It’s an election year. You can tell because of the always-plentiful amount of prevarications, fabrications and outright lies. Usually one has to wait to until the fall before naming the worst deception. However, this year, we may already have a winner: “I’m not here to be a spoiler.” Those are the words of Jonathan Pelto, the former state representative, newly declared gubernatorial candidate, current defender of the failed state public education system and all around Malloy hater. He knows his statement is untrue and most Democrats know it as well. It remains to be seen whether Pelto can accomplish his goal—the defeat of the Malloy even if it means Connecticut gets a Republican governor.
Let’s get something out of the way immediately: Pelto or anyone else who can qualify has an absolute right to run for any office. But the people of Connecticut should be aware of the practical ramifications of each candidacy so they can make an informed choice.
A bit into the Hartford Courant article about Pelto’s entry into the governor’s race he makes the statement, “…Democracy has repercussions. What we’re going to witness here in Connecticut are the effects of a democratic system.” So at least we know Pelto is fully aware that he could throw the election to Republican Tom Foley (or Mark Boughton or John McKinney).
The irony of it all is that Foley, if elected, would likely take a machete to the state workforce, the very people the “populist” Pelto claims to want to protect. Let’s not forget that back in 2010 as the GOP nominee, Foley promised to close the $3.5 billion state budget deficit without raising taxes. That had the state public employee unions shaking in their boots. By extension, Pelto’s spiteful campaign should do the same.
Politicians are usually advised they need to give voters a reason to vote for them, not just against someone else. Pelto comes right out and says his candidacy is based on hoping people vote against Malloy. He talks of “The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel ‘Dan’ Malloy’s re-election” in his blog. That’s kind of sad and indicates a sort of pathological grudge-holding combined with a dangerous protect-the-status-quo position on public education.
The Shad has recounted a number of times the original reason Pelto became such an anti-Malloy zealot. It started with a snub and an admittedly harsh dis three and a half years ago by Malloy and his top advisor respectively. Shortly after Malloy’s election in 2010, he chose a transition team that included hard-core Democrats and two Republicans (John Rowland’s former attorney Ross Garber and Waterbury attorney Gary O’Connor). The music stopped and not only did Pelto not have a chair, he wasn’t even in the room. He has never gotten over it.
To add insult to injury, Malloy’s guy Roy Occhiogrosso was brutally honest in assessing Pelto’s hissy fit over being excluded. Pelto said at the time, “Why are two of Rowland’s closest advisers and confidants added to Malloy’s transition team today?…I don’t get it. There are extraordinary Democrats who are left off while key positions are filled with people whose track record — when it comes to ‘good government’ — are beyond repair…what the heck is going on?”
Occhiogrosso struck back, “No one cares what Jonathan Pelto thinks?…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].” Them’s fightin’ words! It’s been game on for Pelto ever since.
When I debated Pelto on WNPR’s “Where We Live” radio program in 2011, I had pointed out that in the prior two months, Pelto had posted 50 entries on his blog and 42 of them were beating up Gov. Malloy for one thing or another. It seemed such a myopic pursuit of someone couldn’t get worse. It has with Pelto’s gubernatorial run.
Pelto’s long-winded rants against those who seek to close the tragic achievement gap in the state’s public education system rarely mention the students. It’s always about the teachers and maintaining their current status. Pelto’s self-declared, “Education and Democracy Party” would accurately be described as “The Status Quo and Malloy Foe Party.” Pelto calls Malloy, the “most “anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.” First, he can say it until he’s blue in the face but it won’t change the fact charter schools are public schools. They’re just public schools that do things differently and refuse to continue the system’s failing ways. But again, it’s not about the kids for Pelto.
Pelto must be pleased with the fact that syphoning off even one percent of the vote from Malloy in November could throw the election to Foley—Malloy would be out and that’s all Pelto really cares about.