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OP-ED | Leaving On A Sour Note

by | Jul 1, 2011 4:17pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Campaign Finance, Election 2010, Opinion

If I were outgoing state GOP Chairman Chris Healy and my state had been a glaring outlier in the Red Tide of voter discontent in 2010, I would have spent my remaining days in office engaging in introspection as to the cause, and working with my State Central colleagues to ensure a smooth transition for the next chairman so things go better in 2012.

Instead, he chose to spend his time filing a complaint against the Connecticut Working Families Party, claiming, “The Working Families Party has been long known to be a hollow organization which merely exists to prop up Democrats by funneling money to liberal candidates.”

Well, actually no, Chris, it is not. Like thousands of other Connecticut residents, in 2010 I voted on the Working Families Party line because WFP spoke to the issues I care about most, and I wanted the candidates who won to know that. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy owes his victory to the 26,000 votes he received on the Working Families Party line. Without voters like me, Malloy would have been the also-ran in a resounding Foley victory.

In 2010, the Working Families Party endorsed 93 candidates in the state — mostly Democrats, although there was the occasional Republican and independent. But that’s not because WFP is a “hollow organization to prop up Democrats.” It’s because the candidates they endorsed were responsive to the issues important to CT voters like me, who aren’t confident that the leaderships of the two traditional parties will remain committed to those issues once voted into office — or in the case of the GOP, even commit to them in the first place. Take healthcare for example, which as a self-employed small businesswoman facing costs rising far above the rate of inflation while I have to fight my insurer for the services I pay for, not to mention the ever-present threat of rescission, was my number one issue in the last election.

Whereas the CT Working Families Party has been an active advocate on this critical issue, the CT GOP persists in the belief that the free market is the right solution for healthcare, and what’s more has been fighting vehemently against the legislation that would provide vital protection for my family against rescission, taking donations from the very insurers that perpetrate the problems that have caused my family expense and stress. Yet Chris Healy has the chutzpah to call them a hollow organization?

“The whole thing seems poorly researched. We were very careful and we sought the advice of the CT State Elections Enforcement Commission and followed the law and the advice,” said CT Working Families Party Executive Director Jon Green of Healy’s complaint. “This seems like a bizarre sour grapes move.”

In November 2010, 73 WFP candidates won their races, including four, such as Governor Malloy — who would have lost their race without the votes cast on the Working Families line.  And while nationwide, Republicans toppled Democrats in a surge of anti-incumbent discontent, the red tide barely lapped at CT’s shores.

What should this have told Chris Healy? That his party was out of touch, and the sounds that bite in Arizona or Iowa don’t necessarily resonate with voters in Hartford or Bridgeport.

But instead of doing something constructive, like trying to figure out how to make the GOP relevant, Healy spent his time on things like writing complaints against the Working Families Party, who clearly made every effort to do things by the book, or issuing factually incorrect press releases, like this one from Tuesday about the Supreme Court decision that struck down tax-payer financed matching grants in Arizona as unconstitutional, in which he declared “Had this law been struck down last year, it would have been unlikely that Gov. Dannel Malloy would have received an additional $3 million in tax dollars in his campaign against Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich, who raised campaign dollars privately.” Well, except that that provision had already been struck down by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals last July. The only reason Malloy received the additional money referred to by Healy in his release was that the state legislature voted for a fix, overriding a veto from then Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Healy’s tenure as State CT GOP chair reminds me a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

It’ll be interesting to see if Tea Party darling Jerry Labriola Jr. is an improvement.

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(8) Archived Comments

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | July 3, 2011  9:41am


Healey’s GOP didn’t have a vision. The time is ripe for a centrist party that demands modesty and accountability from their government workers.

6 figure pensions, 10% graduation rates at the community colleges, a richer-than-thou medical plan,  A NIMBY stance on SustiNet—-these are the things that the working class do not expect from government workers.

There is a hole big enough for the GOP to drive a truck through—SEBAC is not ‘working class’ and hasn’t lobbied for real working class improvements in years.

