Pelto’s ‘Education and Democracy Party’ should be Named ‘Status Quo and Malloy Foe Party’

Former state Representative and now myopic Malloy hater Jonathan Pelto is reportedly filing papers by the end of the week to form a third party to run for governor. Pelto’s three-and-a half-year jihad against Gov. Dannel Malloy is taking on epic proportions. Nothing will stand in his way in his quest to hurt or even destroy Malloy. It’s scary and dangerous.

The genesis of Pelto’s single-minded pursuit of everything Malloy began when Malloy was taking office in 2010. Pelto clearly expected to be a part of the Malloy administration or at least a part of the transition from the administration of Republican Jodi Rell to Malloy’s new Democratic governorship. Not only was Pelto not asked to participate, two Republicans were on the transition team (including Ross Garber who was former Gov. John Rowland’s lawyer).

To add insult to injury, Malloy’s top advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso simply dismissed Pelto as a non-player. “No one cares what Jonathan Pelto thinks,” Occhiogrosso at the time. “He posts some comment on Facebook. Who cares? If some guy in the Midwest posts something about the Malloy transition team on Facebook, is that newsworthy? The fact that he’s reduced to making comments on his Facebook page proves his status in the Democratic Party.” Ouch. And so Pelto’s loathing of Malloy began.

The must-read columnist for Terry Cowgill observes that Malloy’s perceived snub and Occhiogrosso’s total diss of Pelto can’t possibly be the only reason Pelto spends all the space in his blog attacking Malloy. He’s right. It’s also a case of Pelto taking care of the hand that feeds him. Firmly ensconced in the pocket of the public employee unions particularly the teachers, Pelto is able to constantly look past what is best for the students in favor of what’s best for the unions. There is no stronger status-quo protector when it comes to education than Mr. Pelto.

It seems not to matter to Pelto that Connecticut has the highest achievement gap in the nation or that it has an abysmal graduation rate. Pelto says he fears the “corporatization” of public education in the state. The Shad may be alone in this but if “corporatization” results in the best education and best preparation for all students in the state, let the corporatization begin.

Some of the statements Pelto made on the WNPR radio show, “Where We Live” recently are laughable. He said that he will run for governor only if he can win—he won’t run as a spoiler to Malloy that results in Republican Tom Foley becoming governor. First, even if he gets on the ballot, he has absolutely no chance of winning. Second, his past positions and statements show he has no problem with a Republican governor if he gets to take down Malloy in the process. (Pelto once said he wished he could take back his vote for Malloy in 2010 and vote for Foley. He subsequently walked back that statement when he and I debated on “Where We Live.” He also gave some life to the statement by Rowland that Malloy was a “pathological liar” by saying it depends on what your definition of “pathological” is.)

Pelto says he can get 35 percent of the vote as a third-party candidate. He’s delusional. He casts himself as a “moderate liberal” and not an extremist. I’m not sure what scale he is using but the fact he is an extremist, a polemic, a gadfly.

The sad part of all of this is that Malloy won the 2010 election over Foley by less than 7,000 votes. I don’t doubt Pelto can cobble together a few thousand votes from labor and entrenched teachers.

Anyone who can meet the thresholds set by law has a right to run for any office he person chooses—that’s the beauty of our Democracy. But potential candidates should consider what their candidacies mean practically speaking. But that won’t happen when the candidate in question has only one goal—to hurt the incumbent.