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Pelto on Malloy: ‘I Don’t Think He Can Win’

by | Apr 28, 2014 5:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2014

Courtesy of WFSB A one-time supporter turned critic of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the rounds on the Sunday news shows to proclaim that he hasn’t ruled out a third-party run for governor.

Jonathan Pelto, who served as a state representative for 10 years and worked for former Democratic Gov. Bill O’Neill’s administration, told Dennis House on WFSB’s “Face the State” that he’s talking to people about what it would take to mount a third-party campaign.

He said in the next month or two he will make a decision about whether he will move forward with a campaign.

Watch the segment.

The issue for Pelto isn’t getting on the ballot, but rather it’s being able to access the Citizens Election Program as a third party candidate. The system favors the two-party system and sets a higher threshold for third-party candidates seeking matching public campaign funds.

The Working Families Party, which endorsed Malloy in 2010, might be a way forward for Pelto.  In New York, the Working Families Party expressed its discontent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and polling shows a candidate from that party could mount a serious challenge to the incumbent. However, the landscape in Connecticut may be different because those on the executive board of the Working Families Party have largely been satisfied with Malloy.

The Working Families Party has said it will consider every candidate that seeks its endorsement.

Pelto acknowledged the role he could play as a spoiler in the election by splitting the Democratic vote and paving the way for a Republican to win the state’s highest executive office. In 2010, Republican-turned-Independent Party candidate Tom Marsh received 17,629 votes on the Independent Party line. Malloy bested Republican Tom Foley by 6,404 votes in 2010 to win the office. Of the 567,278 votes Malloy received in 2010, some 26,308 were on the Working Families Party line.

Pelto said he was surprised to learn that Malloy, who hasn’t cracked 50 percent in any approval poll since taking office, decided to seek a second term. Pelto recalled having to talk with O’Neill to tell him that the numbers showed he could not win another election in 1990.

“I don’t know who advises this governor on his political situation, but I’ll tell you if you won by 6,000 votes and you have not picked up any ground and with every poll that’s done you’re stuck at 43, 44, 45 percent, it is a very difficult thing,” Pelto said. “Their mantra is going to be you have to vote for Malloy because the alternative is worse.”

He said now that Malloy has said he’s seeking re-election, he’s created a difficult situation for himself and the Democratic Party. “I don’t think he can win,” Pelto told House.

Pelto has been an outspoken critic of Malloy since the 2010 election when Malloy did not appoint him to his transition team. Some say Pelto felt snubbed and that’s when he turned from supporter to critic, but he says he’s not alone in feeling abandoned by a man he once supported.

“There was some fundamental change that took place when he went from Dan Malloy” to then being sworn in “as Dannel Malloy,” Pelto told House during the interview.

That moment was a symbolic one, but when “you look at education, higher education, his tax policies, his commitment to campaign finance reform and transparency you see a whole pattern that those of us who I guess you would call more liberal, more progressive would say ‘wait a minute that’s not the person we elected’,” Pelto said.

For Pelto, the change in Malloy during his first term was especially significant when it comes to education policy. Pelto has largely dedicated his blog to the issue of public school education and the mission to fund both primary, secondary, and higher education.

He said the cuts to public higher education have been the “deepest, most significant cuts to our public university in history.” Pelto represented the 54st House District, which includes the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

He said the state has shifted the burden of education onto the students who are paying a higher rate of tuition.

“What we’ve seen over the last four years is someone who has arguably become the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democrat in the country,” Pelto said.

He said Malloy’s decisions, when it comes to education, have a lot of people questioning whether they can afford four more years.

Describing Malloy’s administration, Pelto said he has a very small circle of advisers who are “pretty thin-skinned and they’re pretty vindictive so they don’t take very kindly to criticism.”

Malloy’s campaign declined to comment on Pelto’s performance Sunday.

Asked who he believes would be better for education, Pelto said he didn’t know if Republican Tom Foley would be worse for education than Malloy.

“I don’t know where Foley is going to end up on some of these issues, but I can tell you at least as far as a lot of teachers are concerned . . . there are a series of major problems,” Pelto said.

Pelto also appeared on Capitol Report.

