State Comptroller Nancy Wyman could have easily walked into a fifth term as the state’s chief fiscal officer, but she decided to take a risk and become Dannel Malloy’s running mate.
The move, which comes about week after Malloy’s Democratic opponent Ned Lamont announced First Selectwoman Mary Glassman would be his running mate, is a “game changer,” according to many Malloy supporters.
Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, D-Tolland, said Wyman has a long term relationship with the voters of the state and is a “trusted leader.” As a resident of Tolland, she also brings “nice geographic balance” to the ticket.
“I don’t think there is a better pick out there than Nancy Wyman,” Hurlburt said.
Marcella Fahey of Coventry agreed.
“Eastern Connecticut just loves her,” Fahey said. “She’s accessible and that’s very important to people.”
Malloy, who has been campaigning almost since his failed bid for governor in 2006, has had his eyes set on Wyman for at least the past two years. Wyman admitted Tuesday that she thought about the decision over the weekend, but only made up her mind about joining the ticket Monday. Sources say Wyman told her staff, many of whom were a little shocked, about the decision on Monday.
“The way our state has been run is a problem and who year after year, quarter after quarter, month after month had the clarion call to say that we had to change direction. That we had to have government that was more sustainable. Who did that? Who knows more about that than…” Malloy said. The crowd gathered on the east side of the state Capitol responded by shouting “Nancy Wyman.”
By joining Malloy on the ticket he admitted that Wyman is giving up what is “giving up what is absolutely a safe bet.” He said she could have been comptroller for the rest of her life, but “she has decided that the future is more important,” Malloy said.
Wyman returned the compliments.
“Dan is a remarkable individual. A man who has a vision. Who has the understanding. Who has a heart. Who understands this state has to be changed. He understands fiscal responsibility,” Wyman said as she went off script. “Dan understands it. Dan understands we have to change the way we’re doing government.”
“We are not a business. We are a service organization. We are here to service the people of this state,” Wyman said.
“Right now Connecticut needs bold leaders. Leaders that will stand up and tell the people the truth and lead in this state,” Wyman said. “Dan Malloy is the one to do that.”
Malloy supporters believe Wyman will bring more than just Democratic delegates to the May 22 convention. As someone who has held statewide office for 16 years, Wyman brings not only name recognition, but unaffiliated voter support and a strong fiscal background.
Earlier this year as the state’s revenues continued to decline, Wyman often joked that she wasn’t invited to speak many places because she was often the one who had to break the bad news when it came to the state’s budget woes. In a year when the state was facing a $500 million deficit in fiscal year 2010 and a more than $700 million in fiscal year 2011, Wyman has said she was receiving invitations to speak with more conservative groups about her budget predictions.
Prior to her election as state Comptroller Wyman served as state representative of the 53rd district in Tolland, currently represented by Hurlburt. As a member of the legislature from 1987 to 1995 she chaired the Education Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee on elementary and secondary education.
In 2007 she led a private donation drive to create a Wall of Honor to pay tribute to the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has also been involved in raising money for breast cancer research and has chaired the American Heart Association’s Greater Hartford Heart Walk, and of the National Kidney Foundation of Connecticut’s annual gala.