Lamont Looks To November

Thomas Breen photoNed Lamont lashed out at his opponent at a final get-out-the-vote rally in New Haven — not the opponent he needs to beat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, but the one he expects to face in November.

“This is a fundamental choice,” Lamont, the endorsed candidate for governor in Tuesday’s Democratic Party primary, told 75 assembled labor elected officials and vote-pullers gathered at his Willow Street campaign headquarters.

By “choice,” he wasn’t talking about Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, the Democrat whom Lamont faces in Tuesday’s primary. He warned his supporters that a Republican win in November would mean attacks on labor rights and further cuts to municipal aid.

Over the course of a day of campaigning in New Haven on Saturday, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate didn’t once mention that he first must defeat Ganim Tuesday if he is indeed going to square off against the Republican Party’s nominee for governor during November’s general election.

His confidence was buoyed by the presence at the rally of dozens of campaign volunteers, influential labor organizers, and local and state legislators who came out on Saturday to show their support for the Greenwich businessman, who’s banking on his personal wealth and endorsements from most Democratic elected officials and vote-pulling unions, especially New Haven’s UNITE HERE, to cruise to victory Tuesday night.

“If we get out the vote on Tuesday,” Lamont said in response to a question about why he wasn’t mentioning Ganim’s name, “we’ll do just fine.”

In the final weekend before the primary,  Lamont crisscrossed the city on Saturday, making get-out-the-vote stops at the East Rock labor rally at his campaign headquarters, a Morris Cove church carnival, and a Puerto Rican festival in Fair Haven.

At each stop, Lamont called on supporters to hit the polls on Tuesday and in November lest a Republican win the governor’s race and attack principles, and sources of funding, that Connecticut Democrats hold dear. The Bridgeport mayor’s name didn’t once cross his lips.

After his own long day of campaigning in Bridgeport, North Haven, Hartford, and New Haven on Saturday, Ganim said he is feeling optimistic about his chances this Tuesday. He said he has encountered many voters who were on the fence about his candidacy but have now pledged their support for him after meeting him in person.

“We feel that we have momentum,” he said.

“A Fundamental Choice”

After attending Hartford’s West Indian Independence Celebration parade in the morning, Lamont began the New Haven portion of his day at around 2:30 p.m., when he led the get-out-the-vote canvass and phone bank rally alongside Democratic treasurer candidate Shawn Wooden at campaign headquarters on the second floor of the Marlinworks building at 85 Willow St. in East Rock.

Rally attendees included New Haven State Sen. Martin Looney, New Haven State Rep. Toni Walker, Guilford State Rep. Sean Scanlon, a half dozen New Haven alders, New Haven Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chair Vinnie Mauro, as well as representatives from SEIU’s Local 1199, UNITE HERE’s Locals 33, 34, and 35, and thelabor advocacy group New Haven Rising.

Lamont Campaign Manager Marc Bradley said that, despite the rain, volunteers spent Saturday morning and afternoon knocking on doors and making phone calls throughout the city. Bradley said the campaign had 800 volunteer shifts scheduled for the weekend for canvassing and phone banking throughout the state.

In keeping with Lamont’s focus on the stakes of November’s general election as a motivator for getting out the vote this August, nearly every one who spoke identified the eventual Republican candidate for governor, not Joe Ganim, as the adversary to watch out for. (Five candidates are running in the GOP gubernatorial primary.)

“Every election, every primary is important,” Looney told the crowd. “But this one has a particular significance because it really is about existential political survival in this state. This is a fundamental choice.”

Looney said the ideological divide between Lamont and the five Republican candidates for governor is wider than any ideological divide he has seen between the two parties in his 40 years in state politics. He said the future of health care, education, labor rights, and the economy are all at stake in this November’s election. He castigated the Republican candidates for supporting President Donald Trump and for promising to gut collective bargaining rights for both public second and private sector unions.

“All of the Republican candidates for the gubernatorial and the General Assembly, their model is the state of Wisconsin and what happened there under Scott Walker,” Looney said. “A previously progressive, generally Democratic state all of a sudden becoming a black hole for Republican politics and Republican-dominated positions. We cannot let that happen in Connecticut.”

Outgoing state Attorney General George Jepsen said he has known Lamont for 30 years. Lamont has always been “a man of integrity and a man of vision,” Jepsen said. He said a Lamont victory in November would send a signal to the rest of the country that “the Democratic Party is alive and well in Connecticut.”

