<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:30:54 -0400 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:30:54 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Tactic Pushing Voter Turnout Irks Voters]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:19:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vote+flier.jpg

With the latest Quinnipiac Poll putting the governor's race at a dead heat, both political parties are putting out all the stops.

But some voters say they're going too far.

"Instead of this being an attack on another candidate, this was an attack on me and my privacy," said Mansfield Center resident Paul Veilleux.

Veilleux, a U.S. Army veteran, said that when he checked his mail on Thursday, he couldn't believe what he saw. Inside was a letter from the Connecticut Democratic Party that Veilleux said came across like a veiled threat.

"I believe it is our responsibility, everybody's responsibility to vote, not just our right, but this is ridiculous," said Veilleux.

The letter reads, "We're sending this mailing to you and your neighbors to publicize who does and does not vote."

You can see the name and street numbers are hidden, but the voting records for Veilleux and neighbors are clear as day. At the bottom it says if you don't vote this year, party officials will be "disappointed."

"Shaming someone into voting, but not just voting, voting in a particular way because they say they may call and they're going to check," said Veilleux.

Voting records are public but how you vote is not. NBC Connecticut reached out to the state Democratic party and they sent the following statement in response:

"The foundation of our democracy is a citizens' right to vote – and it's our hope that every Democrat exercises that fundamental right on Tuesday. While Tom Foley wants to restrict access to voting to protect his $5 million yacht, two million-dollar-fighter jets, seven-bedroom mansion, and zero percent tax rate, we believe every registered voter should show up to the polls."

State Republicans are also sending out their own mailers. NBC Connecticut was emailed an example of one which informs voters they've missed previous elections that the public can see who votes and who doesn't.

In a statement, campaign officials for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said they "hope that everybody who has the right to vote exercises that right on November 4th."

"This is not good politics. This is not positive politics," said Dr. Paul Petterson, political science professor and chairman at Central Connecticut State University.

Experts said it's not only manipulative but disappointing. It's a trend that's been seen across the country, but Veilleux says it's not the right way to do it.

"Reminding folks to vote, that's great, but don't try to look over my shoulder with what I'm doing," said Veilleux.

Veilleux said the mailer will in no way impact whether he votes or how, but that it does have him wanting to talk to politicians about the tactic.

Other experts have called this sort of strategy a "hail mary" that can significantly increase voter turnout, which is what both sides are desperate for Nov. 4.

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<![CDATA[What Happened After the Treasurer's Debate?]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:17:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nappier+herbst+treasurer+debate.jpg

The spirited debate between Democratic state Treasurer Denise Nappier and Republican challenger Tim Herbst continued after their time was up Thursday night, leading many online viewers to question what transpired between the heated political rivals while the credits rolled.

Raw video from the end of the debate shows the two passionately arguing their policies as they left the NBC Connecticut studios Thursday evening.

Tune into NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014" for more on the debate and the tension between Nappier and Herbst this Sundy at 10 a.m.


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<![CDATA[New Jersey Governor to Make 5th Trip to Connecticut]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:43:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/christie+foley.jpg

Just days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's fourth trip to Connecticut to stump for GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, the Republican Governors Assocation has announced that Christie will make a fifth and final trip to the state the day before the polls open.

Christie will travel to Windsor Locks on Monday, Nov. 3 to attend a rally for Foley, according to the Republican Governors Association. The two will meet at 5:15 p.m. at Bobby V's Restaurant and Bar on Schoephoester Road.

It's the New Jersey governor's fifth and final appearance alongside Foley in the days leading up to the election.

Christie appeared alongside Foley at a rally in Groton on Tuesday and has previously appeared alongside the Republican candidate in Stamford and Greenwich.

Foley hopes to unseat incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy in next Tuesday's election. The latest Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday shows the two in a dead heat, each drawing 43 percent of the vote, with unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti pulling



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Treasurer Candidates Trade Jabs in Only Debate of Election]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:27:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nappier+herbst+treasurer+debate.jpg

Tempers flared at the only debate between the four-term Democratic state treasurer and her Republican challenger, who each accused the other of making false claims and lying to the public.

Incumbent Treasurer Denise Nappier squared off Wednesday night against GOP candidate and Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst at the NBC Connecticut studios Wednesday night.

"My job is all about the money, about maximizing investment return while minimizing risk. It's about reducing the cost of government," Nappier explained at the beginning of the debate, when asked why voters should care about this race. "Every dollar saved by the treasurer's office is a dollar the state does not have to collect from taxpayers."

Herbst brought up the question of retirement savings and said Standard & Poors has rated Connecticut as having the "second most underfunded pension fund in the country." He added that the state has also been ranked in the bottom 50th percentile of return on investments.

"Here in Connecticut, we have an obligation to honor the commitments we've made to our retirees while at the same time reducing the burden to the taxpayer," Herbst said. "We're clearly not performing where we should be."

Nappier defended her record and said her administration has "done that well," citing the more than $19 billion generated since she took office in 1999.

"We are now at an all-time high. The market value of our assets is $30 billion; that is the largest ever in history," she said. Nappier added that "the treasurer can only invest what she receives" and that Herbst has been blaming her for things beyond her control.

It wasn't long before the debate got personal.

"Tim likes to repeat untruths. But it doesn't make it true. The fact remains that he wants to blame me for things that I have nothing to do with whatsoever," Nappier explained. "To the extent that I have had those funds and could invest them, we’re doing extremely well."

