The Shad has certainly seen a lot in my many years in politics. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a candidate pull a nutty with the highest elected official in the state. Voters and a solid contingent of the state’s media witnessed just that today in New Haven. Petitioning candidate Kermit Carolina went cra-cra and got up in the face of Gov. Dannel Malloy. Malloy was in New Haven to support state Sen. Toni Harp, the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate (I am consulting on the Harp campaign).
It started out as a typical election-day scene. Voters were moving in and out of the Lincoln Bassett School in New Haven (Ward 20), casting their ballots for their favored candidate. Supporters of the candidates were outside urging support for theirs. Malloy was poll standing with Harp.
The media was there to interview Harp and then ask Malloy why he got involved in the race. He said he supports Harp because she has the experience and the intelligence to move New Haven forward. The reporters then took Malloy aside to ask him about the rather strange news conference in which Republican Tom Foley entered the race for the governor. Melissa Bailey of the New Haven Independent captured what ensued.
Those issues out of the way, Malloy was chatting with Harp and random voters were coming up to them to say “Hi.” Out of nowhere came Kermit Carolina who proceeded to badger Malloy with question after question. “Why don’t you let the people decide? Why do you have to get involved?” and finally, “We’ve had homelessness for a long time, and I didn’t see you. We’ve had poverty in this city, and we haven’t seen you. Why now? Is it because of your political interests?”
Just when Malloy was starting to calmly explain why he supported Harp, the 20-year veteran state senator stepped in front of Malloy and asked Carolina, “Why haven’t you been up the state [capitol] and actually advocated?”
It was quite impressive on Harp’s part especially because she is among the more even-keeled and level-headed of any politician with whom I’ve worked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her angry. But she was certainly unhappy with Carolina making a spectacle of himself in front of the governor.
Malloy ended the whole scene by telling Carolina, “If you win the Democratic primary [today], I’ll support you.” There’s very little chance of that happening.