10:26pm

Unless this election gets more exciting, my head will soon be permanently stuck to my school desk with drool.

posted by: shoppinglady on May 14, 2018  8:12am

@Ex-hvn writes that Shawn Wooden on the ticket is “enough diversity.” The treasurer is an important constitutional office, but it really rubs me the wrong way to hear that we should be limiting “diversity” because one PoC is “enough” on the democratic ticket. I am also a delegate to the state convention and I welcome Winfield’s candidacy. Observing the work of the judiciary committee (among others) this term, it is clear that committees more reflective of the gender and racial composition of our state lead to legislation that protects the rights of all citizens and workers in our communities. In 2018 the legislature passed bills to protect pay equity, raise wages for personal care and group home workers, protect the rights of incarcerated women, process rape kits more expediently, and to protect victims in domestic violence disputes. Democrats did not pass all of the legislation they proposed, but the bills listed above are important steps, and that we are even debating pay equity for women, or whether or not it is appropriate for a woman to be shacked to her hospital bed during the delivery of a child shows why it is essential to have more women, and more people of color in our state government.

So yes Senator Winfield! Please run for Lt. Governor!

posted by: Razzie on May 14, 2018  10:47am

I echo most of Shoppinglady’s comments about “diversity” of the ticket. There is no color quota that we need to be concerned about. If Gary wants to jump in the race at this late date, more power to him. But I suggest that his strengths are precisely his weaknesses.

Gary has forged a reputation as an effective legislator who has advanced the progressive agenda at Hartford better than most others. It would be a huge step back for us to lose his voice in the legislature. Especially if we have to accept the trade of Lt. Gov. position that would effectively silence him for 8 years if he is successful in his quest. The Lt. Gov’s portfolio entirely depends on whatever the Governor chooses to toss his way. We as Dems need to think globally as to whether any candidate advances the party’s overall objectives. It is not always about individual vanity.

posted by: Ex-HVN on May 14, 2018  10:48am

I did not say there is enough diversity, I wrote that Diversity exists and is not dependent on Winfield’s candidacy citing Shawn Wooden. There is a female Candidate for the same office who is ‘Indo-Pak’ that is also diversity.
No one is trying ti limit diversity, but to claim Winfield is needed to rpovide diversity is a sham

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 14, 2018  12:20pm

Gary Winfield should NOT run for Lt. Governor.  If he does and wins, his fortunes will be tied to the person with whom he serves.  His possibilities will rise or fall based on someone else’s policies and political acumen. 

Sen. Winfield is as qualified as anyone in this state to be GOVERNOR.  To irrevocably connect himself to someone else’s wagon would be a waste of his talents and potential to serve this state at the highest level. 

He does not want to end up like the present Lt. Governor who CANNOT run for the top spot because the Governor under whom she serves is so unpopular. 

Don’t do that to yourself, Brother.  Hold out and run for Governor.

The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee

posted by: 1644 on May 14, 2018  4:50pm

Winfield is out. SB is in.  Dems will be united while Republicans have confusing primary.

posted by: SparkJames on May 14, 2018  7:05pm

I second everything that the Rev. Samuel T. Ross-Lee said.

Gary Holder-Winfield should be Governor.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on May 15, 2018  12:18am

Winfield should be Governor?  Are you kidding me?  Winfield’s upset because Lamont chose to look pass him for Lt. 

Winfield has one quest and one quest only, and that is to bolster his personal acclamations.  However, I will say this, NO Democratic candidate for Gov. can win without the black and Latino vote from NH.  So where’s the benefit to deliver them if they have nothing to deliver to you?  Pimping is over.  That’s right I said it.

New [young] leaders from the black and Latino community should rise up and form a coalition to insist that these candidates do business with them instead of the recycled sellouts of old.  To vote against your own interest is the beginning of stupidity.  In fact, I venture to suggest this new leadership meet with the Republican candidate(s) also. 

This isn’t about political party.  This about the physical and financial health of your community. 

In my view, politics is about two competing narratives.  Money and service.  Who’s making the money?  And who’s being served?  So if neither one of these narratives apply to you, why give away your vote for nothing?

posted by: Noteworthy on May 15, 2018  5:41am

Get Real Notes:

1. Winfield seems upset nobody reached out to him for the second highest job in the state even though he hasn’t made a decision to run, has not formed an exploratory committee, has not spent or raised one dime for a LT Gov run; attended any of the myriad of meetings or seriously reached out to any of the delegates.

