I don't have enough time to do a complete write-up of the 2014 Connecticut State Senate races, but I at least wanted to get my ratings out there. So this diary contains a table of the 36 State Senate races in Connecticut. The table contains the names of the Democratic and Republican candidates for each seat, as well as the largest town in each district, the partisanship of each district, the incumbent's percentage of the vote in 2012 (if the incumbent is running for re-election), and my ratings for each district.
The one and only 25-minute debate between Democratic State Treasurer Denise Nappier and her Republican challenger Tim Herbst wasn't long enough. The two candidates sparred after the debate at NBC Connecticut's West Hartford studio.
Max Reiss, NBC's political reporter who helped moderate the debate, said the two candidates continued their policy discussion after the event, which was livestreamed on NBC's website.
The microphones were silent, but the finger pointing continued in both directions after their closing statements.
While the cameras and microphones were rolling each candidate accused the other of lying about the state's fiscal condition and the state's unfunded pension liabilities.
"We have an obligation to the tens of thousands teachers and state workers all across Connecticut to turn this ship around. To rebound our pension fund. To make sure that our taxpayers aren't on the hook for this huge unfunded liability," Herbst said. "Unfunded liability is code language for future tax increases."
Nappier responded by saying "Tim likes to repeat untruths, but doesn't make it true."
"He wants to blame me for things I have nothing to do with whatsoever," Nappier said. "It's probably easier for him to do that because perhaps he thinks that the voters will not know the difference, but they do know the difference."
Nappier went onto explain that the treasurer can only invest what they receive and historically the governor and the General Assembly have not given her funds to invest.
The latest poll from Quinnipaic on the "who do you dislike less" race for Governor shows the this race is stil up for grabs...and Gov. Malloy's unfavorable numbers are a serious problem.
Men and women likely voters are miles apart, leaving the Connecticut governor's race between Democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley tied 43 - 43 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Independent candidate Joe Visconti has 7 percent, with 6 percent undecided.
This compares to results of an October 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University, showing Gov. Malloy with 43 percent of likely voters to Foley's 42 percent.
Today, with Visconti out of the race, Foley gets 46 percent to Malloy's 45 percent.
In the three-way matchup, independent voters go to Foley over Malloy 48 - 33 percent, with 14 percent for Visconti.
Republicans back Foley 87 - 7 percent, with 4 percent for Visconti. Democrats go to Malloy 82 - 9 percent, with 3 percent for Visconti.
The gender gap remains wide, as Malloy leads Foley 52 - 35 percent among women, with 5 percent for Visconti, while Foley leads Malloy 51 - 34 percent among men, with 10 percent for Visconti.
"The Connecticut governor's race is a fight to the finish between Gov. Dannel Malloy and challenger Tom Foley - and between men and women," said Douglas Schwartz, PhD, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
"Independent candidate Joe Visconti's numbers have edged slightly downward. Not a surprise given that many of his supporters told us they could change their mind. Perhaps we are beginning to see some of those more conservative minded Visconti voters shift to Foley as the election draws near," Dr. Schwartz added.
Just 6 days before the election, 86 percent of Connecticut likely voters who name a candidate say their mind is made up, while 13 percent say they might change their mind. Their minds are made up, say 89 percent of Malloy voters and 90 percent of Foley backers, while 56 percent of Visconti supporters say they might change their mind.
Connecticut likely voters give Foley a split 43 - 43 percent favorability rating, while Malloy gets a negative 41 - 52 percent score. Visconti remains unknown as 75 percent of voters still don't know enough about him to form an opinion,
"Foley's favorability rating has improved. Voters now have a mixed opinion of him after viewing him negatively. Voters' views of Malloy are stable and negative," Schwartz said.
In this case, the issue isn't which major party candidate for governor will do more damage to teachers and public education, but whether the candidates and their supporters are accountable for the rhetoric and claims they make during this campaign season.
The backdrop of the story is that in order to persuade Connecticut's public schools teachers to overlook Governor Dannel "Dan" Malloy's three year record of demeaning, denigrating and bashing teachers and the teaching profession, Malloy's supporters have recently sent out a series of campaign pieces claiming that;
Governor Malloy is the "first governor in Connecticut's history to annually fully fund teacher pensions during his first term in office and guarantee full funding in the future."
The primary problem with the claim is that Malloy had no legal option but too fully fund teacher pensions and furthermore, he deserves absolutely no credit for guaranteeing full funding of the teacher pension system in the future.
The credit for Malloy having successfully made the necessary payments and fully funding the state of Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund actually goes to the Connecticut Education Association, the members of the 2007 General Assembly and Governor Rell.
And while trying to inappropriately take credit for something he did not do, Malloy and his supporters conveniently overlook the fact that, as governor, Malloy has taken dramatic actions that have actually jeopardized the financial stability of the fund that helps pay for health insurance premiums for retired teachers.
As was reported in the October 15, 2014 Wait, What? blog entitled, "Teachers misled with claim that Malloy deserves credit for "fully funding teacher pension," Governor Malloy had no option but to fully fund teacher pensions. In fact, had Tom Foley been elected in November 2010 instead of Dannel Malloy, he too would have been required to make those same payments.
The reason Malloy or Foley would have been required to fully fund the teacher pension system is a result of a 2007 law that authorized the state of Connecticut to borrow $2.3 million and use those funds to address the historic underfunding of the Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund.