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(32) Archived Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 28, 2014  6:55am

Run baby run. Working Families Party will take from Malloy. Where can I donate?

posted by: OutBackJack312 | April 28, 2014  7:45am


I agree, RUN!!!  OUr two options cannot be FOley and Malloy again!

posted by: PWS2003 | April 28, 2014  8:35am

The numbers are the numbers and it is Malloy who is the spoiler. He has spoiled the Democrat brand and he will lose with or without a possible campaign by Jon Pelto. Down ticket Democrats should be concerned for their election prospects and exert their influence on the party to dump Malloy and put forward a real Democrat from the mainstream of the party. The most recent Q.U. poll has Malloy down by 3 or 4 points and his favorability ratings are not good, so the Democrat Party should wake up and make the changes necessary to win in November. Jon Pelto is just the messenger willing to step forward with the truth in this situation and the Democrats would do well to take note and change direction or face their coming defeat.

posted by: art vandelay | April 28, 2014  8:43am

art vandelay

I can’t believe the Working Party is so upset w/Malloy that they want to run their own candidate.  I guess Malloy’s not “Left” enough.  Fantastic opportunity for the Republicans.

posted by: LongJohn47 | April 28, 2014  10:14am

Working Families will back Malloy.  The first bill he passed in 2011 was for paid sick days, which was their major issue.  That same year the budget included the Earned Income Tax Credit.  This year it was an increase in the minimum wage, another extremely important policy for the working poor.

Finally, Working Families, unlike some other liberal groups (e.g., the Green Party), is very pragmatic.  There’s no way they would help Tom Foley become governor, which is exactly what will happen if there’s a significant left-wing challenge to Malloy in November.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 28, 2014  11:04am

This guy is a major blowhard.

posted by: bob8/57 | April 28, 2014  11:36am


Just another washed up politician looking for his moment in the sun. Malloy, over any opponent, will win. Four more years!

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 28, 2014  11:41am

Someone made a great prediction on the radio a week or so ago.

Malloy gets down in the polls, Obama calls him to a Washington job, Nancy Wyman runs, and the Dems rule again because it’s harder to attack Wyman and she would get the womans vote.

posted by: Historian | April 28, 2014  12:14pm

What happened to his voice?

posted by: mookalaboona | April 28, 2014  1:04pm

Anyone but Malloy.  If Pelto cannot win as stated above, I’d rather have anyone else, but Pelto is my first choice.  He is the only one who will be for education, and the only one that makes any sense.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | April 28, 2014  1:18pm

“Their mantra is going to be you have to vote for Malloy because the alternative is worse.”

This is what I hear from every single Democratic politician and party person I speak to about the major issues with Dan Malloy when I tell them that just because he might get the endorsement of the teacher union leaders, he can’t count of votes from actual teachers. I took a teacher friend to a Writopia Lab YA panel with me yesterday, and tried the “alternative will be worse” line of reasoning out on her. Let’s just say it didn’t go over very well. Response: “If the best you can offer is ‘the alternative is worse’ then you’re not giving me a reason to vote for you.”

posted by: Stan Muzyk | April 28, 2014  2:36pm

@Joebigjoe: Nancy Wyman has been too quiet as a traveling companion and window dressing for Gov. Malloy to be considered as a serious candidate for governor. Pres. Obama has too many sinking anchor-heavy cabinet members already. He has no room for Malloy.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 28, 2014  3:20pm

@Historian - He’s always sounded like Elmer Fudd.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 28, 2014  4:01pm

Oh I dont know about that Stan. Know any other women that might run for office that even serious supporters can’t name one single important thing she has done, but in polls leads every possible Republican challenger?


Even though I would never vote for Hilary I would say its a done deal that CT would vote for her, so it’s not too far of a stretch that they would vote for Wyman. She is actually that can point to doing something in their career, has no scandals, and I get the feeling would not be the kind of person to tolerate what Bill Clinton did to Hilary for many years in terms of disrespecting their marriage and a number of women.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | April 28, 2014  4:26pm

Even if Pelto doesn’t run, both Dems that if Dem base and D-leaning independents feel this:“If the best you can offer is ‘the alternative is worse’ then you’re not giving me a reason to vote for you”, and they hate Foley too, getting them to the polls for ANY of the candidates in a non-presidential year is going to be tough. D’s should be thinking about the drag Malloy’s going to have on the other candidates.

posted by: Sue123 | April 28, 2014  6:43pm

As a Bridgeport teacher and union delegate, I know there are many teachers who won’t support Malloy, and will also will have issues with a union that does.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | April 28, 2014  9:32pm

Well, Pelto is certainly not wrong is much of what he says, but he does embellish a bit and quite frankly acts like a jilted lover - and i suppose he sort of is.

The points most important to take away from his interview have to do with the vindictiveness, and quite honestly nearly dictatorial nature, of the current administration.  And, of course, the totally and completely blundering attempt at education reform - that alone should drive thousands of votes away from the incumbent.