It’s classic Marxist theory division—a government petit bourgeois class versus private industry proletariat class. Class warfare ready to be exploited by an astute GOP chairman siding with the proletariat and offering private industry worker benefits and job stimulus at the expense of the top 20% earners in the state and a rejection of all forms of state labor union subsidized job welfare.

In other words:  who works for who?

posted by: hawkeye | July 3, 2011  11:04am

Sarah Darer Littman:  “Chris Healy and the Republican Party WAS NOT out of touch!  The GOP in Connecticut could not win because of the “big city social benefits voters,” the offspring of the welfare voters the late, and powerful Democratic Chief John Bailey paid for over 50 years ago, by importing them from the South, for promised better welfare checks AND DEMOCRATIC VOTES—and now have a lock on BIG CITY state votes!

It’s no coincidence that our state big cities vote Democratic.  The vote was bought and paid for—many years ago!

Beating up on Chris Healy, may make a news story, but has little substance—to back it up!

posted by: saramerica | July 3, 2011  8:06pm


hawkeye - keep believing that and CT will remain under Democratic control for years to come. Read the comment above yours.

posted by: William Jenkins | July 4, 2011  1:39am

Sarah, the complaint is certainly valid.  You should have checked that before your wrote your editorial.  Since the Democratic Statewide candidates were participating candidates, that made them ineligible to receive contributions from the Working Families Party, that’s is the main point of the complaint.  The SEEC might allow them and the Working Families Party to submit supplemental campaign finance disclosure statements showing these contributions as organizational expenditures but we’ll see.

Either way, the complaint is justified and in spite of what Jon Green says, he didn’t follow the law.

posted by: NOW What? | July 7, 2011  5:50pm

Sorry for being a bit late to this; given the Connecticut Republican Party having been dead in the water for so long and everyone being so preoccupied with the state’s budget etc. I actually had to go back and re-read Sarah’s op-ed before posting.

I might be wrong, but I just don’t see *any* Tea Party-er being able to ressurect the CT Republican Party anytime soon - Labriola (who’s been around for quite awhile now and is basically a “pretty nice guy”) or otherwise. CT’s problems are far too complex and systemic for simplistic reduced taxation and “trickle-down economics” strategies (if one could call them “strategies”) to be of any great help.

To “put it in a nutshell,” given the average CT citizen’s earnings, the overall cost of living in CT has become too high - and CT’s state income and sales taxes are only a very tiny part of that cost of living problem. This coupled with CT being slowly dragged into the country’s increasingly extremist, polarized political climate has the potential for creating a very dangerous socio-economic scenario in the state that would be particularly deadly to its already diminishing middle class and especially to those who are raising a family, are self-employed, or work within proprietaryships or very small corporate structures.

I think the CT Working Families Party would do well to work closely with the Coffee Party USA and its CT members, as well as SEBAC (I have to disagree with you *very* strongly on that particular issue “GoatBoyPHD”), to help bring CT’s socio-economic and political paths back to its old “middle of the road” one that the CT *used* to adhere to as “the land of steady habits.”

Regardless, it will take many years of very hard work on the part of a very large number of citizens to help the CT get back on track… it’s gotten too far *off* track over the past couple of decades for anyone to realistically expect to see a full-scale “course correction” materialize during the next few years.

posted by: NOW What? | July 7, 2011  6:23pm

Sorry for the typos and other strange things (“the CT”? LOL) in above post; not used to having to use a tiny netbook while I wait for a new computer power supply to arrive.

posted by: William Jenkins | July 8, 2011  8:25am

After all your bravado SteveHC, you really had nothing to add that was pertinent to the matter at hand which is the validity of the complaint that Chris Healy filed with the SEEC.

The bottom line is the complaint is completely valid and it’s the lefties who are crying “sour grapes” because someone dared to point out that the Working Families Party broke the law.

posted by: NOW What? | July 10, 2011  1:13am

I don’t know about any “bravado,” “William Jenkins,” but I *will* say that I was responding to what *I* considered to be the main points of *Sarah’s* article… and that Chris Healy’s “thing” with the SEEC was not one of those main points.

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