(Updated) While some delegates were vocal with their support of this year’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates many remained silent.
Ned Lamont, a Greenwich cable executive, and former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, the two frontrunners in the race, had plenty of visible signs, stickers, and supporters at the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner Monday evening.
But even as candidates made their pitch and schmoozed with delegates many of those delegates showed no signs of support.
Sporting a “Blumenthal at last,” button that he made four years ago, Nick Paindiris of Glastonbury said he strongly supports Lamont for governor.
“I’m for the winner,” Paindiris said.
But he realizes that not everybody has chosen their candidate just yet.
“Nobody wants to be on the wrong side…that’s why support is soft,” Paindiris opined.
“While I still believe that party support for most candidates is soft, my support for Ned Lamont is not soft,” Paindiris said.
As for the Democrats in general, “We’ve been in the wilderness for 20 years. We’ll support whoever the nominee will be.”
Lamont didn’t disagree. He said when he goes around to Democratic Town Committee’s he hears from delegates who love that he stood up to U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in 2006, they like his message on creating jobs, and his executive experience. However, they wish they had seen him more during the four years between his primary win and his decision to run for governor in 2010.
“It’s a big wait and see attitude,” Lamont said.
“I don’t think a whole lot of people believe you should be able to buy the office,” Malloy said when asked about what he’s been hearing from delegates.
Malloy has government experience and Lamont has executive experience.
“I want to run it like a great government,” Malloy said. “I don’t want to pretend we’re something we’re not.”
Former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan ventured a guess that Malloy would walk away with 60 percent of the 1,800 delegates. He said Lamont and Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman would split the rest.
With the convention about a month and a half away “it’s still a wide open race,” Glassman said. “Don’t count me out.”
Not a fan of the primary, Sullivan said he thinks primaries often make it harder for the Democratic party to win a seat in the executive branch.
“We don’t really need a primary,” he said.
However, it looks like a primary is inevitable.
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, a gubernatorial candidate himself in 2006, said he hasn’t made a commitment. He said he’s going to wait and see who the New Haven Democratic Town Committee supports.
How does it feel attending the event as someone who is not seeking higher office?
“Much better. It just feels much better,” DeStefano said.
Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, who dropped out of the governor’s race in February, said he would have loved to have been part of Monday’s activities. He said he had to make a decision and running for governor was “a total long shot.”
Had he held a municipal office and not a state Senate seat, LeBeau said it may have been different, since he “would have nothing to lose.”
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi announced Monday that he was officially entering the race by forming a candidate committee. And Juan Figueroa who will begin collecting 20,000 signatures to petition his way onto the ballot was there Monday too. Figueroa said he doesn’t need the delegate support because he won’t be participating in the convention, but he hopes some of the delegates will sign his petition.