The law not only required the state to make any and all necessary payments for the next 25 years, but that requirement was made iron-clad when the language was added to the bond covenants the accompanied the bonds when they were sold to Wall Street investors.
As previously noted the proposal to safeguard the teacher pension fund was pushed by the Connecticut Education Association, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rell.
But seven years later, the Malloy political operation has been attempting to mislead teachers into believing that it was none-other-than Malloy who deserved the credit for something that took place before he even became governor.
Today, in a CTMirror article entitled, Fact check: Who really protected teacher pension funding? the truth about this whole controversy is laid out.
Since their controversial endorsement of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, leaders of the largest teachers' union in Connecticut have portrayed the governor as the defender of what teachers worry about most: the future of their pensions.
But while touting Malloy as the first governor to "fully fund" the long-neglected pension system, the leadership message of the Connecticut Education Association doesn't mention that Malloy had little choice but to do so. His hands effectively were tied by legal guarantees put in place by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the 2007 legislature.
Each of the four budgets Malloy signed during his term does include the full pension contribution recommended by teachers' pension analysts. Connecticut governors and legislatures have a history of contributing significantly less than the full amount.
That changed, though, in 2007, when lawmakers and Rell adopted a proposal from Treasurer Denise L. Nappier to borrow roughly $2 billion and deposit it into the cash-starved pension fund.
Connecticut promised in the bond covenant - its contract with investors who bought those bonds - to budget the full pension contribution required by analysts for the entire 25-year life of the bonds.
The CT Mirror story should be required reading for every Connecticut teacher and for all of those who follow the politics that surround Connecticut's State Budget.
If jobs and economy are your priorities, Rep. Courtney is your guy. He has effectively used his position on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, part of the House Committee on Armed Services, to make the case for submarine construction. It resulted this year in the largest shipbuilding contract in history, $17.6 billion to construct 10 Virginia-class attack submarines at Electric Boat in Groton and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia over the next five years.
The deal should sustain a well-paid workforce of about 12,000 at EB. The state Office of Military Affairs estimates that 600 supply companies will continue to feed into the shipbuilding program.
Despite Ms. Hopkins-Cavanagh's contention that he is a "one-trick pony," the reality is that Rep. Courtney's office has led several trade missions to help manufacturers in the district tap foreign markets. With a bipartisan push locally, Rep. Courtney led a successful effort to land a highly competitive $8.2 million federal transportation grant. When combined with state and private contributions, it will pay for rebuilding the New England Central rail. The line ties into the Port of New London. Improving the capacity of the tracks to handle heavier freight loads will provide economic opportunities for the port and throughout the heart of the 2nd District.
On the topic of education, the incumbent congressman received national attention for his work to reach across the aisle and prevent a big increase in Stafford student loan interest rates for college students.
Rep. Courtney is politically moderate and willing to take a principled stance. Earlier in his career, he opposed the massive Wall Street bailout. His fear of a lack of safeguards on use of the money proved prescient. More recently, he voted to support the administration's plan to confront the Islamic State, while other members of the state congressional delegation ran for cover with "no" votes.
He is willing to seek compromise, but has not often found willing partners among the Republican majority in control of the House. For example, while a supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the best means available to assure access to health care insurance in this country, he recognizes improvements are needed, but House Republicans only want to repeal the law, not try to fix it.
The choice in this election could not be clearer. We urge voters to re-elect our endorsed candidate, Rep. Joe Courtney.
STAMFORD, Conn. - Entering the race for State Senate in April, Ted Kennedy Jr., the son of a United States senator and the nephew of a president, denounced the way "money pollutes the political process," and pledged to respect Connecticut's fledgling system of public campaign finance.
Built into the system is the assumption that candidates will stay within the limits of the state's financing, meaning roughly $109,000 in spending for a State Senate race.
But filings by the state's Democratic Party on Friday show that it has poured money into the race on behalf of the first-time candidate through a loophole inserted in the state's campaign finance law last year. Lawmakers in Hartford removed the cap on how much of any particular campaign's costs can be picked up by state party organizations; previously, the limit had been set at $10,000. In the same bill, lawmakers also raised what individuals could give the state party, to $10,000 from $5,000.
According to the filings, Mr. Kennedy, a Democrat, had received $207,000 in financial support from the Democratic State Central Committee by Oct. 16. The filings also indicate that Mr. Kennedy's relatives and business associates have contributed at least $88,000 to the party organization over the same period.
Spokesmen both for Mr. Kennedy's campaign and for the state's Democratic Party insisted that they had followed all laws and regulations. "We've done nothing wrong," John Murphy, Mr. Kennedy's campaign manager, said on Friday. He said Mr. Kennedy had raised money for the state party before and "this is nothing different." He added, "There is no quid pro quo."
The $207,000 windfall has nonetheless allowed Mr. Kennedy's campaign to tap a squad of professional political consultants and pollsters that would otherwise have set the campaign back $111,000, filings show. He also has the benefit of extras such as $500 worth of recently ordered T-shirts for the home stretch.
Tom Swan, executive director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group, a watchdog organization, said, "There's never been that level of outside money in a state legislative race." He added that he did not believe "there was a need for that level of spending."
"But if you're working on a campaign," he said, "you'll do everything you can to win because the changes in the law make it legal."