Left to right: Sean Whitson, Steve Kanaras, Rachel Lieberfarb, Adam PlankWith his race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against New Haven Mayor John DeStefano still too close to call late Tuesday, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy made what was almost a concession speech at the Hartford Hilton.Malloy, who appeared to trail DeStefano by less than 1 percent long after the polls closed, was emotional and gracious in accepting what might turn out to be a defeat once a final count sees the light of day. A recount is statutorily required if the margin falls within one half of 1 percent. But published reports later put the difference at 1.54 percent, with a final vote total of 134,944 to 130,826 in DeStefano’s favor. But with that question unanswered, Malloy thanked his supporters and staff and congratulated his running mate, Mary Glassman, who won her race for Lt. Governor against Scott Slifka by a 14 percent margin.
Malloy spoke for a few minutes and then took the time to hug just about every one of the more than 200 people who packed the ballroom as he departed.“It appears that my friend and colleague John DeStefano has won a victory this evening,” Malloy said. “We don’t know what the final numbers are, and therefore are not in a position to solidify that in any way other than to say the simple fact that it appears, as I appear before you tonight, that he has done that.“Malloy continued: “If he has done that, then I certainly want to congratulate John DeStefano.“If DeStefano does pull through to win, Malloy said, “it is incumbent upon us as Democrats to rally together to make sure a Democrat is elected in November. There is no doubt that Connecticut needs new leadership.“Malloy then went into some of his campaign talking points in the spirit of party unity while also taking aim at Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s leadership, saying that “when your state ranks dead last in job production and job growth, it’s time for a change.” He said the same of the state’s electricity rates and gas prices ranking amongst the nation’s highest, and as he did so the crowd repeatedly answered over him, “It’s time for a change.” By the time he finished by saying that the state had converted an affordable public higher education system into one of the most expensive in the nation, the crowd responded again, “It’s time for a change.” This time, Malloy replied, “I think you’re getting it.”Malloy told the crowd that “if we are to do that which we are required to do, to make the state a better place, it is time for a change,” and he continued, saying that “if John DeStefano is to lead us through that change, then you can be assured that I will be working with him as well.“Malloy then called Glassman an outstanding candidate and individual, and said she deserved her resounding victory.Malloy’s campaign suffered early when Stamford Republicans accused his staff of campaign finance improprieties—accusations that turned out to be false and for which Malloy’s people said everyone was exonerated. But because of that, the campaign was unable to raise money for several months last year.However, Campaign Manager Chris Cooney said that the down time did not turn out to be a factor, because they made up the gap this year and overcame a 20 percent deficit in the final three weeks to run a nearly dead heat in Tuesday’s primary.