Lamont Banks On Reviving Spirit Of ‘06

Bass, MacMillan PhotosNed Lamont has millions of dollars ready to spend to try to stop the Koch Brothers from turning Connecticut red.

But he didn’t come to New Haven to talk about that.

He came to talk about how he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for governor this year in order to bring “truth” to Hartford about how to deliver balanced budgets through bold steps tailored to the “21st-century economy.”

He came to talk about how we need to institute highway tolls to pay for fixing the transportation system. How the sales tax covers only half of what we buy at stores — so it should now cover e-commerce as well.

He came to talk about how women should earn as much as men for comparable work. About raising the minimum wage. About preserving Connecticut’s immigrant-friendly “sanctuary” policies.

He came to talk about what a great job Mayor Toni Harp — whom several gubernatorial candidates are wooing as an endorser and running mate — is doing governing New Haven. How he hopes to spread New Haven’s secret sauce statewide.

“People know that in 2006 I took on my own party as well as the Republican Party. They know I’m not afraid to stand up and challenge,” Lamont said during an appearance Wednesday on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program. “When it comes to this budget, I am going to speak some truth, find a collaborate way of working with labor so we can move this state forward and have an honest and balanced budget.”

Lamont spoke of seeking to recapture the spirit of that run in 2006, when he challenged U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. He beat Lieberman in a Democratic Party primary, energizing the grassroots and netroots in New Haven and nationwide, then lost to Lieberman (who ran as an independent) in the general election.

Lamont, a 64-year-old Greenwich millionaire who started and sold a company that built telecommunications and video systems for universities, failed to excite the grassroots again in 2010 when he ran an unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign, headquartered in New Haven. Some of his most ardent supporters from 2006 sat out the 2010 primary instead of supporting him. Some — including the man who recruited him to run in 2006 and served as his campaign manager — said they were sitting out the 2010 primary in part because Lamont decided to self-fund his quest rather than participate in the public-financing system, a.k.a. the Citizens’ Election Program. (Read about that in this story.)

Self-financing didn’t bother them in 2006, they said, because Lamont’s opponent, Lieberman, was raking in millions of dollars in contributions from special interests. But it bothered them in 2010, when Lamont’s 2010 primary opponent, Dannel P. Malloy, participated in Connecticut’s public-financing system. Lamont outspent Malloy 3-1 in that race, and still lost (even in New Haven, where politicians from the mayor on down endorsed him).

Public-financing programs like the CEP are designed to broaden the pool of candidates competing in elections and prevent wealthy special interests or individuals from buying public office.

As 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidates compete for support in New Haven political circles, Lamont has sparked some initial interest, in part, some politicos say, because he has the money to run strong. (Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has also been picking up support from some local politicos.)

In Wednesday’s WNHH interview, Lamont said he again plans to spend some of his own money in this year’s gubernatorial campaign. He wouldn’t say how much. He said he’ll need the money to counter the millions that, as in 2006, will flow in (in the general election) from conservative and plutocratic circles.

But he also said he fully supports the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP). He said he will run only on “clean donations.” And he vowed to reignite the spirit of 2006 to elicit a groundswell of small private donations.

Following are excerpts from the WNHH interview.

WNHH: Are you going to be running clean? Or are you going to self-finance this election?

Lamont: It’s going to be a clean campaign. I’m going to raise more small donations than anybody. I’m going to show, like the Lieberman campaign, this is grassroots, energized.

Are you going to get matching [public] funds?

I’m not going to take the taxpayer money on this. But I’m going to fight for CEP [Citizens’ Election Program —ed.] and make sure that everybody else who needs that to compete, we’re going to keep that going.

How much of your own money are you putting in?

Look. I found in the Lieberman campaign — I didn’t spend any more than him, but there was all this outside money coming in. I’m going to try to hold as close as I can to what everybody else is doing. But as soon as I see that outside money coming in again.… The Republican governors have already come after me. And I’ll be there to compete.

So in other words you’ll put your own money in to match whatever special interest money is coming in on the other side?

I’ll do enough to compete.

So would you put $2 million in? Do you have a cap what you would put in?

No, I don’t think about it that way. But I’m going to try and make sure that this is a grassroots campaign.

