GOP-Endorsed Gray on Convention Win, Primary Battle With Linares, and the Hartford BailoutMay 21, 2018
Reclaim Connecticut spoke to Thad Gray, the GOP-endorsed candidate for treasurer who's headed for a tough primary battle with State Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook).
Investment professional Thad Gray narrowly won the endorsement of the Connecticut Republican Party last weekend, defeating State Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) by a handful of votes. It was the closest two-person race at the CT GOP convention in Foxwoods.
Reclaim Connecticut spoke to Gray late last week about his narrow convention win, the upcoming primary fight with Linares, the Hartford bailout, and more.
HOW HE WON
Reclaim Connecticut asked Gray how he won, in a contest where every delegate vote mattered.
“I got an early start in the process,” Gray said. “I’ve been talking to delegates and other party leaders since May of 2017. I got a head start. And I was never exploring for any other office.”
Gray also credited his team for the win.
“I put together an absolutely fabulous team of people to run my campaign,” Gray said. “Three of the four people on that team are women. I think that is unique in state politics. I think I’m the only candidate who had a team run by women.”
Overall, though, Gray said delegates are ready for “change in Hartford,”
“The reason we won is that the rank and file in the party were ready for change in Hartford,” the endorsed candidate for treasurer said. “And my message of ‘experience matters’ resonated with those people.”
Linares, who only lost by a thin margin, is challenging Gray in a primary. Gray did not seem fazed, and said he would “put out a message about myself” this summer.
“I’m gonna put out a message about myself,” Gray said of the primary. “And it’s gonna be the same message, which is that I have the experience to do the job on day one.”
“I don’t believe that any of the other candidates from either party do,” Gray added.
DITCHING THE BAILOUT
Reclaim Connecticut asked Gray why he believes voters should care so much about the treasurer’s race this fall, even though it will receive much less attention than the gubernatorial contest.
“The example that I always cite is the Hartford bailout,” Gray said.
“If Denise Nappier hadn’t signed the contract that was basically underpinning the Hartford bailout, it wouldn’t have gone forward. The treasurer had the ability to veto that deal. That’s a perfect example, because that bailout led to almost an immediate downgrade in our state’s credit rating, which will cost our taxpayers tens of millions of dollars [of interest].”
That was just one of two reasons Gray gave. The second?
“The second reason it’s important is that the state treasurer has control of over $30 billion of pension assets. And those assets are protecting the retirement security of more than 200,000 people over this entire state. I spent the bulk of my career doing mostly that, leading investment decisions that affected the pension assets of probably over two million pension beneficiaries around the United States. So my experience, my professional experience, is directly relevant to the job.”
The need for leadership on those two broad issues is why Gray thinks it’s so important for Republicans to unite around his candidacy.
“I think it’s time for Republicans to unify, particularly in the under-ticket races,” Gray said. “While we can’t avoid a primary for the gubernatorial race, a primary for the under-ticket offices is gonna be expensive for taxpayers. And that’s a shame.”
Gray and Linares face off in August.
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