Laurie Kennington, the president of Yale University’s clerical and technical workers union, UNITE HERE Local 34, praised Lamont for marching with her fellow union members on Wednesday in a jobs rally that culminated in UNITE HERE’s endorsement of Lamont for governor.

She said Lamont, a Greenwich millionaire businessman who has been endorsed by the state Democratic Party, the state AFL-CIO, and nearly every major local and state Democratic politician, is the only candidate capable of bringing together labor, business, and political leaders into one statewide coalition.

“New Haven is the key to winning in November,” she said. “Only Ned can bring us across that finish line in November.”

“This is a really big deal on Tuesday,” Lamont said. “It’s a really big deal in November. The choices couldn’t be more stark.”

He said the Republican candidates can’t decide if they’re going to totally eliminate the income tax or just partially eliminate the income tax, which accounts for around $9-$10 billion out of the state’s $20 billion annual budget.

“Do you know what that would mean to education?” Lamont asked. “Do you know what that would mean to property taxes? Do you know what that would mean to cities like New Haven? It would be devastating.”

He said he plans on investing in education, lowering property taxes, and supporting Connecticut’s cities. He promised to govern with fairness, dignity, and respect, which means, he said, that he will protect workers’ rights to organize and to collective bargaining.

“I may be a business guy from Fairfield County,” he said. “But I’m standing up every day, fighting for fairness.”

Watch Out, Trump

At subsequent campaign stops in Morris Cove and Fair Haven, Lamont continued to emphasize his opposition to Republican policies and personalities at both the state and national levels.

At around 5:15 p.m., Lamont visited the St. Bernadette’s Church Carnival at 385 Townsend Ave. The parking lot adjacent to the church was all but empty except for a handful of silent carnival rides and several dozen volunteers grilling hot dogs and working the p.a. system.

Father Frank Carter, the priest at St. Bernadette’s, said each of the previous four nights of the festival had brought in nearly 1,000 people. Heavy rainstorms kept most those carnival goers at home on Saturday afternoon.

Nevertheless, Lamont made the rounds and earned the good will of those he spoke with.

“I like his ads,” Carter said. “He doesn’t challenge people by name. Some of the other ads are a little too sharp.” He said he hopes Lamont, if elected governor, will maintain the conversational tone that Carter hears in his ads and in person, and that he will host listening sessions where he visits neighborhoods like Morris Cove and hears firsthand about problems that constituents face.

Morris Cove resident Marilyn Kozin told Lamont that she can’t wait for Tuesday’s primary to be over and for the general election campaign to begin in earnest.

“I think Ned will bring us around,” she said about her faith in Lamont’s capacity to work across party lines to mitigate the state’s budget woes if elected governor.

Lamont then traveled up to Bregamos Community Theater with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to attend the third annual Festival Puertorriqueño de New Haven.

One of four Democratic candidates for statewide office to address the festival goers, Lamont said he believes that every person who comes to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico should be treated with the same respect and dignity that his mother was treated with when she came to Connecticut from Puerto Rico in the 1940s.

“Elections have consequences,” he said. “And President Trump, Puerto Ricans are Americans too! They deserve every right, every dignity” that mainland American citizens have. He promised to fight for Connecticut’s Puerto Rican population if elected governor in November.

Click on the Facebook Live video below to watch Lamont’s get-out-the-vote rally on Saturday.

 

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posted by: 1644 on August 12, 2018  2:34pm

Boughton and Stefanowski has promised to eliminate the income tax, which, as Themis Klarides said, is silly.  Herbst, supposedly the most conservative candidate, has promised to eliminate it for those earning less than $75K/year, which is actually a pretty progressive position, more progressive than any of the other candidates, including Lamont.

posted by: NHPLEB on August 12, 2018  3:21pm

Leave us not count our chickens before they’re hatched,  Mr. Lamont!

posted by: Atwater on August 12, 2018  6:01pm

If they eliminate the state income tax, or create an income threshold, then I’ll move back to Connecticut. I think a good amount of people would and more young people would stay.

posted by: BevHills730 on August 12, 2018  8:58pm

If they eliminate income tax every middle and working class voter will be screwed.  Imagine the property taxes needed to make up for municipal budget shortfalls, especially in cities that get PILOT payments.  Crazy to see Trumpers at the gates right here in CT.

posted by: robn on August 12, 2018  10:01pm

All of those so called labor advocates mentioned in this article have driven the state of ct and new haven into bankruptcy. Under these circumstances, a vote for Lamont, who has clearly sold his souls to state and municipal labor unions, is another nail in the coffin of CT.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 12, 2018  10:32pm

One of four Democratic candidates for statewide office to address the festival goers, Lamont said he believes that every person who comes to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico should be treated with the same respect and dignity that his mother was treated with when she came to Connecticut from Puerto Rico in the 1940s.