Pelto has no chance to be elected, but he can take solace in the theft of thousands and thousands of votes from the incumbent in what is sure to be a close race even without him.

So, we all have to ask ourselves: are we ready for the Connecticut version of Ralph Nader ........ we all remember the change in direction and history Ralph Nader had on our country.

Is it worth the risk?


posted by: state_employee | April 29, 2014  8:03am

I support a Pelto administration.  I’m not sure he can pull it off but I can tell you that most state employees will not vote malloy again.
Run Jonathan please.

posted by: Tim McKee | April 29, 2014  8:31am

Pelto will speak this Saturday May 3 about 2pm to the Green Party at the Portland Senior Center at 7 Waverly street. All are welcome.

Malloy does not deserve out vote!

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | April 29, 2014  12:03pm

HST - Genuine question: If we do end up with a Republican Governor (which I think is a serious likelihood whether or not Pelto runs and whether or not the candidate is Foley - in fact more likely if the GOP candidate ISN’T Foley)  would the responsibility lie with Pelto for being, in your eyes “the Nader” in the race, or with the Democratic party for choosing to renominate a deeply unpopular, deeply flawed candidate, who barely won last time and who has done his level best to alienate the very constituencies who helped him win?

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 29, 2014  12:20pm

I have no idea what pelto does for a living.

Is this a ploy to get an offer of a job in a new Malloy administration if he doesn’t run that would pay better than whatever it is he does now?

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | April 29, 2014  12:41pm

I can’t speak to that point, JBJ, but my question still remains the same, it’s a valid whether or not Pelto runs.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | April 29, 2014  2:44pm

Sarah, I’m not sure it’s the responsibility of either the Dems or Pelto. Just as W’s election wasn’t Nader’s fault, a new administration here would not be Pelto’s responsibility or fault.

It’s us. The voters. Enough of the left felt strongly that Nader was a viable choice, we learned he wasn’t even close, that votes were diverted and the outcome affected. All I am saying is that could happen here as well. Nader didn’t get any votes from the right and we know the result, Pelto won’t get many either .

It is us. We decide.


posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 29, 2014  3:40pm

@Mr. Pelto - Tell the Green Party that you support the legalization of *all* narcotics.  That’s all they care about.  Apparently, legalization of drugs solves *all* problems.

posted by: PWS2003 | April 29, 2014  5:53pm

This not about 2000. If you know the numbers it was five votes that elected W, and not Nader. All Malloy has to do to lose this election is to lose a little more than 1% of the vote he achieved in 2010, and you can’t tell me after all of the wrong- headed things that this administration has done, that they will not lose that amount. He is toast and a large number of down ticket candidates will join him. Jon Pelto can not change this, Malloy can not change this, Obama can not change this, all Malloy and the Democrats can do is watch as their election prospects evaporate. The next Quinnipiac poll will tell the story, and if they include a viable third party candidate it will be much worst, but even without a third party candidate he is toast. The most recent Q poll has Malloy down 3 to 4 points and that is equal to 40K to 52K votes. Look up any successful retired politician in their 80’s or 90’s, if you are lucky enough to know one, and they educate you about the numbers. CT Democrats will lose in 2014, and no amount of gimmicks and the buying of votes will change that fact. All Jon Pelto is trying to do is save the CT Democrats from this lose.

posted by: art vandelay | April 29, 2014  10:00pm

art vandelay

Personally I’d love to see Pelto run.  It would divide the Democratic Party so a Republican would be guaranteed victory come November. The Working Party would do to the Democrats what the Tea Party is doing to the Republicans.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 29, 2014  10:33pm

@PWS2003 - Great math.  Love the made-up stats.

posted by: Tim McKee | April 30, 2014  9:42am

@Not that Michael Brown,,,what are u on?? all they care about??  look up the word ,,“troll”

posted by: PWS2003 | April 30, 2014  1:17pm

Sorry, old poll, I stand corrected until new data is published.

posted by: LongJohn47 | April 30, 2014  1:32pm

Art—Pelto is not Working Families. Read my earler post.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | April 30, 2014  2:06pm

@Tim McKee - From the CT Green Party platform, “The Green Solution: Legalize, Medicalize, Decriminalize”

posted by: Stan Muzyk | April 30, 2014  2:26pm

@NottthatMichaelBrown:  Your dislike for Jonathan Pelto is noted—but was it necessary to call him a “Major Blowhard” and “Always Sounding like Elmer Fudd?”

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