Herbst challenged that statement, alleging that the pension fund was stable Nappier took office and has declined over the years during her administration.

"We're not getting it done and the proof is in the numbers," Herbst said. "This treasurer has not met her own benchmarks and when you're not meeting your own benchmarks, we have a problem. .. Independent economists, financial experts have said we are sitting on a ticking time bomb."

The incumbent said she has met those benchmarks and reiterated the claim that Herbst is blaming her for things that aren't her fault.

Nappier said her administration has saved taxpayers $944 million in city-issued bonds and that the pension fund for the 2014 fiscal year experienced a net increase of $3 billion.

"Our system of pension fund governance is sound," she said. "Those things that I do command, we are doing well, and the reason why he likes to steer the conversation to things that I have no control over is because he knows that we are performing extremely well."

When asked about government transparency, Nappier emphasized the importance of being honest with the public but said she would "absolutely not" sign a petition against a law that makes it harder for the public to access government information. Herbst has already signed that petition.

The candidates' heated exchange lasted beyond the 25 minutes allowed in the debate. The contenders continued their policy disagreements after the cameras stopped rolling.

The two had previously scheduled a debate, but Nappier canceled her appearance due to what her campaign said were personal reasons.


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<![CDATA[West Haven High School Students to Work the Polls]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:56:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+haven+political+volunteers.jpg

Most students in West Haven will stay home from school on Election Day, but for 48 high schoolers, it's a class day.

Students taking Advanced Placement Government and Politics are required to volunteer with a political campaign and work at least two hours when the polls open.

"Doing lit drops, canvassing, making phone calls, doing stuff at headquarters, boiler room activities – that's American politics," said Mark Consorte, who has taught the class since 1997.

When Consorte began teaching, campaign offices would feature banks of telephones. Now a volunteer at the Democratic headquarters in West Haven, student Destiny Halapin uses her own smartphone to make calls.

"It's a lot of talking to the people and trying to be like, 'What are your views here?'" she explained.

Another student, Kendall Griffiths, has worked closely with a Republican candidate for the state legislature in Orange, logging data from the most recent canvassing on a laptop.

"Honestly, even if it wasn't required, I probably would have come out," Griffiths said. "It's just something that I like to do.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Latino Vote Could Swing Governor's Race]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:53:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/5PLATINOSTILL102814MAX00000000.jpg

Gov. Dan Malloy showed Tuesday how crucial it is to court the Latino vote in Connecticut.

He campaigned with Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia-Padillo in several Connecticut cities on Tuesday, including Waterbury, Hartford and New Britain.

"We're looking to increase the turnout," Malloy said during a stop at La Cazuela Restaurant in Waterbury. "Last time around, the turnout was about 6 percent of all voters and we want to get it to 8 percent."

Addi Salazar, who owns the restaurant with her husband, said bringing the governor of Puerto Rico to Waterbury sends a message to the Latino community that the election doesn't just matter to Democrats and Republicans, it matters to everyone.

“Latinos need to come out there and vote," Salazar said. "It’s very important.”

Garcia-Padillo said he anticipates the Latino vote to swing for Malloy purely based on the way the governors were received as they campaigned around some of Connecticut's most densely populated Latino neighborhoods.

"I was able to see Latinos and Americans, veterans, going to him and saying, you know, you got me," Garcia-Padillo explained.

Latinos make up approximately 15 percent of Connecticut's population, according to the most recent U.S. census, and about 10 percent of all registered voters.

Republicans and Democrats are expected to court them aggressively over the final seven days.
 

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<![CDATA[Voters to Decide Ballot Question Next Week]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:28:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/voting+sticker1.jpg

Connecticut voters have the chance next week to drastically change the course of voting laws in the state.

Question 1 will ask voters whether the General Assembly should have the authority to make changes to in-person and absentee voting laws.

The ballot language states, "Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?"

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat who is running for reelection, said the measure could open the door to more liberal voting laws in Connecticut.

"I’m all for having as much access to voting, within reasonable limits, and making sure it’s still secure as possible," Merrill said during an interview Tuesday.

Merrill said Connecticut should look to a progressive state like Oregon for tips on ways to expand voting as a means to increase turnout.

"Oregon has mail-in voting," Merrill explained. "If you voted in the last election, they mail you a ballot, you fill it out, you mail it back. They have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country routinely about 85 percent, and the people of Oregon seem to love it.”

Not all Connecticut politicians think it's the right thing for voters to approve the ballot question.

Rep. Larry Cafero, the House Minority Leader, said he's fine with expanding absentee voting but is afraid that other voting changes could increase the likelihood for voter fraud.

“Is it feasible in this day and age, should they be able to vote outside of one day, 14 hours within one day? Absolutely," Cafero said. "We have that system. It’s called absentee balloting. So why don’t we just expand that system, have no excuses? It’s simpler that way.”

Currently, an absentee ballot can only be awarded if the person has an acceptable reason like illness or plans to be out of the country.

Merrill agreed that there are limits as to where the state could go with new voting techniques and is opposed to the notion of online balloting.

"I don’t think that’s secure but I think anything we can do to increase the accessibility of our elections is a positive," Merrill said.

Cafero said he thinks the measure will fail because there has been no publicity around the proposal.

"I bet you there are four people who know it's on the ballot," Cafero said. "It's not been talked about, it's not been advertised, it's not been promoted one way or the other."
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Differences Show in Gov. Debate]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:01:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Baker+Coakley+Debate.jpg

On Monday, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley showcased their differences in the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate moderated by NECN's Latoyia Edwards at Worcester's Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Coakley addressed reports that she is behind in some polls in a state that has favored Democrats historically; however, earlier Monday, the New York Times placed Coakley with 45 percent in favor of the Democrat and 41 percent in favor of the Republican.

