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CLOSING ARGUMENT: Mike Handler, Candidate for Governor

May 8, 2018 By Staff
CLOSING ARGUMENT: Mike Handler, Candidate for Governor

The CFO of Stamford thinks he has the right blend of business and public-sector experience to both win in the fall and put the state back on the right track.

“I’ve actually rolled up my sleeves and actually done the work,” Mike Handler told Reclaim Connecticut last week. “I’ve actually cleaned up Dan Malloy’s mess in Stamford the last [few] years.”

Handler’s financial work in Stamford, where Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) used to be mayor, and his private sector experience is, in his opinion, what’s “gonna carry the day.”

“I’ve proven myself apt at working across the aisle,” Handler said.

We checked in with Handler as part of Reclaim Connecticut’s ongoing “Closing Argument” series, where candidates competing at May’s statewide conventions – and, potentially, August’s primaries – have a chance to make their case to convention delegates and voters.

15 PERCENT

A candidate has to earn the support of 15 percent of the delegates at the convention to automatically qualify for the August primary. If he or she doesn’t hit 15 percent, they can petition their way onto the primary ballot, though it can be a long and expensive process. Whoever earns 50 percent of delegates’ votes, after any number of rounds of voting, wins the party endorsement.

Handler believes in the “convention process,” he told Reclaim Connecticut, but indicated he’ll be on the primary ballot in August regardless.

“I am committed to the convention process. I think it does an important job vetting candidates,” Handler said. “I feel good going into the convention. There’s no way around the fact that we’re going to have a primary.”

“It’s going to be an interesting convention to say the least,” Handler added, “and I anticipate being in a primary come August.”

NON-PARTISAN

Handler talked of going to convention, this weekend at Foxwoods, and into August’s GOP primary, with a non-partisan message.

“The state of Connecticut is not suffering from a partisan problem,” Handler said. “It’s suffering from a fiscal problem. I don’t think there’s a candidate on either side that holds a candle to my experience.”

Handler noted he was “kept on by a Democrat” as chief financial officer (CFO) of Stamford, and that he’s “gotten fireworks from the governor” for his claims about cleaning up Malloy’s mess in the city.

“That’s generally viewed as a very good sign,” Handler concluded. “[Democrats] know I’m a threat in the general election.”

ACTION PLAN

Last week, Handler gave Reclaim Connecticut an exclusive early look at his 11-point “action plan” for the state, which he’ll take with him to the convention. We covered it here.

Handler talked a bit about the action plan in our interview.

“People don’t recognize that based on the reforms I made in Stamford six years ago,” Handler said, “today Stamford is a leading driver of new business formation in the entire state.”

“Who can actually return a sense of comfort in every taxpayer in the state of Connecticut, that the state is actually doing the right thing?” Handler asked. “It’s not about personalities or promised jobs.”

What is it about then? “A sustainable path,” Handler concluded. That’s the argument he’ll take into the convention on Saturday.