Wednesday night’s debate in New London featured fewer fireworks, but Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley still found chances to go at each other, especially over the issue of union influence.
“He has cut a deal with the unions to support his candidacy,” said Foley. “He relied on the unions to turn out the vote and win in the primary.”
“I'd never thought I'd live long enough to quote Ronald Reagan but there you go again Tom,” Malloy responded.
Both candidates were much more reserved as they talked about what they'd do about the state's fiscal problems. Malloy stopped short of saying he wouldn't raise taxes.
“This is what I promise to do: We're going to balance the budget,” said Malloy.
“We have a $3.5 billion dollar budget deficit and it can be closed without raising taxes,” said Foley.
On the issue of mandatory sick time, Malloy said he supports a bill that would mandate companies to require it. Foley said it should be up to the individual businesses.
Once again, the most heated exchange came when asked if they'd support a repeal of the death penalty. Malloy said he will sign a repeal for future cases only, something that's been legally questioned. Foley is in favor of the death penalty.
“He doesn't morally object to it because he says it's okay for Steven Hayes so what is it? Is it a raw political calculation,” said Foley.
“One thing I will never do Tom is play politics with this issue. What you just said is ridiculous,” responded Malloy.
The question came on the same day a new Q Poll showed 65 percent of voters support capital punishment. After the debate, Malloy admitted it's an issue that could hurt him.
“It might,” Malloy told NBC Connecticut. “I'd ask the people of CT to understand that I've studied this, I've looked at...and I've prayed about it.”
While most of the crowd was made up of Malloy supporters, there were mixed reviews on the performance of the candidates.
“On everything I just think he was the far better performer,” said Malloy supporter Steve Nagri. “I had no preference going in to it,” said undecided voter Dan Driscoll who went on to say that after it was over neither candidate changed his mind. “Tom did a great job tonight,” said Foley supporter Steve Vicino. “He got his point across. I'm absolutely convinced.”
NBC Connecticut will feature both candidates in their final televised debate before election night. That will happen Tuesday, October 26 at 7p.m. live on NBC Connecticut.