This Time, Elliott Runs From The Inside

Markeshia Ricks PhotoJosh Elliott took down names. But he didn’t broadcast them.

In the prcess, he morphed from an outsider into what he describes as an “insider” learning how to make a difference.

A lot has changed for Elliott in two years. At this time in 2016, he was waging an insurgent campaign for the 88th District state representative seat from Hamden. Fresh off the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, he and his team took on a popular establishment-endorsed Democrat in a primary, and won an upset. Then he won the seat outright in the general election.

Now Elliott, who has emerged as a leading figure statewide in left-of-center party politics, is running for reelection, with no Democrat opposing him and with the support of the establishment. He’s also working on fellow progressive Democrats’ campaigns across the state.

He said that he made sure in 2016 not to disparage his party opponents. Now, he said, he’s working well with them. And more progressive people have entered Hamden politics, in part growing out of the 2016 campaign, he said. He met a voter named Cory O’Brien while knocking on people’s doors. He encouraged O’Brien to get involved — and now O’Brien sits on the Town Council. Both the party town committee and the town council have had progressive turnover, Elliott said.

“I made it a priority to run a clean race” so he could then “work well” with people, he said Tuesday in an interview on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program. “This time around when I announced I was going to seek reelection ... people didn’t feel I was letting them down.”

“People didn’t feel I was the outsider candidate this time around. I was one of them,” he said.

How he got there can be seen in that list of names he took down.

He originally made the list after surveying his fellow Democratic state legislators on their stands on core positions he was pushing at the Capitol, such as legalizing recreational use of marijuana, instituting electronic highway tolls, passing a paid family leave law, boosting the hourly minimum wage to $15, and hiking income tax rates for millionaires.

He originally portrayed the list as potential targets for Democratic primaries he would support to strengthen the party’s position in Hartford. That earned him a lot of talk, and some potential enemeies, at the Capitol. Or, as he put it, “I dirtied myself in my colleagues’ eyes.”

In the end, Elliott said in the WNHH interview, he decided to keep the names and their positions secret. Rather, he said, the list is helping him see where he stands on pushing those positions, and who are the strongest allies.

“It’s not going to work to bash people over the head,” he said.

He also decided that “my time might be better spent” supporting progressive Democrats statewide to beat Republicans in “coin flip” districts in the general election rather than helping out in primary contests, he said.

He noted how much is at stake this November: The Democrats risk losing the governor’s office, the state Senate, and at least some of their narrow majority in the House. On the other hand, he said, anti-Trump fervor might help the Democrats increase their standing in the House to 83 or 84 seats. Last session, renegade Democrats sided with Republicans to weaken a state affordable housing law and to prevent the passage of a Democratic budget that would have increase revenues and avoided some social-service cuts. (Two of those Democrats retired rather than run again this fall; a third is leaving his position to run for attorney general.)

The party will need strong legislative candidates to increase turnout for the gubernatorial candidate, Elliott noted.  He said he is not endorsing a candidate in the Demorcratic gubernatorial primary: “There is a lack of general enthusiasm for the gubernatorial race.” (He is supporting Eva Bermudez Zimmerman for lieutenant governor in the Aug. 14 primary.)

When he attended this May’s party nominating convention, he said, he looked around and realized: “This room is bought.”


Click on the Facebook Live video for the full interview with Joshua Elliott on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”

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posted by: 1644 on August 9, 2018  2:01pm

Is Elliot really saying he had nothing to do with pushing Schlossberg and Reed out, in retaliation for their budget votes?

posted by: Not Worthy on August 9, 2018  2:43pm

Rep Elliott is the indispensible man. I know he puts people off because (checks notes) he wears t-shirts in public, but he is very smart and serious and is a force of nature, pushing this state towards the progressive values of equality and equity.

posted by: new havener on August 9, 2018  2:44pm

Elliott, along with his left-of-center, socialist/progressive views, is a prime reason CT’s legislature is turning red. This Fall’s election may very well see a Republican Governor after Malloy’s debacle.

While I personally could care less about Elliott’s dream of making marijuana legal, he can keep his hands out of my wallet when it comes to tolls, paid family leave law, boosting the hourly minimum wage, and hiking income tax rates…that money comes from somewhere, something he cares even less about. It hard enough making it in CT, and progressive/liberals are making it harder.

posted by: alex on August 9, 2018  3:28pm

Elliott’s the next Irv Stolberg, and he’s a decade overdue.

posted by: Noteworthy on August 9, 2018  3:38pm

Eliott the Socialist Notes:

1. Keep waving your socialist flyers in the air - it scares the hell out of normal voters. Somehow this type of candidate always becomes the darling of the media.

