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Pelto Officially Out of Race

by | Aug 29, 2014 3:19pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2014

Christine Stuart file photo Secretary of the State Denise Merrill confirmed in a press release Friday that petitioning candidate Jonathan Pelto will not be appearing on the ballot during this year’s campaign for governor.

Merrill, the state’s top election official, verified what Pelto signaled to his supporters almost a week ago — he had failed to collect the 7,500 voter signatures necessary to petition onto the ballot. According to Merrill, Pelto collected 4,318 signatures.

Pelto, a liberal critic of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and former lawmaker, had hoped to challenge Malloy’s re-election by picking off progressive voters dissatisfied with the governor’s education policies. He created the Education and Democracy Party in an effort to get on the ballot.

“While we failed to achieve that critical goal, we’re hopeful that our effort has and will continue to spur a more serious discussion about the critically important issues facing Connecticut,” Pelto said Friday.

He said he would stay involved in the political process and will partner with other third parties to “develop and advocate for a legislative package that will reduce the unfair aspects of the petitioning process.”

Malloy will appear twice on the ballot in November: as the Democratic candidate and as the candidate for the Working Families Party. His 2010 rival, Tom Foley, will also appear on two lines as the candidate for the Republican Party and the Independent Party. Meanwhile, Joe Visconti, a conservative candidate and gun rights activist will also appear on the ballot.

Pelto had objected to the rejection of some of the signatures submitted for him and publicly considered a legal challenge. But he has since acknowledged that even if a court accepted those dismissed signatures, he still wouldn’t have enough to qualify.

“It’s become apparent to me that we may not be close enough that those errors will make a difference,” he said Monday. “. . . I think we just failed to get enough signatures, part of it is organizational. We just dropped the ball.”

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(15) Archived Comments

posted by: Bethy | August 29, 2014  3:30pm


Pelto, let us now stand together and brainstorm about things later. Resolutions can be made with great minds….don’t you agree?

posted by: Matt from CT | August 29, 2014  6:10pm

Being off by that much makes one wonder if this sabotage rather than incompetency.

posted by: LongJohn47 | August 29, 2014  7:38pm

Some of the “errors” came from Pelto’s people not following the rules, like having the name of one town on the top of the petition while actually signing up voters from another town.  Sloppy.

There are those who think the ballot requirements are too onerous for a third party candidate, but you need to look no further than Joe Visconti to see that’s not the case.

I argued months ago that Pelto would easily make the ballot, but that was based on the assumption that he could mobilize 100 teachers who were smart enough and dedicated enough to put in the time to get the job done.  100 teachers getting 20 signatures each per day would have put this effort to bed in under two weeks.  How difficult is that?

But clearly that wasn’t the case, and Pelto’s organization spectacularly failed to make the grade.  They had over a month between the end of school and the August 6th deadline to get the job done, but they collected fewer than 100 good signatures a day.

This isn’t rocket science, it’s just good fundamental political blocking and tackling, something that should have been second nature to Pelto and his supporters.  If you have a decent organization you should be able to nominate a ham sandwich, but Pelto came up short.

So now the November landscape gets really interesting.  Foley has Visconti nipping at his heels, while Malloy is unchallenged on the left. 

My guess is that when teachers see what Foley’s about, with his support for “money follows the child” and charter schools, many will hold their noses and come home to Dannel, while the gun net purists cast their symbolic votes for “freedom”.

