GLOVES COME OFF IN AN UNLIKLY RACE: COMPTROLLER

If politicos in the state had been asked last month which statewide political primary race would be the first to get a bit nasty, few would have said “state comptroller.” Democratic party endorsed candidate Kevin Lembo is being challenged by Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura who secured more than the required 15-percent of convention delegates to qualify for the primary.

In announcing his plans to run in the August 10 primary, Jarjura wrote, “On August 10, the voters of Connecticut can choose between an entrenched political insider or Mike Jarjura who will bring experience and proven leadership ability to help restore financial stability to the Connecticut economy.” Lembo was understandably upset at being called “an entrenched political insider”—it still seems odd that government experience is somehow a negative in this year of supposed anti-incumbent fervor.

Lembo’s campaign fired back that, speaking of economic development; it was Jarjura that hired former Governor John Rowland as Waterbury’s economic development czar when he completed his prison sentence for corruption.

Jaujura and Lembo each had another slam in them before the exchange this week was complete. Jarjura tried to somehow connect Lembo to the state’s financial mess (Lembo was an assistant comptroller before becoming health care advocate). And Lembo’s people countered by pointing out Jarjura’s connection to the conservative Family Institute of Connecticut.

At least in this exchange, Jajura had the name of the office correct.

Jarjura is picking a strange fight here. The party backs Lembo as does outgoing Comptroller Nancy Wyman. He is also universally well-liked and worked harder than almost any candidate when he was running for lt. governor. At least in this exchange, Jajura had the name of the office correct.