Winfield Backs Zimmerman

More trouble appeared on the horizon Thursday morning for the fledgling Lamont-Bysiewicz Democratic gubernatorial ticket, as a prominent African-American state senator from New Haven endorsed a Latina challenger for lieutenant governor.

The state senator, Gary Winfield, told the Independent that he has decided to drop his bid to become lieutenant governor. Instead, he said, he is endorsing Newtown labor organizer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman in her quest for the position.

Winfield and many other urban Democrats of color— as well as white Democrats — blasted frontrunning Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont this week for choosing his former opponent Susan Bysiewicz as his running mate as lieutenant governor candidate. They said they had been led to believe that Lamont would pick a person of color as his running mate, since the Democrats have never had a black or Latino on the ticket before; both Lamont and Bysiewicz are white.  Lamont promised to appoint many people of color to positions if elected. (Read about that here.)

In an interview Thursday morning, Winfield praised Zimmerman’s experience at the state Capitol. He also said it’s time that the Democratic ticket reflect the diversity of the party and of Connecticut at large.

“I am supporting Eva. I’ve been having a conversation way before this about Connecticut looks like, what state government looks like, what leadership in state government looks like. It is important that my two little kids see it is possible for people of all walks of life be able to be in government all the way up to governor and lieutenant governor,” said Winfield, the father of newborn twins.

“I don’t think you make the fuss I made about it and say, ‘It’s not me, so I’ll jump on board.”’

A potential black-brown coalition promises to shake up what had started looking like a coronation at this weekend’s state Democratic Party convention for the Lamont-Bysiewicz ticket.

“This is awesome. You see someone as someone traditionally representing the black community linking up with” a Latina, Winfield said.  “The conversation that we can’t work together doesn’t appear true.”

Winfield was asked if Zimmerman, an organizer with he Service Employees International Union who has never held state elected office, has the experience to serve as lieutenant governor, who is next in line to become governor.

He responded that she has proved herself as a lobbyist at the Capitol as well as a member of working boards and commissions.

“She has deep relationships in the building. Moving policy means having those relationships.” He has worked with her on campaigns, on panels. “We’ve come to know who she is.”

The General Assembly named Zimmerman Latina Citizen of the Year for her work helping people sign up for Connecticut’s Obamacare program. (The current lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, made overseeing the board of the program, Access HealthCT, a focus of her tenure.)

“I’m comfortable that Eva would learn as lieutenant governor and work with people,” Winfield said. “We talk about qualifications — but nobody walks in understanding how to be state representative, let alone governor. A lot of it has to do with relationships. As competent as [Gov. Dannel P.] Malloy was, it [his strained personal relationships"made it difficult to get things done. Over time, she would do a good job.”

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 17, 2018  8:43am

Here we go again.Taking the Back seat.I will say it again.It is time for us to for Blacks and Latinos to form our own party.

posted by: 1644 on May 17, 2018  9:05am

From CT Mirror:
Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, who considered a run for lieutenant governor last year before his wife got pregnant with twins, said he was unlikely to seek the nomination Saturday, citing parental responsibilities. He also questioned the wisdom of fighting to become an unwelcome running mate.

“Is it worth it to go through all of this to be with someone who not expressed an interest in me being on that ticket?” Winfield said.

Heck, at least publicly , it has only been a week since Winfield expressed interest in the position.  At least Bermudez has been campaigning for the position, unlike Winfield or Susan B, although the same “not wanted” logic applies to Bermudez.  The convention will be interesting, since the votes for Gov & Lt Gov are separate, and Lt Gov comes after Gov.  Would Susan or Eva primary if not selected?  The Republicans will be chopping each other up until August.  Do the Democrats want to join in the fun?  If Eva did win, would urban voters really feel someone from Newtown understood their issues?

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on May 17, 2018  9:55am

I have no love for Bysiewicz, but with massive State budget deficits looming for years if not decades going forward — is now a great time to put a labor organizer on the gubernatorial ticket? I mean it is not as if Lamont/whoever is actually favored to win.

Otherwise the storyline is pretty delicious. (The delegates giving the endorsement to someone else, forcing Susie B to primary, or disappear.)

posted by: Commontater on May 17, 2018  9:57am

Playing the “race” card is a dumb idea for Democrats in choosing the next Governor of CT. I voted for Obama for President (twice) not because he was a person of color nor in spite of his being a person of color. I voted for him because he was the best person for the job. The people who are the top leaders of our state and country should be chosen because of merit, not because of quota systems. Sometimes those people may be white and sometimes of other colors. I haven’t decided whom I will vote for in CT yet, but race and/or color are not appealing arguments to me.

posted by: NeoHavener on May 17, 2018  10:28am

Really hard to imagine Zimmerman not getting the Working Families Party line of the ballot. I know Bysiewicz sought WFP endorsement as a gubernatorial candidate, but what about Lt. Gov.?

posted by: alycia on May 17, 2018  10:32am

Eva grew up in Hartford and her family is from Puerto Rico. (Her father was just displaced back to CT after the hurricane.) Eva’s and her siblings were plantiffs in Sheff v. O’Neill.  She has deep knowledge of and experience living in our urban communities. And now, living in Newtown, she has a unique perspective of suburban issues, and urban vs. suburban gun violence. Adding to this, she is an amazing labor organizer, fighting for families to have fair wages and good benefits. She’s an excellent choice!

posted by: Noteworthy on May 17, 2018  11:24am

Spite Notes:

1. Let the unions unite.

2. Zimmerman is the least qualified of any candidate. Where has she been on the issues? Where is her voice and “wisdom” on matters of state government, budget etc.? She’s a novice at best not just because she hasn’t served in office. I’m not big on that credential. But you have to be engaged in these issues before just showing up.

3. This is a spite endorsement. And a poor one.

4. As for why Sen. Winfield is not running for LT. Gov - his FB post is meandering and then untruthful. Another version of “I’m going to stay home with my family…” uh, yeah.

posted by: Bohica on May 17, 2018  11:25am

Oh yeah, more of the same.  Exactly what we need a labor organizer to get us out of a budget crunch brought on in part by labor.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on May 17, 2018  11:27am

This isn’t about black involvement or lack there of.  This is about Winfield’s ego or lack there of.  As has been said, Winfield has never had a true competitor for his seat.  And now that he has endorsed another candidate for LT., he has left himself extremely vulnerable should an opponent with decent standing decide to challenge him.  But in NH, for now, he appears safe.

To those who viscerally think that Winfield would make a good Gov. for the State of Connecticut, where’s your proof?  This is the same guy who abandoned his quest to be mayor in midstream, even after he promised his (lovely) late mother that he would go through with it. These were his words not mine. Feel free to fill in the rest.

posted by: JamesBhandary-Alexander on May 17, 2018  12:12pm

Go, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman!  It is excellent to have a fierce, unapologetic advocate for economic, racial and gender justice in the race.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 17, 2018  5:19pm

I want People of Color to Read this.Again this is why Blacks and Latinos must form there own party.
‘There is anger about it, but more importantly
there is disappointment,’ Mauro said.
‘I’m Italian. I get mad and then I get over it.
People can get over being mad faster than disappointment.
I think there will be disappointment at the convention.
Does that disappointment carry over all the way until November? Disappointment is far more dangerous to me
than anger.And this isThe Democratic chairman of New Haven saying this.Code word.Plantation PoliticsTelling you all to stay in your place and do as you are told.