"I believe this race is pretty close right now," Coakley said. "I'm confident we're going to win on Nov. 4."

It didn't take long for the candidates to begin disputing the hot topic of the Massachusetts economy. Baker said that the difference between him and Coakley is he will not raise taxes for the citizens of the Bay State.

"He has a typical Republican playbook of cut taxes for big businesses," Coakley said, adding that she will invest in the people, rather than give breaks to corporations.

Another topic that has the state divided is the question of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics. Baker said he believes it's a great planning exercise, while Coakley supported the plan fully.

"I say go for the gold," Coakley said.

Health care and the problems that Harvard Pilgrim have faced was another point of disagreement. Coakley told Baker that the turnaround resulted in layoffs and lost care, as he made choices Coakley said she would not have made.

"You look at the bottom line and don't see people," Coakley explained.

"So, you don't have any suggestions about how you would have dealt with the problems at Harvard Pilgrim?" Baker asked Coakley, prompting an applause from his supporters.

"That's not the point," Coakley said. "You are always looking at the bottom line, and so that's one example of it."

The candidates soon segued into Baker's quest to seek 100 percent support of Massachusetts voters, specifically the support of women.

"I don't have a group called 'Men for Martha," Coakley shot back. "I look at the people who haven't had a seat at the table."

There were a few questions that Baker and Coakley agreed on in the lightning round, including support of the casino law and the freezing of coalition rates. In addition, both candidates said they will stop running for public office if they lose the 2014 gubernatorial race.

NECN, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Telegram & Gazette and Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts hosted Monday's debate.



Photo Credit: NECN
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<![CDATA[Gun Rights Advocates Push "Get Out the Vote" Efforts]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:14:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ccdl+rally+capitol.jpg

Members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League said on the steps of the Connecticut Capitol on Monday that voters can't stay home next week.

"Our fight is to make sure that we as patriots at least get out to cast that vote," said Sean Maloney, a pro-Second Amendment activist from Ohio. "At least we do the right thing and exercise the rights that have been given to us.”

The CCDL also welcomed an activist who helped to organize the Colorado recall effort last year that led to several major ousters from the Colorado Legislature.

"This is your time, Connecticut," said Timothy Knight, of the Colorado Second Amendment Association.

Knight said lawmakers in more liberal states have taken to ignoring lawful gun owners, and Connecticut is no different.

"We watched across the nation as people were testifying in Connecticut and were seemingly ignored," he said.

The group's president, Scott Wilson, said the event Monday was meant to tell gun owners and those who care about Second Amendment issues to get out to the polls and vote next week.

"This isn't about particular candidates," Wilson said.

The CCDL, to much fanfare, endorsed Republican Tom Foley for governor over Joe Visconti, a petitioning candidate who has marketed himself as the "pro-gun" candidate in the race.

Gov. Dan Malloy has vowed to keep Connecticut's toughest-in-the-nation gun laws in place if reelected in November.

Gun-control advocacy groups have pledged their support to the incumbent governor.

"We thank the General Assembly Bipartisan Task Force and Governor Malloy for passing the 2nd strongest gun laws in the nation," Po Murray, chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, said in a statement Monday. "Voters who wish to protect these common sense laws to keep our children and families safe, should get out in force on Election Day."

Foley has said that he would examine the gun law to see where changes should be made.

Visconti pledged to work to repeal the magazine restriction, which he said wasn't fair to hunters and other law-abiding gun owners.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Foley Says Undecided Voters Will Fall His Way]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 19:59:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/foley+frankies.jpg

During a campaign stop in Waterbury on Monday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said he's confident that undecided voters will vote for him and not Gov. Dan Malloy.

On overall turnout, Foley said the disenchantment among voters will be beneficial to his candidacy.

“In the cities I think what happens is the people who maybe supported Gov. Malloy last time and feel that hasn’t delivered on his promises, they’re more likely not to vote than to come out and vote for me," Foley said at Frankie's, after eating a hot dog dressed in mustard, relish and sauerkraut.

Part of Foley's visit to Waterbury revolved around a trip to a career center to promote vocational training. He said it provides valuable opportunities for students who don't attend four-year colleges.

"Every student who wants to go to college should," Foley said.

He later added that the state needs to more often work with employers when considering its approach to job growth.

“I think the real challenge is to have the coordination between the private sector and the public sector to so make sure that we’re providing the skills and training that employers need, so when young people come out of a community college or vocational school, or even college, that they have the skills they need," Foley said.

Malloy's campaign responded to Foley's campaign stop in Waterbury with a statement on the incumbent's job training efforts.

"[Malloy] has matched Connecticut's higher education system to the needs of employers," Senior campaign adviser Mark Bergman wrote. "Now Connecticut is graduating more engineers and helping train and re-train workers to the job needs of the marketplace."

Foley wouldn't say whether he supported providing additional funding to pay for career-tech and vocational studies.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Jeb Bush Still Hasn't Made Decision on 2016]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:19:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/474646291.jpg

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush still "has not made a decision" about whether he'll run for president in 2016, a spokesperson said after the GOP politician's son seemed to suggest over the weekend that a bid is likely.

