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ANALYSIS: CT GOP Convention Preview: It’s Still All About Dan Malloy

May 11, 2018 By Staff
ANALYSIS: CT GOP Convention Preview: It’s Still All About Dan Malloy

As Republicans prepare to endorse candidates for statewide offices this weekend, Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) is expected to be a common, and frequent, theme for all attending.

Tolls. Taxes. Pension reform. Ned Lamont. One-party rule.

These are all topics that will come up, in some way, shape, or form, at the CT GOP convention this Friday and Saturday at Foxwoods.

One topic, though, will be heard above the rest, as candidates make their cases to 1,000-plus delegates attending the casino this weekend: Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.).

LEAST POPULAR

An April survey, measuring voters’ thoughts on their governors in all 50 states of the nation, found Malloy is the least popular governor in the nation, by a longshot.

Moving on from Malloy’s eight years – which Republicans argue was full of high taxes, stagnant growth, and challenges for Connecticut families and businesses – will be the unifying theme of the CT GOP convention.

As Ned Lamont emerges as the frontrunner for Connecticut Democrats – they’ll hold their convention next weekend – anticipate some GOP candidates making the case that Lamont is the third term of Malloy, and must be stopped. Two frontrunners for the CT GOP already did that, in exclusive interviews with Reclaim Connecticut this week.

BUT WHO TO CHOOSE?

Of course, the convention will not be all rainbows and unity. After all, ten gubernatorial candidates are competing for the 15 percent of delegates needed to automatically qualify for August’s Republican primary. Under this year’s rules, anyone falling short of eight percent will be automatically knocked off the ballot.

Reclaim Connecticut has learned that Mayor Mark Boughton (R-Danbury) and former First Selectman Tim Herbst (R-Trumbull) have likely secured 15 percent already. We also know, from Reclaim Connecticut interviews, that businessmen David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski are petitioning onto the August ballot.

Who else makes it to August is a mystery. Peter Lumaj, a businessman and pro-Trump candidate, has a following. Dave Walker has run for statewide office before. Mayor Mark Lauretti (R-Shelton) has a conservative record to stand on, and Mayor Erin Stewart (R-New Britain) is a young star in the party.

And don’t sleep on three others – businessman Steve Obsitnik, Stamford CFO Mike Handler, and Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) – who have all been campaigning hard, and who all told Reclaim Connecticut they’re feeling good about this weekend.

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE

But something’s gotta give. It’s mathematically impossible for each gubernatorial candidate this weekend to earn 15 percent on the first ballot.

Barring some extraordinary ballot-switching, at least four of the 10 candidates competing this weekend are going home without 15 percent. Stefanowski and Stemerman have both indicated to Reclaim Connecticut they don’t expect to hit the mark. Boughton and Herbst, on the other hand, likely have 15 percent.

That leaves seven candidates – Srinivasan, Obsitnik, Handler, Walker, Lauretti, Stewart, and Lumaj – whose status is up in the air.

Of those seven, only Obsitnik and Walker confirmed to Reclaim Connecticut that, if they don’t hit 15 percent, they’ll call it a campaign.

No matter what happens to these seven, and no matter how they respond to the events of the convention, there will be a contested primary in the months ahead.

But, as mentioned above, a stronger focus for the candidates may be Malloy, rather than the differences between the GOP candidates. Reclaim Connecticut readers have indicated time and time again that a completely different approach from Malloy is what matters most to them.