This past Thursday’s endorsement of New Haven mayoral candidate Toni Harp by Gov. Dannel Malloy was everything that’s right about political campaigns. It was fun, inspiring, energetic, at times spontaneous, and important.
The Shad is not quick to criticize cynics since I am one on many things. But it’s hard to be cynical about democracy after witnessing this old fashioned political rally. Gov. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and a host of other elected officials gathered outside Nica’s Market with a couple hundred of Harp supporters for the endorsement (disclosure: I am consulting on the Harp campaign).
Truth be told, both the governor and Harp had prepared remarks with them. But just as is the case with many of the most inspirational speeches, both tossed aside the written comments in favor of addressing the crowd extemporaneously. Also unrehearsed were the chants of “Toni!” “Toni!” After the event was over, it took a particularly long time for the governor and the candidate to exit the area—lots of hands to shake and backs to slap.
The other candidates in the race seemed pretty upset that Democrat Malloy would weigh in on a Democratic primary. They offered various theories about why Malloy was there—it as about his reelection bid or it was about special interests. The real reason was not very complicated. Toni Harp has been delivering for New Haven for 20 years in the state Senate. She has a track record, a record of accomplishment, a record of experience that the others not only can’t match but obviously envy.
It seemed a bit like a homecoming for The Shad. Besides Malloy, Wyman, and Harp, on hand were the irrepressible Department on Aging (and former state senator) Edith Prague and state Sen. Joe Crisco.
If the last three weeks of the primary campaign are any like the last three, this will be fun.