He won a spot on the ballot by gathering 11,000 signatures, but should Independent gubernatorial candidate Tom Marsh be included in the debates?
Marsh, the first selectman of Chester who initially entered the race as a Republican and later changed his affiliation, said he’s currently speaking to debate organizers to make sure he’s included.
“I’ve been vetted. I’ve been through the process. I should be there,” Marsh said Thursday.
At first blush, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy said he didn’t think Marsh should be included in the debates, but later changed his mind.
“I hadn’t thought about it to tell you the truth,” Malloy said Wednesday after a tour of the Connecticut Science Center. “No not really.”
“Tom’s a nice guy don’t get me wrong and I suppose if he passes some sort of threshold I suppose it makes sense,” Malloy said. “Maybe I shouldn’t say not really. I hadn’t thought about it.“
“If the debate organizers include him then that’s great,” Malloy’s campaign consultant Roy Occhiogrosso said Wednesday afternoon when he called to clarify Malloy’s position.
“It is up to debate organizers to decide who is involved in the debates, but Tom will participate regardless of who is invited,” Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley’s campaign said Thursday.
Marsh said that he’s not demanding inclusion, but feels he’s done the work necessary to make himself relevant and viable. However, he also admits “I can be troublesome for both of them because I’m comfortable giving a little bit more detail.”
Marsh, a local elected official, said he’s far from a fringe candidate. And he reasoned that since voter turnout was so low in the primaries there’s no strong, solid support behind either of the major party candidates.
Marsh even recalled a June 10 debate with all six of the gubernatorial candidates when Malloy turned to him and said he’d get his chance to debate after the primaries.
Malloy’s campaign sent out a press release Wednesday touting his acceptance to participate in eight debates.
The invitations Malloy has accepted to date include three debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters, as well as ones hosted by the Courant and Fox61, The New London Day and News Channel 8, the University of Connecticut, NBC30, and a coalition of Chambers of Commerce in Southwestern Connecticut.
Foley’s campaign felt the press release may have been a little premature. While Foley isn’t shying away from debates, a campaign spokeswoman said she finds it “odd” Malloy would agree to these invitations without first discussing the details with the Foley campaign.
“I find it odd that the Malloy campaign would issue this release when they have ignored our repeated phone calls to discuss this very matter,“ Osborn said. “Connecticut needs a Governor that is willing to discuss the critical issues facing our state, not a someone who is willing to play games with these serious issues.“
Occhiogrosso said Thursday that Malloy’s campaign headquarters gave the Foley campaign his cellphone number, but they haven’t called.
“They are free to call Dan Kelly or me anytime,” Occhiogrosso said.