"Governor Bush has not yet made a decision on whether or not he will run in 2016. He will thoughtfully consider it following the mid-term elections, and make a decision late this year or in the early part of next year," Bush's spokesperson, Kristy Campbell, told NBC News.

But in an interview with ABC News' John Karl, son George P. Bush said his father is " still assessing it."

"I think it's -- it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought and moving -- and moving forward," George P. Bush said.

"More than likely that he'll run?" Karl asked.

"That he'll run. If you had asked me a few years back, I -- I would have said it was less likely," the younger Bush responded.

In an interview with Fox earlier this month, former President George W. Bush said he thinks his brother "wants to be president."

"Yes, I think he wants to be president," he said. "I think he'd be a great president. He understands what it's like to be president -- for not only the person running or serving, plus family," he said.

Jeb Bush, 61, was Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007. He has been popping up in recent ads supporting current Florida Gov. Rick Scott in his re-election bid.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chris Christie Heads to Groton to Support Foley]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:49:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/christie+foley.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attended a rally in Groton alongside Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley on Monday, according the Republican Governors Association.

Christie joined Foley and runningmate Heather Somers on Monday evening at the Spot Cafe on Buddington Road in Groton. Foley made the trip across the state after spending the afternoon campaigning in Waterbury.

"It's good to be back in Connecticut," the New Jersey governor said Monday evening. "Connecticut needs to be fixed. Tom Foley has the prescription to fix it."

Christie, whose job as chairman of the Republican Governors Association is to promote Republican candidates in left-leaning states, said incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy has not kept his word to the people of Connecticut.

"We expect to win on Tuesday, so we have a lot of work to do," Foley said. "We've got to get out to vote, but I feel very good about where this race is now."

Foley said he appreciates support from the New Jersey governor and credited Christie with making a "big difference in this race."

Monday was Christie's fourth visit to the state to stump for Foley. He made a trip to Stamford last month, where he spoke to the press at Curley's Diner and highlighted Foley's business credentials.

Christie also visited Greenwich in July to attend a fundraiser with Foley.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014: Recapping the Forum]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:30:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/malloy+visconti+at+forum.JPG

This week's episode of NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014" provides a recap of one of the most animated political debates and forums of the campaign season.

Republican candidate Tom Foley did not accept NBC Connecticut's invitation to appear in a gubernatorial candidate forum Thursday night and his chair was removed from the studio minutes before the contest went to air.

  • WATCH: Even though his Republican rival wasn't on stage, Gov. Dan Malloy still found ways to attack his GOP counterpart. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti said the race is about the issues, not Tom Foley.

NBC Connecticut anchor Gerry Brooks led the first part of a discussion with moderators Susan Haigh, political reporter for the Associated Press, and NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss.

  • WATCH: The moderators discuss Foley's absense and how it changed the tenor of discussions between Visconti and Malloy. How did Visconti fill the void of a Republican as he went toe-to-toe with Malloy?

The second time of the roundtable analyzing the forum focuses on Malloy and Visconti's heated discussions around education and gun control.

  • WATCH: Brooks, Haigh and Reiss break down the candidates' stances on gun legislation and the Common Core. Visconti accused the governor of politicizing the tragedy at Sandy Hook, while Malloy defended the state's toughest-in-the-nation gun laws.

The talk of the week in Connecticut politics is the release of the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which shows Malloy with a one-point advantage over Foley, 43-42 percent, and Visconti pulling 9 percent of the vote.

  • WATCH: NBC Connecticut anchor Todd Piro breaks down some of the numbers. Key figures in the poll include the gender gap and how it weighs into support for the candidates.

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<![CDATA[Treasurer Candidates Spar Over Campaign Ad]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:23:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim+herbst+denise+nappier.jpg

Republican candidate for treasurer Tim Herbst called a recent campaign ad released on behalf of incumbent Denise Nappier "desperate," while Nappier called the claims "frivolous."

The 30-second attack makes allegations that, as first selectman of Trumbull, Tim Herbst arranged for $1 million in funds to go toward his former law firm, and that he arranged a job for his father with the Trumbull school district.

“My father started working at Trumbull High School before I was born,” Herbst said. "The decision to keep him on was made by the school superintendent, who was not appointed by me.”

The Herbst campaign sent cease-and-desist orders to news organizations across Connecticut, urging them to abstain from running the ad due to its alleged inaccuracy.

The Nappier campaign defended the ad in the following statement:

“Mr. Herbst’s claims are frivolous—and nothing more. That’s why the ads are still running. ... There is nothing more important than integrity and ethics for a state treasurer. And that’s why is so important that voters get to know a little more about Mr. Herbst—like his steering a million dollars in town business to his law firm.”

Herbst said the fact that Nappier has paid for such an explosive ad speaks to the state of the race.

“She’s seeing the same polling that we’re seeing,” Herbst said.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Labor Secretary Tours Connecticut With Malloy]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:43:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_thomasperez1jpg_bim.jpg

Gov. Dan Malloy and the U.S. Labor Secretary toured sites in eastern Connecticut on Friday to see where some of the state’s efforts to improve workforce development and investments for small businesses have paid off.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, joined the governor alongside Congressman Joe Courtney, who is also in the middle of a reelection campaign.

“That toolbox didn’t exist before I became governor,” Malloy said, of the Small Business Express program, designed to provide working capital for small business growth.

“Connecticut had only invested in 119 companies over a period of nine years. Since I’ve been governor, we’ve invested in 1600," Malloy said. "Twelve-hundred of them [are] small businesses like this, with the Express Program.”

