A fellow Democrat is suing Democratic party-endorsed candidate for governor, Dan Malloy for slander. A reading of the charges show them to be specious and the timing of the suit raises eyebrows.

The lawsuit was filed by former congressional candidate Lisa “Lee” Whitnum. Back in 2008, she was fighting now-Congressman Jim Himes for the Democratic nomination for congress. Malloy was backing Himes and at a press conference, referred to Whitnum’s criticism of a pro-Israeli group and US aid to Israel as anti-Semitic. Whitnum said she made statements that were truthful, not anti-Semitic.

Malloy is standing his ground—a good move. The lawsuit is a nuisance, probably designed to distract Malloy from his momentum-gaining campaign for governor. There is a little thing called the First Amendment that allows Malloy to express his opinion.

Malloy took the high road in responding to the slander suit, just saying it will be handled. But one has to wonder why Whitnum brings this now, just as Malloy has qualified for public financing and is hanging in there against his rival for the nomination, Greenwich millionaire Ned Lamont. Lamont has spent millions of his own money but has failed to pull away from Malloy, who has spent nothing on TV ads yet.

What is Whitnum’s motivation? Did anyone encourage her to file this suit? Why now?—all pertinent questions. Malloy, for his part, would be smart not to spend any time on this and just continue to build his Big Mo’.