It’s a great year for political junkies.

posted by: art vandelay | August 29, 2014  8:42pm

art vandelay

The Democrat State Central Committee did an excellent job in sabotaging one of their own. They have the intellect to know that a split party is a defeated party. Not so with the Republicans. An excellent political move.  My hat is off to the Democrats.  I was hoping Pelto would get on the ballot in order to insure a Republican victory.

posted by: JusticePartyCT | August 29, 2014  9:48pm

There are many people unhappy with the Republicans and Democratic Parties. We were supporters of Pelto and we would like to work further people sick of the duopoly. Pelto is spot on to say that the system to get on the ballot is out dated. It is fact a barrier set up by both major parties to keep the duopoly in place. There is no doubt that a great number of ‘rejected’ signatures on Pelto’s drive should not have been dismissed. The cost and time to sue the state would get him nothing as court cases drag on. Interesting was to hear Dennis M refer to Pelto as ‘the trouble-maker’ when he visited her office. The citizens of Connecticut should demand that she be terminated for that comment and for doing nothing to improve ballot access in our state.

posted by: JusticePartyCT | August 30, 2014  9:22am

For those that supported join, people who are tired of the Democrats and Republicans, and their ‘sham’ parties, we are building a new populist party in Connecticut (and nationally). Join us in the Connecticut Justice Party. http://www.justicepartyct.org/

posted by: art vandelay | August 30, 2014  9:35am

art vandelay

I totally agree w/LongJohn47 & the JusticePartyCT’s comments. I also believe the Democrat State Central Committee launched a number of torpedoes to sink Pelto’s ship.

posted by: LongJohn47 | August 30, 2014  10:29am

Justice—you do a great disservice to our justice system to say that cases “drag on”. 

Had Pelto gone to court with a reasonable case it would have been heard immediately.  He didn’t go because he hadn’t done the work and therefore hadn’t qualified.  It’s that simple.

Art—of course the Dems worked to keep Pelto at bay, and getting the AFT to endorse Malloy was one major component (notice that the CEA has yet to endorse anyone, so they weren’t entirely successful).

The next Governor will be elected with around 500,000 votes.  It’s not unreasonable to ask candidates to show that they have 7,500 people (1.5%) supporting them to get on the ballot.

The real issue is campaign finance, not ballot access.  Had Pelto qualified he would have still faced the impossible task of gaining enough contributions to have an equal treasury. 

Here the two parties have conspired to permanently disadvantage anyone who challenges them.  If you’re a true reformer, this is what needs to be fixed.

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 30, 2014  10:40am


@JusticePartyCT You folks endorsed Pelto and could not get help him on the ballot either?

I hate to say it but @LJ47 nailed it. If you can not even do the most basics of campaigning and political organizing you do not deserve to be on the ballot and to serve the public.

Plus on your web site you are not supporting one local candiate in any city or town.

I mean come on that is not   a way to build up a new party.

Plus on your issue page none of the links work either.

What is up with that?

Plus who the heck is Rocky? The squirrel?

That link is not helping your cause either.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 31, 2014  1:36pm

No one is talking about the fact that in politics that are very few far left people in this country and even few in this state as a percentage. Most people are moderate left or moderate right.

When people have to self identify and support a far left candidate they only do that in specific pockets where districts are made up of looney tunes flower children or those with heavy government subsidies. We really dont have a Northhampton or Peoples Republic of Cambridge in our state.

This is like talk radio to make an analogy. Far left talk radio fails to get an audience in most parts of this country because when people hear it their stomach tells them that something isn’t right.

I wish Pelto was running. Too bad in this country we will never see the day where candidates cannot identify with a party on the voting sheet so people have to walk in and know what they think they stand for and not blindly vote for a party that doesnt stand for what they do in their daily lives.

There is still this “Republican is for the rich” and “Democrat is for the middle class working man” and both are far from the truth.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | August 31, 2014  8:20pm

Absolutely pitiful.  And this the guy who was trying to pawn himself off as a ‘political analyst.’

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | September 1, 2014  6:20pm

I will still write him in.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | September 1, 2014  6:22pm

@ shinningstars122.Why should any one have to go out and get signatures.

posted by: brutus2011 | September 2, 2014  7:26pm


I will write Pelto in as well.

That is, unless someone censors my vote,...

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | September 2, 2014  8:07pm

Writing in Pelto on the ballot is also pitiful.

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