Gov.-elect Dan Malloy has made headlines with every announcement he’s made about permanent appointments to his administration. More will follow today when he names state Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) and influential political operative Roy Occhiogrosso as new additions.
A Malloy insider confirmed to The Hanging Shad last night that the two joining Team Malloy is a done deal. The story was originally reported on the blog of former state Sen. Kevin Rennie. Malloy is scheduled to make the announcement today at noon at Government Center in Stamford.
McDonald will be legal counsel to Malloy but his duties and power will obviously be extensive. Occhiogrosso, who engineered Malloy’s primary and general election victories this year, will be involved in communications but he too, will likely have broad influence.
The moves are bold ones for both political veterans. McDonald is widely considered to be “leadership material” in the state senate with some caucus members even thinking he would at some point replace the current senate president, Don Williams (D-Brooklyn) should Williams leave for any reason. He is also a successful attorney at Pullman & Comley in Stamford where he is a litigation partner.
Occhiogrosso would also leave a successful career. He is a partner at Global Strategy Group. A long-time political operative, Occhiogrosso’s stock has risen substantially since heading Malloy’s successful campaign. He was the chief strategist for the governor-elect in both the bruising primary campaign against multi-millionaire Ned Lamont and the very tight win over Republican Tom Foley in the general election. Occhiogrosso was basically the voice of the Malloy wins with quick retorts to opponents’ criticism.
Blogger Rennie is already questioning whether Malloy’s staff will be able to work together given the fact that all of them have been in charge at their workplace to one degree or another. Malloy will likely be asked about the workplace dynamic at the announcement today.
(Full disclosure: As communications director for the state Senate Democrats, I worked closely with McDonald for more than five years. And when I joined the caucus staff, I succeeded Occhiogrosso and have remained in close contact with him. I consider both friends.)