You could kind of see it building. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy looked increasingly agitated as Republican challenger repeatedly questioned his honesty and integrity. Foley even dropped in a reference to a corruption probe of Malloy from years ago. Then with about 10 minutes left in the contest, Malloy threw down.
“I’m not the person who was fined by the elections commission this year $16,000. I’m not the person who failed to disclose to the FBI that he’d been arrested,” Malloy fumed. “I’m not the person who didn’t tell the full truth about the incidents involving a woman in a car that you struck five different times at rates of speed going 50 miles an hour.” Malloy was referencing an incident that has dogged Foley since he got into politics from the relatively safe world of fundraising for President George W. Bush.
Foley pushed through, saying the corruption investigation was fair game for discussion since Malloy was bringing the road rage incident from Foley’s past. “You know that people don’t get investigated if there isn’t a lot of reason or suspicion. Just because people aren’t charged with things, doesn’t mean it didn’t actually happen, they just couldn’t get the proof.” The investigation, done while Malloy was mayor of Stamford, ended with Malloy being cleared of any wrongdoing. The prosecutor in the case at the time noted Malloy’s full and frank cooperation.
Up until the personal attacks, the debate, sponsored by the Hartford Courant and FOX-CT TV and held UConn, was fairly predictable with Malloy defending his administration and Foley attacking it. The forum had centered mostly on economic issues. Malloy contends 60,000 private sector jobs have been created since he became governor. Foley disputes that number and says Malloy has been handing out corporate welfare without seeing any job creation in return.
As far as substance, Malloy pointed to his record so voters could judge—good or bad—how he has been doing and whether or not he deserves a second term. Foley continued his m.o. of offering vague platitudes with not real specifics or details.
Malloy scored major points on the issue of gun control in the after mass of the Sandy Hook massacre. He accused Foley of wanting to repeal the measures, something Malloy said he would never do. Foley was caught in a word game when he said the governor was wrong, that he never said he would repeal it but did say that if a repeal bill came to his desk as governor he “wouldn’t veto it.” Huh?
The contest has been labeled as one of the least positive races in the country. With last night’s brawl, there’s no reason to think it will get any better. After the verbal scuffle, Foley suggested a truce between the two. That was a bit ironic since it was Foley who first got personal, basically calling Malloy a liar right from the start.