(Updated 7:20 p.m.) Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy accepted the endorsement of the Working Families Party Monday, which means his name will appear twice on the ballot. It also means he’ll get a little extra help on the campaign trail from dozens of volunteers.
The votes cast for Malloy on the Democratic ballot line will be added to those cast on the Working Families Party ballot line.
The support and the endorsement of the Working Families Party, which leans to the left of the political spectrum, is significant in an election year which has been dominated by the Tea Party movement on the right.
In 2008 the Working Families Party endorsement helped U.S. Rep. Jim Himes unseat Republican Congressman Chris Shays.
Jon Green, executive director of the Working Families Party in Connecticut, said more than 9,000 votes cast on the Working Families Party line helped Himes pull away from Shays on election day. Without the Working Families’ votes, “it would have been an awfully close race,” he said.
This year the party set a goal to knock on 60,000 to 70,000 doors in support of the candidates the party has endorsed, Green said.
Republican Raymond Baldwin was the last gubernatorial candidate to receive a cross-endorsement back in 1938. Baldwin won.
In 2008 more than 80,000 votes were cast on the Working Families Party ballot line, and while it has been successful in electing its own candidates to local office, it’s been even more successful in cross-endorsing candidates that embrace the party‘s ideals.
Malloy and his running mate Nancy Wyman received the endorsement Monday outside the Pond House Café in Elizabeth Park.
Louis Lista, owner of the Pond House Café, said Malloy’s decision to embrace paid sick day legislation says “a lot about his courage and a lot about his values.”
Paid sick days was an issue that differentiated Malloy and his Democratic primary opponent Ned Lamont. It’s also a difference between him and Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley.
“Here in Connecticut we know firsthand that change will not happen until we have a governor who is committed to the issues and the values of middle class working families,” Julie Kushner, co-chairwoman of the party, said Monday. “We know we won’t agree with candidates 100 percent of the time, but we look at the issues regardless of the party.”
Asked whether he embraces a proposal by the Better Choices coalition, which includes the Working Families Party, Malloy said “I didn’t come here to accept every proposal they may have embraced, but to move the state forward.”
How helpful will the endorsement be?
“We’ll listen I’m here. I wanted it. I interviewed for it. I don’t know exactly what that does with respect to what I hope is our margin of victory,” Malloy said.
GOP Chairman Chris Healy disagrees.
“The only thing missing in this endorsement was calling Dan Malloy, ‘Comrade Malloy’,” said Healy. “The Working Families Party is nothing more than a collection of has-been leftists who have figured out how to game the Elections laws to give Dan Malloy another spot on the ballot.”