So then why not run in the public financing process? So why not swear off special interest money, not put your own money in and rely completely on the people?

I don’t take from PACs [political action committees]. I’m not doing lobbyists.

So you’re rejecting those contributions?

I am. I did last time.

So you will run by the rules of public financing? You just won’t accept public money, and you’ll put your own money in?

That’s correct.

So why not believe in the people to carry you all the way there? Why do you need to put your own money in? To counter the special interest money you expect the Republicans are going to put in?

This is going to be a crossroads election. Let me tell you. The amount of red money coming in from Washington and RGA [Republican Governors Association], Koch Brothers, they want to turn Connecticut red. They really want to do it. They want this to be a state not of Connecticut values, but Trump values. And I’m going to stand up and make sure that never happens.

So you’re going to do a combination of small donations and your own, but not special interest money. How much of your own money did you have to put in in 2006 and 2010?

I can’t remember exactly.


We had to compete with Joe Lieberman dollar for dollar going in. Dan [Malloy] had public financing; he had some additional money coming in. I didn’t exactly have the state party working with me then. I’m not sure about now. So there were a lot of other factors.

So ballpark, how much did you put in? Linda MacMahon put $50 million in each [U.S. Senate] campaign [in 2010 and 2012].

Oh, I put in a small fraction of that total.


In the race for governor? Probably eight or nine.

Eight or nine million?


And how about Senate [in ‘06]

I don’t care. I care about the fact that we made people stand up. Democrats got proud. We opposed that war in Iraq. We elected a president named Barack Obama who ended our front-line role. I was proud of every moment of that campaign.

Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for the full interview with gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”

WNHH interviews with other gubernatorial candidates:


Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear the full “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Luke Bronin on WNHH FM. Click here to read an article about the interview.


Click on or download the above audio file or Facebook Live video below to listen to the full interview with Joe Ganim. Click here to read an article about the interview.


Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for an interview with Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Dita Bhargava on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.”Click on or download the above audio file or on the Facebook Live video to below to hear an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Handler on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program. Click here for a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Prasad Srinivasan on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.” Click here to read a story about that interview.Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear a WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Obsitnik. Click here to read a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to hear a previous WNHH FM “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Ganim. Click here for a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to a an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program; and click here to read a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to hear an interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew; and click here to read a story about the interview.

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posted by: ebw1957 on February 1, 2018  11:39am

I can’t imagine a worse choice.

posted by: Ozzie on February 1, 2018  12:50pm

After the Malloy administration I can’t see how anybody could vote Democratic in this State . That’s why Malloy’s Lt. Governor won’t run She knows She has no chance.  Not to mention that all the Dem’s want to do is tax you to death . Time for people to wake up and give the other party s shot

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on February 1, 2018  3:07pm


Your party (Republican) just voted to add 1.5 trillion to the national debt.  Not to mention your policies to destroy families. 

Under the Reagan and poppa Bush’s successive administrations, they left the country in serious financial ruin with there spurious “trickle down economics theory.”  It took Democratic President Bill Clinton to balanced the budget without one Republican vote for his budget to clean up their mess.  Fast forward to today ... when GW left office our country was in a financial mess again.  And again It took another Democratic President in Barack Obama to bail us out. Let’s not be confused, the economy that we’re experiencing today, is a direct result of HIS policies and certainly not that of Trump.

With an aforementioned track record as I outlined, are you want to continue being a Republican?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 1, 2018  5:21pm

The Democratic Party for gubernatorial races is DOA.And if they run Joe Ganim.They are also DOA.

posted by: 1644 on February 2, 2018  7:29am

Brian: Must one support the same party on on all levels?  Why can’t we distinguish federal from state from local, and vote for the best candidates at each level, regardless of party?  It’s pretty silly to hold Connecticut Republicans responsible for actions on the federal level when Connecticut Republicans have no federal representatives.  I disagree whole heartedly with Josh Elliot, and believe his policies are unworkable, but a least he concentrates on state level policies, not federal.  We have serious issues at the state level, and I haven’t seen many serious proposals for dealing with them from any candidate from any party, although some seem better than others. Right now, the least serious candidate may be Toni Boucher, who says she will immediately eliminate the state income tax, a tax that generates roughly half of state revenues.  Is there a Democrat out there whose solution is not soak the rich?  I guess Lamont’s plan is soak the middle class by broadening the sales tax and enacting tolls, but both those actions may need Congressional action. ( In any case, I pay tax on Amazon and LL Bean purchases already.)