So Ned Lamont has Puerto Rican Roots? So what does that mean.I grow around Spanish Harlem, also known as El Barrio and East Harlem.I bet Ned lamont does not know what Coquito Melicoccus bijugatus (AKA)  quenepa fruit Piragua Is?Does Ned listen to Eddie Palmieri Ray Barretto (AKA) Hard Hands Tito Puente Joe Cuba.If he does not know this.Then he has lost his Roots.


To my Union Brothers and Sisters.You are being sold Snake-Oil and Three card Monte,Again.Ned Lamont will be just like Ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.Both are cut from the same cloth.Ned Lamont will destroy the unions Lay you state workers off and Bring in the Charter Schools.

This is you tube shows who both Ned Lamont and Joe Garim are.

Slick

https://youtu.be/L9LAvE7UUys

Keep voting them In.

posted by: Callisto on August 13, 2018  6:41am

Agreed Lamont is yet another tone-deaf billionaire but Herbst also wants to slash corporate taxes, undermine protective regulations and eliminate the estate tax which only benefits the very rich and will further exacerbates the wealth gap. I can’t help but wonder how slashing every company’s and everyone’s taxes allows for any government services. Is this another veiled attempt at “deconstructing the administrative state” by critically sapping state coffers? Oh well, whatever, I could never vote for a party where chronic blatant racism is never a disqualifier anyway.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on August 13, 2018  8:11am

1644, eliminating the income tax for households earning less than $75K would, by itself, be progressive. But the state has a structural deficit. BevHills730 is right that income tax cuts would likely result in regressive increases in the property tax.

posted by: cunningham on August 13, 2018  8:20am

I’m 30. Anecdotally, all my friends who have moved out of state ended up in either New York City or Massachusetts. If it were taxes pushing them out, I think they would have ended up somewhere else.

posted by: ShadowBoxer on August 13, 2018  8:25am

I plan to vote for Ned tomorrow and have voted for him twice before, but the irony was not lost on me that he said he would not vote for the Democratic candidate should he lose tomorrow’s race.  He has lamented Joe Lieberman running as an independent in 2006, for over ten years.  Dems were furious with Lieberman for not abiding by the rules of the game. 

I don’t think Ganim will win, but if he did fair and square Ned should support him.

posted by: robn on August 13, 2018  8:35am

CUNNINGHAM,

In those states, high taxes are put to productive use and allow businesses to grow and job opportunities to flourish. That’s what attracted your friends. CT, on the other hand, has atrophied.

posted by: cunningham on August 13, 2018  9:25am

Robn:

I don’t disagree, I was responding to Atwater (and their ilk), who suggest that young people would stay put if income taxes were lower.

posted by: Atwater on August 13, 2018  9:38am

I don’t think eliminating the income tax, or just applying it to the top income tiers, is the magic bullet. Thought it would be for me, but then again I grew up in Connecticut, I have roots there and I miss it. But, eliminating the income tax, or creating a threshold, would be one incentive for young people to stay in Connecticut and for some to move to Connecticut. The second largest state in the Union does not have any income tax and their economy is booming, property taxes are a bit high, but they’re not crippling (yet).

The point is, the government of Connecticut cannot tax their way out of the problems they’ve made. What the state needs now is energetic leadership with new approaches to small state management. Labor unions are not to blame, universities are not to blame. Blame rests on the Democrats, Republicans and others who sold out to corporate special interests, who created a top-heavy administration that is mired in bureaucracy and waste, and who corrupted themselves (Rowland, Ganim, et al.) and their Parties for personal gain. Connecticut is a great place for a lot of people, but it should be better for everyone. For working people, students, retirees, etc.

Oh, if Ganim wins, then the State should just pack it up and sell to New York and Massachusetts. A convicted felon, a person who has been convicted of political corruption, should have never made it this far in any statewide race, or any race for that matter. Jonathan Trumbull is probably spinning in his grave.