Tong Wins Democratic Endorsement, But Faces Primary
HARTFORD, CT — State Rep. William Tong won the Democratic Party’s endorsement in a brutal, four-way race for Attorney General.
Tong, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was unable to deny his co-chairman, state Sen. Paul Doyle, access to the ballot. However, he succeeded in getting Clare Kindall, an assistant attorney general, to give up her campaign and release her delegates. The two paraded around the convention floor and held hands to send a message to delegates.
But Tong failed to clinch the endorsement outright on the first ballot. He received about 43 percent on the first ballot, Doyle received 15 percent and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei received 33 percent. Delegates gave 63 percent of their support on the second ballot to Tong and around 36 percent of the vote to Mattei.
Before the second ballot, Doyle, who won enough support to qualify, released his delegates to the remaining candidates: Mattei and Tong.
The race between Mattei and Tong was heated. Delegates for Tong and Mattei felt passionately about their candidates. Many paraded around the convention floor holding signs and chanting.
Tong told the nearly 2,000 delegates that for the first time the Democratic Party nominated an Asian-American for a statewide office.
He thanked the party for the diversity of its candidates.
“So many of us right now in this country, in this state, with this president and this Congress, feel like we have a target on our backs,” Tong said. “They’re coming after us and we have to fight back.”
Tong thanked his supporters and opponents when he took the stage and tried to pivot to focus on the Republicans who nominated Susan Hatfield, a state prosecutor and Trump delegate in 2016.
“I will be the first and last line of defense to protect our way of life in Connecticut,” Tong said. “Let me say to them, if you think you’re going to ride a wave of hate and bigotry and remake our world, then you’re going to have to come through me and all of us, and we are not afraid of you.”
Last week, Hatfield reminded delegates that it’s been 64 years since a Republican has held the office of attorney general. She also said she would crack down on so-called “sanctuary” cities and illegal immigration. She’s going to face a primary from former state Rep. John Shaban of Redding.
The office of the Attorney General deals with civil lawsuits filed against the state and its agencies. It also handles whistleblower and consumer complaints.
When Susan Bysiewicz ran for the position in 2010 she filed a lawsuit against the Democratic Party after a legal blogger said she wasn’t qualified. That led to the Connecticut Supreme Court decision, which defined what “substantial legal experience” meant.