Perez pointed out that the Malloy administration has been a strong ally of Obama, supporting and pushing some of his top initiatives including raising the minimum wage.

“We have gridlock in Washington as a result of Speaker [John] Boehner’s refusal to bring it up for a vote, and so Gov. Malloy led on the minimum wage” said Perez.

Republican challenger Tom Foley campaigned in Enfield on Friday, according to a campaign spokesman, who issued the following respose to the visit from the Obama administration:

“Dan Malloy can bring whoever he wants to Connecticut. It doesn't change the fact that he has a failed record of tax increases and 1 percent economic growth over three and a half years," the statement says.

Malloy will expect at least of pair of high profile visits over the next 10 days, including one from Obama and another from First Lady Michelle Obama.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[State Police Endorse Malloy for Governor]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:57:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/dan+malloy+4.jpg

The Connecticut State Police Union and National Troopers Coalition are throwing their support to Gov. Dan Malloy as election day draws near.

"As Troopers we are trained to not only listen to the words people say, but we spend considerable time and effort studying their actions and statement," said State Police Union President Andy Matthews, in a statement dated Oct. 22.

"When we reviewed and considered the words and history of candidate Tom Foley for Governor, we became concerned about the risks to our memberships [sic] future," Matthews continued. "We felt compelled to speak out not just on behalf of our members, but also on behalf of the people and communities we serve."

Matthews said that, although the union doesn't always agree with Malloy's decisions, "true leaders make difficult decisions, even when some may not agree."

He said Malloy has worked to strengthen his relationship with the state police department and improve public safety in Connecticut.

"State Troopers are confident and proud of our current leadership," Matthews said.

The National Troopers Coalition also endorsed Malloy on Wednesday, explaining in a press release that Malloy "has taken consistent steps to consult State Police leadership and he has worked with rank and file troopers to imrpove public safety and officer safety."

Malloy will face GOP challenger Tom Foley and unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti on Election Day.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy, Visconti Debate at NBC Connecticut Forum]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:40:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/malloy+visconti+at+forum.JPG

One of three chairs sat empty in the NBC Connecticut studio leading up to Thursday’s gubernatorial forum, which GOP challenger Tom Foley opted not to attend.

Unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti went head-to-head with Gov. Dan Malloy, the Democratic incumbent he hopes to unseat, in a discussion spanning issues from gun control to the Common Core that was heated at times but civil throughout.

All three qualifying candidates for governor were invited to participate in Thursday night's forum, which aired at 7 p.m. on NBC Connecticut. Anchor and moderator Gerry Brooks was joined by panelists Susan Haigh of the Associated Press and NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss.

Foley said earlier in the week that he would not attend the forum, claiming that his campaign could not “come to terms” with NBC Connecticut "in a timely manner."

The Republican candidate stood his ground. As Malloy and Visconti took the stage Thursday evening, a third chair set up for Foley remained empty and was removed as the forum got underway.

"That brings us to the elephant who is not in the room," Brooks said at the beginning of the forum. "Republican Tom Foley has elected not to take part in tonight's discussion of the issues. We have been in constant touch with Mr. Foley's camp in the weeks leading up to the event; they have never articulated a particular objection to tonight's format."

Gun Legislation

Malloy and Visconti clashed over a number of issues, and gun control took center stage. The governor stood by his gun law, explaining that universal background checks has prevented weapons from falling into the wrong hands, "including one woman who wanted to buy a gun and then go to a school and shoot more children."

But Visconti called the gun law an infringement upon constitutional rights.

"There are background checks, but there are not background checks for criminals. And this is the fallacy of the Malloy administration and the liberal agenda, that somehow we're going to pass all these laws and criminals are going to follow these laws," Visconti said. "They're not going to follow these laws."

He asserted that the only way to prevent another tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook is to place a police officer at the door to every school in the state.

Visconti pledged to repeal the limitations on high-capacity magazines and called Sandy Hook a "political tragedy gain."

"If they wanted to do something, they could have looked at the 30-round magazine that Adam Lanza used and just targeted that," he argued. "But they didn't. They went to handguns. They went everywhere. Because there was a liberal agenda."

But Malloy fired back, reminding Visconti that two Democrats and two Republicans worked together to develop the legislation and that he wasn't included in discussions about the bill.

"I made a solemn oath that I would do everything I could to make our children as safe as possible," Malloy said. "I'm sorry that people have been inconvenienced to register the [magazines] they already have, but I'm proud that we've stopped the sale of those things in the future. Those of you who are law-abiding citizens have the same rights you already have, but children are safer."

Mental Health

The conversation shifted to the topic of mental health and each candidate presented plans to improve mental health services in the state.

"I think this is one of the areas ... where money has to go," Visconti said. "We have to look at this and say, 'Why aren't we doing more?'"

He alluded to family members who have struggled with mental health and emphasized the importance of mental health screening to address problems in their early stages.

"Every year that I've been governor, we have passed additional legislation to increase mental health services in Connecticut," Malloy said, adding that he has also worked to fight bullying and train professionals to identify mental health issues among students.

It was one of the few topics Malloy and Visconti agreed upon.

"I'm not here to debate all the failures or even the successes of Gov. Malloy," Visconti said. "But this one here, I will give him a thumbs up."

Education

The issue of education was a polarizing one. While Malloy outlined his accomplishments – including improving the high school graduation rate, cutting back on standardized tests and increasing the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams – Visconti attacked Common Core standards.

