Malloy’s acceptance speechThough he was the underdog walking into the Democratic gubernatorial contest, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy pulled ahead Saturday when he received four more votes than New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. The final vote count was 799 for Malloy, and 795 for DeStefano. The number of votes needed to qualify is 785.Confident he would receive a majority of the votes Saturday, it became apparent early in the day that DeStefano had misjudged his support. As the votes started rolling in, the DeStefano team began to look worried.
After the first vote was over it seemed DeStefano was ahead by three votes, but the challenges and changes started pouring in over a period of more than three hours. Right: Rep. Toni Walker defends DeStefanoWindsor Democratic Town Committee Chairman Leo Canty said he had never seen a convention this close.The delegations from Norwich, Branford, East Haven, Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford were a few of the towns to initiate challenges to their first votes. As the challenges continued, DeStefano supporters started shouting “Don’t be bullied” to Malloy’s campaign who they said were using aggressive tactics to get delegates to flip. Malloy supporters denied any involvement in aggressive tactics.Convention crowdEast Hartford delegate Marc Weinberg, said he didn’t see any arm twisting Saturday. He said what he saw was “one beautiful fight” that exemplified “democracy at its best.“State Rep. James O’Rourke, D-Cromwell, said he had a hard time deciding between the two “equally matched” candidates. When it came time to choose, O’Rourke said he went with DeStefano, who he knew better than Malloy. “The relationship made the difference,” he said. When asked after the final vote tally what happened, DeStefano said, “some politics.” He said he doesn’t plan on challenging the final outcome in the endorsement process because “the agenda for Connecticut is not about the last five hours.” “It’s about giving the voters a choice in November,” he said.Canty said any challenge to the convention process would only benefit Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who has a huge lead in the polls against both Malloy and DeStefano. He said it’s clear that whatever happens in the final vote count neither candidate can claim convention momentum.In 1994, the last time two gubernatorial candidates – William Currey and now Congressman John Larson – squared off, Larson walked away with the party endorsement and Currey won the primary. Ned Lamont, who will challenge U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the August primary and share the ballot with the two mayors, stopped by the convention Saturday. When asked which one of the two he supported, Lamont acknowledged the closeness of the contest by replying, “Are you nuts?“Lamont’s instinct was accurate because it became immediately clear after the first delegate count that neither candidate received a majority of the vote. The Malloy and DeStefano campaigns reacted to the slim margin in the contest by parading around the Hartford Expo Center in search of delegate challenges. Once the final tally was announced, the red, blue, and white partitions were dismantled and the delegates began to clear out. But before they did they endorsed the candidates for lieutenant governor.Following Malloy’s acceptance speech, DeStefano announced to a gaggle of reporters that his running mate would be West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka. DeStefano, confident he had the endorsement before the convention, hoped to ask Malloy to join his ticket and unify the party, but things didn’t work out as planned. Malloy claims victory despite challengesOn Thursday, Malloy announced that Mary Glassman of Simsbury would join him on the ticket as lieutenant governor. Sources say Glassman, the former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, was fired this week by Sullivan when she told him that she accepted an invitation to join the Malloy ticket. Sullivan is a staunch DeStefano supporter. Other published accounts say Glassman resigned.Click here , here, and here to read the New Haven Independent’s staff report on the convention madness. Read what some of the bloggers like Connecticut Local Politics , My Left Nutmeg, CT Blog, and the conventionblog have to say about Saturday’s convention.