No Need for Malloy Allies to Get Bent About Drew

Let’s face cold political fact: Gov. Dannel Malloy is not going to run for a third term. And if he does, he’ll lose. That isn’t written on the wall in hieroglyphics. It’s written in big, bold, block letters…with a Sharpie. So it is really just silly for Malloy’s pals to get bent out of shape by the announcement that Democratic rising star Middletown Mayor Dan Drew has opened an exploratory campaign for governor.

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Here are several reasons why it is perfectly responsible and smart for Drew to make the move he did:

  1. Qualifying for public financing in Connecticut is an extremely difficult and time consuming task. Drew would have to raise $250,000 in amounts of no more than $100 each. There’s no time to lose should he decide he wants to go forward.
  2. Malloy’s approval rating hovers right around that of the governor of Michigan and he poisoned his own people’s water. Malloy’s popularity isn’t going to increase any time soon with a $1.7 billion budget deficit looming next budget year.
  3. Republicans are already circling the Capital. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has opened a statewide exploratory committee as has Peter Lumaj who pushed Democratic Secretary of State Denise Merrill to the brink in 2014. That year’s Republican state treasurer candidate Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst is also interested. Add in former state Senate Republican Leader John McKinney who ran in 2014 and the current GOP Senate Leader Len Fasano, among others, and you have a cavalcade of candidates trying to break Democratic hold on the state’s top office.
  4. Despite being a successful young mayor (38), Drew does not have statewide name recognition. He needs to get started early to introduce himself to the voters. He can’t wait around for Malloy to decide he doesn’t want to end his career with a loss in a third-term effort.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (l) and Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (l) and Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Malloy allies need not be concerned with Drew’s statement announcing his move. They apparently seem to feel snubbed by the following from Drew: “For too long, government has been focused on helping the people at the very top, while those in the middle are left behind. Connecticut can and must embrace the big ideas and bold changes we need to improve the lives of the people of our state: a dignified retirement for every senior, a great education for every child, and good-paying jobs for every worker.” That’s not anti-Malloy language. It’s boilerplate Democratic language.

Drew isn’t questioning Malloy’s progressive credentials. He is simply stating what his priorities would be. There’s a big difference. “I called him [Malloy] to let him know. He was very courteous and classy. He was very professional. I appreciated the opportunity to speak with him,” Drew said told CTMirror.org.

So where does the Democratic State Central Committee stand on all this? Like with just about everything else, it’s hard to tell. Executive Director Michael Mandell issued a mealy mouthed statement. “As a party, we are squarely focused on re-engaging and re-activating our grassroots network for crucial municipal and special elections this year,” Mandell said. “That said, we will have the necessary infrastructure to mount a strong campaign on the state and federal levels in 2018 and hold the Republicans supporting Donald Trump’s extreme agenda accountable.” Yeah, that clears things up.

It’s very early to be handicapping 2018. But the thought here is Drew is a very attractive candidate—young, successful as a mayor now in his third term, a beautiful family and extremely popular.

Malloy folks should chill out.