Campaign shows Malloy’s desperation to defend failed policies

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisAugust’s primaries set the ballot for November’s election and, in a rematch, Tom Foley, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor, will again face incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy, who won last time by only 6,400 votes.

Foley ran a smart primary campaign, saving his biggest fire for Malloy and his fellow Democrats whose policies have brought Connecticut to the brink of fiscal disaster. Fairfield State Sen. John McKinney, Foley’s primary opponent, ran a solid, issue-oriented campaign and was extremely gracious in defeat. He now strongly supports Foley and by demonstrating such statesmanship, McKinney has only strengthened his reputation as an outstanding leader with a bright future.

Malloy’s clearly concerned about his re-election chances. Recent polls show his re-election numbers in the upper 30% range, which is devastating for an incumbent. So it’s no surprise that before Labor Day the campaign was in high gear with a debate in Norwich.

That debate was a study in contrasts. Malloy, whose reputation as a bit of an aggressor earning him the moniker “Angry Dan,” was literally on the edge of his seat leaning towards his opponent in a prosecutorial fashion attempting to defend his failed record. However, Foley was at his best — relaxed, gentlemanly and with a command of the facts. He responded to Malloy’s prosecution calmly, a man confident in the truth.

Issues discussed included education, where Malloy was asked why he “rammed” his education strategy “down people’s throats” rather then collaborate with teachers and other education groups to achieve consensus. Malloy apologized for his position on tenure in an effort to tamp down his perceived war with teachers.

Malloy raised the tired and disproven Bibb Company allegations while Foley suggested voters might think it’s more important to talk about Connecticut’s future, not something that occurred years ago. Meanwhile Foley effectively drove home Malloy’s failure with economic issues. He pointed out Massachusetts’ economy (no one’s example of a robust economy) had grown 11% over the past four years while Connecticut’s had grown a measly 1%.

He criticized Malloy’s use of taxpayer funds to pick winners and losers by paying certain companies to locate in Connecticut. Foley will reform the business climate to encourage companies to locate here, not entice certain ones with taxpayer money only when Malloy deems them worthy.

Practically all pundits, including the liberals, thought Foley won the debate. It’s not that Foley is a great debater, it’s that the reality is so damning for Malloy.

The campaigns are also hosting high profile visitors, with more expected before November. Foley had New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while Vice President Biden and impeached ex-President Bill Clinton came for Malloy. Now you can expect an onslaught of commercials, both positive and negative, and your tax dollars will pay for many as both candidates qualified for the Connecticut Election Fund designed by Democrats to take taxpayer money and give it to candidates whether the taxpayer agrees with the candidate or not.

Other commercials will be paid for with voluntary donations and funded through super PACs or the Republican and Democratic state central committees.

But ultimately this election will be a referendum on Malloy’s failed policies. Do the citizens of Connecticut believe they are better off today than when Malloy came into office? Using numerous independent standards, which I’ve detailed in a previous column, it appears the answer is a resounding no. To me, the most telling is the Gallup poll reporting almost half our residents want to move out of Connecticut. That’s bad news for Malloy.

While Democrats will try to twist the facts insisting residents are better off then they think they are — there’s no escaping the simple truth — Malloy has had his chance. Malloy is a failed governor. It’s time for a change.

 

Ed Dadakis is a former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

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