"Common Core itself is something that's being rejected by students, by parents, by teachers, by everyone," he said, explaining that the best way to improve education is to strengthen student-teacher relationships.

"Common Core is dead on arrival if I'm your governor," he said.

Malloy, on the other hand, reminded Visconti that two teachers' unions have endorsed him for governor and that "towns and communities like Wallingford have done an exceptional job" implementing Common Core.

"We have to make sure that our children are properly educated and they can compete with any nation in the world," Malloy said.

Negative Campaign Ads

Despite Foley's absence, his name circulated with frequency throughout the forum.

The ongoing battle between the two frontrunners has been intensely negative, with both Malloy and Foley airing attack ads and trading personal jabs.

This topic of conversation was one of the first to come up between Malloy and Visconti on Thursday night.

"Everyone says it's very negative, and I suppose it is – every campaign has its own flavor, I suppose – but this is an examination of people's records," Malloy said, explaining that voters need to know the candidates' backgrounds and what they bring to the table.

Visconti, whose limited campaign budget has kept him out of the ad game, decried both Malloy and Foley for their bitter attack ads.

"Are you kidding me? Come on," he said. "The negative ads from the Malloy administration and also the Foley campaign are ridiculous."

Tax Reform and the Economy

Visconti pointed out that taxpayer money is funding the negative campaign ads and explained his mission to make major reforms to state tax code.

"We need to be real with the people because some people can't afford to live here anymore," he said. "No, I don't want tax increases, but I don't know – when we're working on a budget – how we can get there without cutting services."

Visconti said it's important to let the public know that tax increases "are a possibility" and said that if tax hikes become a reality, he will turn first to large corporations.

"We cannot go back, if we need to, to the income tax," Visconti explained. "The middle class is burdened. They're leaving the state."

Malloy acknowledged the challenge but said Connecticut was deeply burdened by the Great Recession.

"I never took a pledge not to raise taxes the last time, because I knew what was wrong with Connecticut and that it was going to take shared sacrifice to solve," Malloy said. "From the 2011 budget on, we've done nothing but cut taxes."

The governor highlighted economic growth as a means of generating revenue and explained that he has added hundreds of millions of dollars to a rainy day fund that was empty when he took office four years ago.

Malloy said said he has minimized spending increases and worked to protect public services, such as affordable housing, and veterans services, alongside legislators from both parties.

He said his administration has created 11,500 jobs in Connecticut, a number that's expected to hit 25,000 by the end of the year. Malloy also pointed out that crime is down 20 percent in Bridgeport and homicides have decreased by 32 percent.

"That's a wise investment. That's making sure that people have communities that we can build jobs around," Malloy said, touting recent investments by corporations such as Electric Boat and United Technologies.

Public Service Cuts

But Visconti said it's not enough. In an effort to avoid overburdening taxpayers and stimulate the economy, he said nonessential services will need to be cut.

"Everywhere we can that takes away from education, from the disabled from veterans... We have to decide what we are going to do in Connecticut," he explained, referring to tourism and the arts. "How are we going to get out of this?"

Visconti said he would "identify every grant, every program that is nonessential those needs, put them into a lottery system and... decide by lottery what has to go."

Malloy countered his argument by pointing out that Visconti's numbers accounted for a more-than-7 percent yearly spending increase, while he has adhered to an annual increase of 2.8 percent.

"I'm proud that we're seeing rapid increases in the state of Connecticut. In fact, the job numbers in tourism are out of this world... Because we're participating in advertising again and that pays for itself," Malloy said, although Visconti alleged that most of the jobs that have been created are lower paying.

Closing Statements

"I wish Tom was here," Malloy said at the end of the forum. "I think this has been a very useful discussion between Joe and I. I respect Joe; we have differences, but at least he tells you what he's going to do. Tom Foley has been dancing around these issues for months."

Voters who are anti-Malloy should be pro-Visconti, the incumbent governor said.

But he reminded residents that the state has seen its lowest unemployment rate – and fastest job growth – in years, and that crime is down and test scores are up.

"We're making real progress. Is this the time that we turn our state back over to the same people who drove it into the ditch?" He said. "We can't go back in the direction that we once were traveling. Otherwise our children will suffer; our cities and towns will suffer, and the progress that we have made will dissipate and disappear."

Visconti thanked his supporters and called himself the "people's candidate."

"It's been a great learning experience to just see how many Connecticut residents want something different," he said. "I will work for your. I can win this thing. Connecticut is a beautiful state. We have to stay and fight for it."

Tom Foley's Absence

NBC Connecticut executives released the following statement earlier in the week regarding participation in Thursday's forum:

“All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation.”

Malloy said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Foley's absence.

"It's a strange thing but I also think it's disrespectful. The people of Connecticut deserve to hear from the candidates. He accepted this invitation, he then, for whatever reason... he's not here," Malloy said. "I think it's a missed opportunity to have a real discussion in a different kind of context."

He pointed out that Visconti's attendance may have contributed to Foley's decision to opt out.

Visconti is currently drawing 9 percent of the support of likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday that shows Malloy barely nosing ahead of Foley.

"Tom's got a lot of things he doesn't want to talk about," Malloy said. "I just wish he was here so I wouldn't have to remind you of all the positions he's taken."

Visconti said he "foresaw this," admitting he wasn't surprised by Foley's choice.

