Today, a day before Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee meets to select 54 delegates to send to the state convention in May, the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates – New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy – visited the Capitol City.During their visits Malloy was endorsed by Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez at City Hall, and DeStefano kicked off his campaign at the Old State House. Malloy said Perez’s endorsement will go a long way toward winning delegate support. Perez has promised Malloy a “majority” of Hartford’s delegates. New Haven Mayor John Destefano Jr., right, and State Rep. Toni Walker.
“I’m out chasing delegates right now and the mayor knows that,” Malloy admitted. Hartford sends the third largest number of delegates, 54, to the state convention, which decides who’ll get the opportunity to challenge Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November. But, the number of Hartford delegates both candidates receive Tuesday may have more to do with local party politics than their platforms.Perez and Malloy were flanked today by Hartford Democratic Town Committee Chairman Noel F. McGregor and City Council Majority Leader, rJo Winch, who attended to show their support for Stamford’s mayor. But at least four Hartford state representatives – Marie Kirkley-Bey, Minnie Gonzalez, Art Feltman, and Douglas McCrory – have pledged their support to DeStefano.Many have speculated Perez’s endorsement will carry a lot of weight, but others aren’t so sure since support for Perez isn’t consistent with support for Malloy. Kirkley-Bey, whose town committee supports Perez, said this should have nothing to do with politics or retribution for previous decisions. She said her support for DeStefano is a “personal preference,” based on who she thinks will be the best candidate to challenge Rell. She said the town committee members and the delegates need to pick the candidate that they think is best for the city and state of Connecticut. “We need to do what we believe is right,” she said.