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November Ballot Could Get Crowded

by Hugh McQuaid | Jun 10, 2014 5:30am
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014

Courtesy of his Twitter feed

Joe Visconti

The gubernatorial ballot may be crowded in November with candidates to the Left and Right of the two major parties attempting to petition their way onto the ballot.

On Friday, Republican Joe Visconti announced he was abandoning plans to collect signatures to compete in the Republican primary and instead would begin collecting the 7,500 signatures he’ll need by Aug. 6 to appear on the November ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Last week, former Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Pelto also began this process.

Visconti’s change in course comes just before the Tuesday deadline to collect the 8,190 signatures necessary to qualify to appear on the primary ballot. Seeking to directly qualify for the general election allows him to collect signatures from any voter — a wider pool than the registered Republicans he had to draw from to earn a spot on the primary ballot.

If they’re successful, Visconti and Pelto will join candidates from the two major parties. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is the Democratic nominee and his 2010 rival Tom Foley won the Republican nomination at convention. Two other Republicans, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, are running primary challenges.

A four-way general election could make for a complicated and difficult-to-predict gubernatorial race. And although they’re unlikely to win, third-party candidates can certainly hurt candidates running closer to the front, says Scott McLean, a professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.

“Third parties are like bees: they sting and then they die. They can hurt a campaign or a party in the short term, but in the long term they’re probably not viable,” he said.

McLean said third-party candidates have maximum influence in very close elections like the one polls suggest Malloy and Foley will be locked in if Foley wins the Republican primary. In 2010, Malloy defeated Foley by 6,404 votes, a fraction of a percentage point. They are still deadlocked for public support, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released a month ago.

“When it’s neck and neck, third parties can really add an extra unpredictability factor,” he said.

Even if they draw only a small percentage of the vote, third party or unaffiliated candidates could play the role of spoiler in a tight election and that makes supporters of the major candidates nervous.

Following Visconti’s Friday announcement, Foley supporter Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, called Visconti a “knucklehead” on social media sites. In a Monday phone interview, Markley said he was being polite and felt that “certifiable” was a more accurate term for Visconti if he thinks he has a chance at being elected.

“There’s only two possible results to this election: Malloy gets re-elected or a Republican defeats him. If we’re going to defeat him, Visconti running is only a hinderance in the sense that he takes votes away from Republicans,” Markley said.

Democrats have been more reluctant to criticize Pelto, who has insisted he is not entering the race to spoil Malloy’s chances. Neither the state party nor Malloy’s campaign have been willing to comment on his potential candidacy.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Malloy said in response to a question in May about a potential challenge from Pelto.

Visconti is hoping to set himself apart from other Republican and Democratic candidates by stressing his opposition to two hot-button issues — the implementation Common Core education standards and the strict gun control law passed in following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“The Common Core Initiative has no opponent in the present Republican or Democratic field of candidates. I intend to be the voice that represents children and parents who do not want to participate in synthetically engineered and corporately monopolized education. I will also be the lone candidate in the race for governor who will actively seek to restore our Second Amendment rights,” Visconti said in a press release.

Pelto, a vocal critic of Malloy’s education policies, has also railed against the Common Core standards. He posted an article on his blog Monday, saying it was time for the state to “dump” the standards, which he called an “unnecessary and wasteful diversion.”

“It is time for Connecticut to scrap the Common Core and re-direct scarce resources to ensuring that all of Connecticut’s public school students get the education they need to lead fulfilling lives. If elected governor, I’ll do exactly that,” he said.

Without polling data for Pelto or Visconti, McLean said it is too early predict how much an impact either could have on the race. However, he speculated that gun control could prove to be a more divisive issue than education policy.

“Unlike the Common Core, the gun control issue is very narrow and there’s a very tight focus group that really believes in anti-gun control and may be willing to change their votes,” McLean said.

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(6) Comments

posted by: state_employee | June 10, 2014  7:12am

Joe Visconti is ridiculous.  He needs to go pay his taxes like the rest of us have to.

posted by: Tim McKee | June 10, 2014  7:39am

...I like that a non expert on third parties can be so dismissive with no real evidence or research to back his claims. Q Poll NEVER includes third party candidates in its so called “polling” so how would know what he is talking about??
  As historian i would say the Q poll should look to strong importance of third parties in shaping history! Hello LINCOLN!! a Fourth party!!
  If Q people would move away from the cocktail party snobbery and back into streets they might hear a undercurrent that surprise them!
  “Third Parties are like Bees??” Ask the Biology department how important Bees are to life and pollen exchange.

  Other wise asking a non informed professor - just ask a man on the street as informed!

posted by: OutBackJack312 | June 10, 2014  9:08am

I hope these two get on the ballot!!!  I know the chances of winning are remote but democracy is based on an educated public going to the polls to vote.  As a voting population we need to send a message to big wig Republicans and Democrats that we just won’t accept the nonsense voting options they give us.  Malloy and Foley cannot be our only options…  We can do better as a state.  Malloy/Pryor sold-out children to corporate America…  And Foley…  Well…  He’s a mess…

posted by: Bulldog1 | June 10, 2014  10:42am

Outback, you called it. Neither of these guys at the top of their respective parties ticket have any focus on getting real jobs to CT citizens.

Unfortunatelythe jackals nipping at their heels aren’t the solution either.  We need a lot better candidates than this whole bunch.

posted by: JusticePartyCT | June 10, 2014  9:07pm

I would agree with Tim McKee. The author does a great dis-service to our democracy by promoting the idea that it is OK for us to be ‘one party away from a communist government.’ That might sound extreme, but consider that Connecticut, along with many other states are becoming a one-state party. As more and more people dissociate with the two ‘major parties’, we will be left with low-grade candidates who are beholden to their donors. Whether you sit on the right or left, competition in our democracy should be your aim. Through it, we achieve greater transparency, representation of more citizens and reduce cronyism. So, do you want to continue to live in Corrupticut, where you are forced to vote for the lesser evil? Or do you want good ideas from all sides of the political spectrum working towards a government that represents WE THE PEOPLE? Ben Franklin was asked what type of government we got, he replied ‘A republic, madam – if you can keep it.’ The two-party system, with the barrier to entry that they have erected for third-parties is crushing our republic. Let me leave you with a final thought… What kind of ‘customer service’ do you get with a monopoly company? We deem this counter to our benefit so we work towards stopping such industry. In the case of a duopoly, for example, your internet service, how happy are you? How happy would you be with only ATT and Verizon for mobile service? As in business, we strive for competition for that brings about companies that are the most efficient and are in-tuned with their customers. So too should our political system be. So please go right ahead and vote for independents and 3rd parties this fall. Carlos Camacho, Connecticut Justice Party (http://www.justicepartyct.org)

posted by: dano860 | June 11, 2014  9:58pm

He’s the first one to ride his running mate into the ring.