2. Let’s get real - if Dems lose the governorship and control of the Senate this year, it is because they deserve it. They earned it. Look at our fiscal mess. Look at the tax structure. Look at Malloy. How many looks do you want to take before you pull a GOP lever?

3. There is one Dem that is worth keeping - Kevin Lembo. That’s it.

posted by: cunningham on August 9, 2018  4:01pm

I’ve been out knocking doors all summer in Wallingford for Dan Fontaine, a Democratic candidate running on a platform very much like Mr. Elliott’s. This is a working class area with a far-right incumbent that went handily to Donald Trump in 2016 — yet when we directly ask people whether they support things like paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage, and tax fairness, they overwhelmingly say yes. These policies aren’t just good and right, they’re popular.

posted by: SpecialK on August 9, 2018  4:15pm

Is Elliot’s own business paying at least $15, along with all the other benefits mentioned, and hour to all their employees? If not, maybe he could start with his own money and let us know how his business makes out.

posted by: OhHum on August 9, 2018  4:21pm

Every two years we have an opportunity to correct errors we’ve made earlier. Josh Elliot should be one of those corrections. He really hasn’t done his homework on marijuana legalization, all the while trying to push it through the House.

From USA Today: “According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, arrests in Colorado of Black and Latino youth for marijuana possession have increased 58% and 29% respectively after legalization. This means that Black and Latino youth are being arrested more for marijuana possession after it became legal.” (There’s a large underground market selling marijuana in Colorado)

“Colorado’s youth marijuana use rate is the highest in the nation, 74% higher than the national average, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This is having terribly negative effects on the education of our youth.”

“In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”

Smoke on your pipe and put that in. (Forgive me Stephen Sondheim)

posted by: 1644 on August 9, 2018  4:32pm

He originally portrayed the list as potential targets for Democratic primaries he would support to strengthen the party’s position in Hartford.
No, putting far-left candidates in place of more centrist incumbents in swing districts like Branford and Milford would have weakened the party’s position.  Elliot’s candidate to replace Reed, Bonenberger, criticized her for voting in the interests of her town, as if that were a bad thing.  Whereas, running a campaign promising to vote against your constituents’ interests is a winning strategy.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 9, 2018  4:35pm

Fresh off the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, he and his team took on a popular establishment-endorsed Democrat in a primary, and won an upset. Then he won the seat outright in the general election.Now Elliott, who has emerged as a leading figure statewide in left-of-center party politics, is running for reelection, with no Democrat opposing him and with the support of the establishment. He’s also working on fellow progressive Democrats’ campaigns across the state.

Snake-Oil and Three Card Monte Being sold.Elliott is just like Bernie Sanders. A Sheepdog As my good friend Bruce Dixon from black agenda report.wrote.Sheepdogs are herders and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic Party.

You see .Sheepdogs are the same as a Judas Goat.Bottom Line He has sold his soul to the machine.

Mark 8:36 KJV: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
No shame hast the Judas Goat!!

posted by: Bill Saunders on August 10, 2018  12:24am

If I knew nothing of the story, and was just looking at the first photo, I would say that this is about somebody leading a class of pre-schoolers in a new pilot production of ‘Mr. Rogers goes to Romper Room’. 

The striped shirt doesn’t help. 
The Faux-hawk—- really?

Image matters!

posted by: 1644 on August 10, 2018  1:07am

SpecialK: No Elliot does not pay $15.  He doesn’t even pay $11. On Facebook, Elliot defended his pay rates.  He said, given that competitors would also pay $10, he couldn’t raise prices, so anything above the minimum would have to come from his profits.  He said he would raise them if everyone else was forced to do so, because then there would be a general price inflation and his buying power would stay the same.  He doesn’t mention that, of course, his employee’s buying power would be the same, too.  Sure, they would get more nominal dollars, but they would get the same in real dollars because of the wage induced price inflation.

  Elliot also mentioned that he though it ridiculous that those who believe in higher taxes should just send more money to the government.  In other words, he wouldn’t do something he thinks is good because it’s good, but only if he is forced to do so.  One reason I admire Wendy a lot is she actually put her money where her mouth is. She also recognizes the hypocrisy of Blumenthal and Delauro sitting on millions while decrying the condition of the poor. I guess Elliott could be lumped with those two in spirit, if not the thickness of his wallet.