2. Skin tone is not a reason to run, to be considered or to earn a vote. That’s crass identity politics. It’s overrated - especially here. Whatever Dem is on the ballot, dems will almost mindlessly secure their vote. One need only look at Malloy, Harp and so many others.

3. Using babies as a reason not to make a decision is lame. One can form a committee, raise money, talk on the phone, email, text - and in the early months of the pregnancy, one can easily work the delegates.

4. If you choose to stay home for your family, your kids or your wife - it’s all admirable and good. But that’s a decision that Winfield made as to what’s best for him and his loved ones at that time. But that doesn’t give you a pass on the system or the path to promotion. Many of us, particularly women, make those decisions too - sometimes it costs us. It should be different for Winfield because…? 

5. As for running for governor - zero chance of winning.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 15, 2018  7:13am

He noted that as an African-American he would add “diversity” to the Democratic ticket, and said his knowledge of how to negotiate with people and work “inside the building”— the state Capitol— would add needed experience.

As Brother Malcolm X Said.

You give white politicians all of your support, and get nothing in return. You put the Democrats first, and they put you last——-MALCOLM X (from his speech called, the Ballot or the Bullet)

posted by: Razzie on May 15, 2018  8:06am

What’s wrong with Gary being disappointed that he didn’t get a “Draft Gary Winfield” movement going? Nearly every elected official roaming the halls of the State Capitol is infected with raging ambition and over-sized ego. I can look past that. But I find his argument that a color quota should apply to the top of the ticket a bit much. If nothing else, the Trump fiasco should reinforce in everyone’s mind that ... Elections are about winning”! Putting a POC on the ticket simply because of their complexion, and not because of what that person adds to the ticket’s chances of winning will invariably lead to losing.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on May 15, 2018  9:47am

@ Razzie,

Do you really think the marginal Democratic voter is going to show up to vote for a Greenwich dilettante Dem, married to a hedge-fund wife?

Combine Ned with the Susie B. re-tread for Lt. Governor, and you have a very problematic ticket.

Gary would have added inspiration and true leadership. It’s also not just a diversity of color, but a diversity of generations.

Will the Trump backlash elect Lamont anyway? I don’t know, but let’s hope so…

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 15, 2018  9:53am

Mr./Ms./Mrs. Noteworthy,

Your comments here are bigoted and unnecessary. 


The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee

posted by: Razzie on May 15, 2018  12:02pm

“Do you really think the marginal Democratic voter is going to show up to vote for a Greenwich dilettante Dem, married to a hedge-fund wife?”

That characterization could well apply to a number of the State-wide candidate pool participants, both Dem and Rep. In fact Fairfield County seems to be over-represented among the candidates. But the thing about election contests is that each candidate gets to make his/her case to the people over a 6 or 7 month period of time. I have no idea how Lamont/Bysewicz will present themselves, or become accepted by the voters in the general election. My guess is that, among the likely contestants, having money will not be a detrimental factor.

As much as diversity is a factor, ideological balance is also to be considered when choosing a running mate. Gary’s entire agenda and his professed disavowal of self-funded candidates creates an ideological imbalance that presents significant operational risks to Lamont’s candidacy. A Ganim/Winfield ticket presents better ideological balance than Lamont/Winfield. At any rate, Gary can do a better job of testing the waters if he were to jump in and actively campaign. No risk—No reward.

posted by: Razzie on May 15, 2018  12:49pm

Editor: Please note that Gary Winfield was first elected to the House in 2009. He did not join the Senate until 2014.

[Ed.: Thanks for the correction!]

posted by: Itcantbereal on May 15, 2018  1:35pm

Perhaps this isn’t Gary’s time.  Like others have pointed out, if you’re sitting back waiting to be drafted while others have been out there working the state, then don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen.  You have to make an effort.  This is eerily reminiscent of when Winfield was running for Mayor.  Back then he didn’t give much reason to come out for him even among those who wanted to come out for him: he sounded like a disinterested candidate, showed lackluster enthusiasm for the job, didn’t make much effort to connect with a broad range of folks, and didn’t really inspire others to come out for him.  No surprise his candidacy went nowhere.  A Ganim/Winfield ticket would be a mistake for many reasons.