posted by: Ozzie on February 2, 2018  8:57am

@ BJ I never said I was a Republican you assumed I was and you know what they say about assuming things . But while you brought up the economy I guess you want to blame Jodi Rell and the Rowland administrations for all the businesses and people that continue to flee the State since 2012. It can’t be because the Dems keep taxing us to death so they can keep having all their give away programs and provide welfare assistance to people.
  I can’t imagine why ( say ) a single mother of 2 would want to get a job . In 2013 the Hartford Courant ran an article called “ Welfare can make more sense then work “ where that mother of 2 could apply for 7 welfare assistance programs which total over $38,000 a year , which breaks down to about a $ 21 dollar an hour a job . The article also goes on to say that Connecticut ranks 4th only behind Massachusetts, Hawaii and The District of Columbia ( all run by the Dems ) in Welfare assistance . And just to let you know that 40 percent of the Rhode Island’s State ( another one run by the Dems ) budget goes to Welfare and they’re not even On that list . So how much of Connecticut’s budget goes to Welfare , hmm Maybe the Dems should address that but I doubt it.
In closing   I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little tired of paying for other people not to work when I’ve been working since I’ve been 14 years old and I’m now in my sixties . But then again that’s just me !!! have a great weekend 😁👍

posted by: JCFremont on February 2, 2018  8:58am

Ah the Lamont’s good old money types, blue blood’s family’s fortune goes back to the Gilded Age another good old Democrat Wall Street Dynasty. I’m sure if Mr. Lamont where more to the right The Independent would have not waited to paragraph nine to give a brief mention of his one percenter statues, toney residence and his business career. What? no mention of the size of his house? Where he vacations a vacation? The tailoring of his suit? How much profit he made on the sale of his company? We won’t even mention his wife’s career? Anyway, the democrats have a interesting field so far with Lamont joining a 21st century John Lindsay, a convicted fraudster and a couple of careerists from the usual suspects list one who’s name we know because of Connecticut’s annual election day voting booth problems.

posted by: Razzie on February 2, 2018  1:19pm


You need to check your facts and your sourcing.

You are referencing an Op-ed opinion piece written by a Michael Tanner, who is described as “Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., and author of “Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican”

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute states that it favors policies “that are consistent with the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, and peace.”

It is a bit misleading to try and pass the piece off as an unbiased news article coming from main street news media.

I haven’t done the numbers, but these are the “welfare” benefits that comprise Mr. Tanner’s study:  (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, housing assistance, utility assistance and free commodities). I note that several of those categories are mutually exclusive, and many are federal benefits. Thus his “State Welfare total” is extremely misleading. It is not OK to claim that CT is overspending on benefits due to federal eligibility benefit mandates.

posted by: Ozzie on February 2, 2018  4:28pm

@Razzie. So what your saying the media was printing fake news back in 2013 . I can’t believe it 😂

posted by: 1644 on February 3, 2018  6:10pm

Razzie/Ozzie:  Yes, one should look at underlying biases, but casting aspersions on the messenger doesn’t invalidate the message.  Moreover, if most of these benefits are federal, than there would be little variation by state.  Yet, there is, and Connecticut’s relative rank, rather than the absolute value, of its welfare programs, is the important factor.  I know of several people who have examined welfare systems in every state, and decided to move to Connecticut because Connecticut is the most generous.  One person moved form California.  People with RAP specifically want oil heat, rather than gas, because the state has programs that pay for heating oil, even when people are getting a highly subsidized rent.  RAP itself is a state program, an addition to the federal section 8 program.  Our Medicaid lists are also very high, designed to enroll the a large number, put few if any limits on care, and cost zero.  The recent legislative reversal, itself reversed,  of a 2010 increase in Medicaid eligible for elderly and disabled shows how generous Connecticut is.  The income eligibility levels are far higher than most, and there is no asset test at all. One could also look at the state EITC, which, as a refundable credit, operates as a wage subsidy.
It no surprise that those moving out of CT have far higher income than those moving in.