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Let’s talk about electability

May 10, 2018 By Mike Handler
Let’s talk about electability

The Stamford CFO and gubernatorial candidate makes a case for electability in this exclusive op-ed.

Some of the best advice I’ve been given in politics has been this: you judge your success in an election campaign, not by any metric that your supporters will share with you, but by the look on your opponent’s face when they hear a voter say your name.

Well, if somebody had told me a year ago that I’d be celebrating being attacked by the Democratic Party, I’d have been pretty surprised. But that’s exactly how I reacted when I saw that I’d been singled out for attack not once, but three times by the Connecticut Democrats – two of which were by Governor Malloy himself. I clearly got under their skin.

Electability is one of the most important issues of this election campaign but unfortunately also is one of the least discussed. Too often in our Republican Party we choose our candidates and, in doing so, hand victory to the Democrats in November.

So I’m asking every Republican involved in the process of vetting and choosing our nominee for Governor to challenge the candidates on this issue: in a state where Republicans make up just 21 percent of voters, how will you win?

It’s very easy for politicians to claim to be electable. So I urge you – cut through the rhetoric and the hollow claims and ask for hard proof, for a track record of having earned the support of voters from outside our Republican Party. For my part, I know that I am the candidate who will beat the Democrat in the fall, and here’s my evidence.

I make the Democrats worried. I am the only Republican candidate to have been attacked by Governor Malloy not once, but twice, as well as by the state Democratic Party in a statewide mailing. Why am I being singled out? Because the Democrats know that I am the candidate most likely to win in November and that I’m the candidate most qualified to dismantle their legacy in Hartford.

I’ve proven an ability to win support from outside our party. I’m proud to be one of just four Republicans who have filed their application for pre-qualification for the Citizen’s Election Program – and with over 3,000 small donations from across our state. One-third of those donations came from registered Republicans, one-third from independents and one-third from Democrats. I’m not only winning bipartisan support, but Democratic and independent voters are investing in my message and my campaign.

I am not a career politician or a bored businessperson. I’m a qualified outsider who left a successful career as a senior investment manager on Wall Street 11 years ago to pursue my true passion, public service. Since then I’ve kept families safe as volunteer Director of Emergency Management for New Canaan, and I’ve fixed Dan Malloy’s fiscal mess as Stamford’s CFO. To me, our problems aren’t academic and their solutions aren’t theoretical. There’s a reason that I’ve produced the most detailed, comprehensive plan of any candidate for governor from either party. I’ve spent the last six years fixing the exact same problems, created by the exact same team, that now face our state. I know what needs to be done and I’m ready to clean up after Governor Malloy, for the second time in my career.

As a result, “The Handler Effect” is already taking place today. All across Connecticut, voters who know my record as Stamford’s CFO, who understand my commitment to public service, who know that I’m not running to be governor, I’m running to do the job of governor, are changing their affiliation to join our party and support my candidacy.

This election is too important for us to repeat the mistakes of the past. The current fiscal crisis we face in our state will pale in comparison with the economic catastrophe we would face if a Democrat were elected as our next governor. It’s time to talk about electability, and I hope in the final days before the convention, it’s a topic that every candidate gives some serious thought to.

Mike Handler is a Republican candidate for governor.

Op-eds represent the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the editorial views of Reclaim Connecticut. If you’re interested in submitting an op-ed to Reclaim Connecticut, contact Andrew Lautz (alautz@reclaimct.com).