Herbst Messing with the Wrong State Senator; Flexer an Independent Rising Star

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst impressed many when he came within whisper of defeating state Treasurer Denise Nappier (50.9 percent to 49.1 percent) in 2014 in a campaign in which Nappier ran and hid, agreeing to just one debate that ended with an off-camera kerfuffle. But any view of Herbst as an up and coming, potential candidate for governor is gone. His vicious attack against a quiet corner state senator reveals him to be a two-bit hatchet man trying to score points with statewide Republicans.

Herbst is trying to Willie Horton Democratic state Sen. Mae Flexer, an independent, strong voice for women and the underprivileged. Flexer is not afraid to speak out and go against the grain—and even members of her party—when necessary. She is young, accessible, thoughtful and in it for the right reason. (Full disclosure: I worked with Mae in the Senate Democratic Caucus. I know her not just reputation but by working alongside her.)

Herbst, who is seriously miscalculating in his attack on Flexer, is using a political action committee he started (TIMPAC—talk about being full of oneself) to pay for an ad that viciously attacks Flexer for her support of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Second Chance Society initiative and he vote to repeal the death penalty. It claims Flexer “rubber stamps” Malloy’s wishes.

There are so many examples of Flexer being unafraid to buck her party and/or Malloy it’s hard to know where to start. She is a solid Democrat but she tells like it is.

The latest and very clear example of Flexer being anything but a rubber stamp is her appearance before the Norwich Bulletin editorial board. In making the point that funding for human services must be preserved, the Bulletin wrote, “Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, was particularly fiery, calling the executive branch ‘obstinate’ and saying, ‘I don’t think we can trust the administration to make the right choices going forward, and I think we need to not give them that power.’” Not exactly Malloy rubber stamp material.

Also to be considered is that Flexer doesn’t fall in line with her party when there’s been wrong doing. Case in point is back in 2013, state Rep. Ernie Hewitt, a Democrat, made a crass, sexually suggested remark to a teenager during a legislative hearing. Flexer was a lone voice calling him out.

It’s sad that Herbst and TIMPAC have chosen to go the Willie Horton route just to try to build support from Republicans for his gubernatorial run. He is clearly trying to get a leg up on Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, his likely Republican rival for the nomination.

Quiet Corner Dems won’t be fooled by the nasty, hit ad on Mae Flexer.