"The public deserves a debate on the issues, on the specifics, and what I have seen, and the majority of Connecticut residents have seen, in this campaign are just negative ads, negative ads, negative ads," Visconti said, alluding to the bitter battle that Malloy and Foley have waged against each other. "Tonight I hope we can address [the] issues and keep it civil... and have conduct that's becoming of a governor."

Visconti's Pledge

About 15 minutes into the forum, Brooks asked Visconti the question on everyone's mind.

"Under any circumstances, in the days leading up to the election, would you drop out of this race and throw your support to Tom Foley?" he asked.

Visconti shook his head.

"I don't believe at the present time that Tom, I could help carry him over the finish line, Gerry," he responded. "So if I considered it, I don't think that would happen."

He then commented on Malloy's frequent references to Foley's absence. Visconti said he hoped to avoid discussing Foley for the rest of the night and focus instead on the issues.

As he segued into the topic of public transportation and the idea of turning state highways into toll roads, Brooks steered him back.

"Are you in it until election day?" Brooks asked.

"I am," was Visconti's reply.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[South Windsor Police Issue Warning After Several Break-Ins]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Burglary-Series-generic.jpg

South Windsor police are urging residents to secure their homes after several residential burglaries several August.

Police said many of the burglaries have happened while the homeowners were on vacation while other break-ins have happened overnight as residents slept, police said. 

Residents should lock their houses and condominiums, lock doors and using outside lighting and alarm systems, police advise. 

Police also urge resident to watch over your neighbors’ homes if they are out of town for an extended period of time. 

If you see any suspicious behavior, people or cars, call 911.

If you have information about the break-ins, call the anonymous tipline at 860-648-NABM(6226) or dispatch at 860-644-2551.
 



Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.

 


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<![CDATA[Foley Says He Won't Change His Mind About Thursday Forum]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:57:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tom+foley+still.jpg

Tom Foley provided reporters with myriad reasons he won't appear Thursday at a gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by NBC Connecticut.

Foley insisted his campaign could never “come to terms” with NBC Connecticut.

When asked what would be his version of a “perfect debate format,” Foley responded by saying, “I don’t know. I don’t determine that.”

NBC Connecticut executives released the following statement earlier in the week regarding participation in the forum:

“All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation.”

Gov. Dan Malloy said he’s not fazed by the prospect appearing on stage alongside only petitioning candidate Joe Visconti.

"I'm hoping we'll have a good discussion about how bad Tom Foley would be for the state of Connecticut,” Malloy said following a forum hosted by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on Tuesday.

Political observers say Foley’s absence may not factor much into the results of the election.

“We’re two weeks out,” said Jerold Duquette, a political science professor at Central Connecticut State University. “The undecided voter is a very small group of people. The polls may tell us that 8 percent are undecided. That's probably inflated. The vast majority of folks who will actually show up have already decided."
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Foley Won't Be at Gubernatorial Forum]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:19:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Decision+2014+generic.jpg

NBC Connecticut will host a gubernatorial forum on Thursday and has invited three candidates to attend.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republican challenger, Tom Foley, and unaffiliated candidate, Joe Visconti were invited to participate in Thursday's forum, which will air live on NBC Connecticut at 7 p.m.

Through a spokesperson, Foley said he will not attend the forum.

"We were unable to come to terms with NBC 30 (Connecticut) in a timely manner, so we will not be participating in their forum, said Mark McNulty, communications director for Foley's campaign, in a statement on Monday.

NBC Connecticut released a statement about Foley's decision on Monday:

"All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, October 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation."

The debate can also be viewed live on NBCConnecticut.com or on the NBC Connecticut News App beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:40:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.


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<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The NBC Connecticut Debate Preview]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:09:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/visconti+foley+malloy+decision.jpg

One this week's episode of NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014," we preview the upcoming NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum.

Moderator of the debate Gerry Brooks discusses what to expect with Max Reiss and Associated Press reporter Susan Haigh. Reiss and Haigh will serve as panelists.

  • Watch: Gerry Brooks, Max Reiss and AP Reporter Susan Haigh analyze the gubernatorial campaigns and what to expect at Thursday's NBC Connecticut debate.

Gov. Dan Malloy, GOP candidate Tom Foley and unaffiliated petitioning candidate Joe Visconti are invited to take part in the one hour debate schedule to air live on NBC Connecticut at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Also on this week's show, write-in candidate for governor Jonathan Pelto breaks down the New London debate.

  • Watch: Write in candidate for governor and former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto sits down with George Colli to talk about the race for governor.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal talks with Todd Piro about what measures are being taken to prepare Connecticut residents for a potential Ebola outbreak.

  • Watch: Sen. Richard Blumenthal talks with Todd Piro about how the state is preparing for a potential Ebola outbreak.

"Decision 2014" airs Sundays at 10 a.m. on NBC Connecticut.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Governor's Race Garners National Attention]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:15:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dan+malloy+tom+foley.jpg

The race for governor Connecticut has become one of the most closely watched in the country.

With incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy in a tight political contest, the Republican Governors Association circled the race as a target in 2014.

The cameos to Connecticut alone show how important Connecticut is to political power brokers.

Friday night, Louisiana governor and long-rumored presidential candidate Bobby Jindal will hold a fundraiser for Republican Tom Foley at a private home in West Hartford.

Earlier in the week, Malloy was supposed to welcome President Barack Obama for a campaign visit that was later shelved after the president opted to stay in Washington to work on the government's response to Ebola.

"Coming down the stretch of the race, it's in the interests of both candidates to bring in whatever heavyweights they've got because we've left the persuasion stage of the campaign and entered the rally base, bring out the voters," said Jerold Duquette, a political science professor at Central Connecticut State University.

