Ned Lamont, the Greenwich businessman vying for the gubernatorial nomination on the Democratic side, will not participate in a televised debate scheduled for later this month.
The debate sponsored by the New London Day and WTNH News 8 at the Garde Arts Center has become a tradition in the Connecticut political landscape.
“To say we are disappointed with Mr. Lamont’s decision to avoid a live televised debate before an audience of 1,500 primary voters in New London would be an understatement,” said Gary Farrugia, publisher of The Day, in a written statement announcing the debates.
Former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination, said he’s more than disappointed in Lamont’s decision than Farrugia.
“This debate is a tradition,“ Malloy said. “It’s a chance for voters to see and hear each candidate only days before heading to the polls. It’s when primary voters are most tuned in and most ready to hear from candidates about their values, their experience, and their vision. And Ned Lamont is denying them that chance. What a shame.”
Lamont did participate in a televised debate hosted by NBC 30. After that debate he was asked whether he would participate in any more debates before the primary and he said, “we’ll see.”
Lamont’s Communications Director Justine Sessions said Tuesday that her candidate thought his time was better spent talking to voters.
While that might sound contradictory seeing as how the debate will be televised consider the ratings during the last June 22 debate between Malloy and Lamont.
The New London debate is being aired on WTNH’s sister station, WCTX MyTV9, on a Tuesday, the same day as the NBC 30 debate was televised, which means chances are it will be beat in the ratings again by Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, and Two and a Half Men. Even Judge Judy received more of a share of the ratings on June 22 than the NBC 30 debate, which received two shares beating out only the PBS News Hour.
However, the New London debate draws an audience of about 1,500 voters. There was no audience in attendance for the NBC 30 debate, which was held in the news station’s West Hartford studios.
The three Republican candidates for governor have agreed to the July 28 debate.
Tom Foley, a former U.S. ambassador and the winner of the Republican convention endorsement; Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, a former state representative and businessman from Stamford; and R. Nelson “Oz” Griebel, a former bank executive and leader of the Metro-Hartford Alliance will participate in the July 28 debate.