He said it's telling that Foley would hold a private event with such a major GOP name like Bobby Jindal that places him in a particular political light.

"Even he is going to abandon worries about being pegged as a Republican at this point because three weeks out, people have decided [who they're going to vote for]," Duquette said.

Despite Obama's low approval ratings, in a state like Connecticut, Malloy has more to gain than lose by welcoming a presidential visit, according to Duquette.

"Even if the president isn't particularly popular, it has always been to the governor's advantage to remind folks that this is a race between a Democrat and a Republican, and so whenever he can call attention to the national political dialogue between Democrats and Republicans, it's useful to him," Duquette said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also cancelled an event with Foley earlier in the week. It's possible, and likely, that both Christie and Obama will return to Connecticut to campaign.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gabby Giffords Campaigns for "Sensible" Gun Policy in West Hartford]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:54:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Giffordspic00000000.jpg

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured in a 2011 shooting rampage, visited Connecticut on Thursday to help protect women from gun violence.

After a lengthy recovery from serious injuries, Giffords has become an unrelenting advocate for what she calls responsible gun laws. Today her campaign brought her to West Hartford as part of the Protect All Women tour, a national initiative focused on her campaign for stronger gun laws to defend women against gun violence.

“Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women,” Giffords said at a roundtable discussion at West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford school on Thursday.

She was joined by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and more than a dozen legislators and leaders in the fields of domestic violence and law enforcement.

“The message is very simple: Enough,” said Blumenthal.

Connecticut was the third stop on Giffords’ tour. The former congresswoman plans to visit nine states in nine days to raise awareness and encourage women to speak up, since the prevalence of domestic violence and the availability of guns often makes for a deadly combination.

“Women can lead the way. We stand for common sense. We stand for responsibility,” Giffords said.

Giffords is a co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which seeks to reduce gun violence and increase “sensible’ gun control legislation. She encouraged those on hand not to give up the fight, regardless of the setbacks.

“We can change our laws. We can win elections,” she said. “Please join your voice with mine.”

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<![CDATA[AFL-CIO Stumps for Malloy]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:50:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dan+malloy+5.jpg

The National President of the AFL-CIO, one of the largest organized groups in the United States, visited Connecticut Tuesday to campaign for the state's Democratic Governor in his bid for reelection.

"For working families of Connecticut, Dan Malloy has the agenda" Richard Trumka said before a group of union members, organizers, and members of the press.

Trumka used the open microphone to criticize Republican Tom Foley in much the same ways Democrats in the state have throughout the campaign.

“Losing looks exactly like Tom Foley" Trumka said. "Tom Foley is the personification of the corporate agenda and that is frankly the last thing the working people of Connecticut need.”

Trumka said Foley's record working with TB Woods in Pennsylvania is something that should concern Connecticut voters.

During a campaign stop just minutes from the AFL-CIO event in Rocky Hill, Tom Foley and Lieutenant Governor candidate Heather Somers toured Fair Weather Acres, a farm and store. Foley defended his record with unions and TB Woods to reporters. He repeatedly said, "We covered this last month" and reiterated that employees at the company received bad advice from their union, which led to some of their dismissals."

Foley said, "Some chose to return to work and some didn’t." He added, "Others lost their jobs and that’s unfortunate but when a union puts their employees at risk by recommending a strike to them, they’re at risk and if things don’t work out for them that’s the union’s fault, not the employer’s fault.”

The Republican candidate for governor reiterated a point he's made throughout the campaign when it comes to unions. "I'm not pro union or anti-union" Foley said. "I'm pro worker."
Trumka with the AFL-CIO said Foley will take his business practices with him if he becomes governor.

“He’s a CEO who sinks companies, destroys jobs, makes war on his employees and walks away with his arms full of money” Trumka said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy Answers Questions About Rental Income]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 07:30:30 -0400

As the campaign for governor heats up, Republican candidate Tom Foley is criticizing Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for taxes he paid in rental income on his former home in Stamford, which was valued at around $200,000.

According to his tax filings, Malloy only paid $1,795 on the taxable income.

On the seemingly small amount, Malloy said, “These are the same deductions that you claim on your own home when you live in it, for instance, property taxes or a mortgage as well as other expenses that go into the base of your house.”

Foley started laughing when he was asked about the tax issue during an event in Rocky Hill on Tuesday.

“I at least included everything in my summary on my income" Foley told reporters. "He apparently failed to include income on a summary he provided. $180,000.”

Foley released three years worth of tax filings to the press last month, but reporters were only allowed to view the documents and take notes, but were prohibited from making copies.

The Republican said he filed for an extension on his 2013 tax filings and when he was asked about whether he would release them soon he said, "I haven't thought about it."

As for Malloy's rental income, he said he did what any homeowner would have done to limit his tax liability.

“We paid the mortgage. We paid the taxes. The depreciation was a little, and maintenance was the rest of it and that’s what it is" Malloy said.

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<![CDATA[NH Lawmaker Calls Congresswoman "Ugly as Sin"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:22:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Steve+Vaillancourt.jpg

Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."

The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.

In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"

Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.

"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."

Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.

"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.

Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.

"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.

"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.

In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."

Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.

"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.

NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."

In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.

As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Stumps for Malloy in Hartford]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:14:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Clinton_Stumps_for_Malloy_in_Hartford_1200x675_341810243970.jpg Former president Bill Clinton was in town to support Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's campaign for governor. ]]>