Ned Lamont, who spent close to $9 million of his own money on a failed gubernatorial primary campaign, continued to praise the public financing system Wednesday at a taping of WNPR’s “Where We Live.”
It was his first media appearance since losing the Democratic primary to Dannel Malloy.
“What’s particularly important about public financing and why I’m such a strong supporter is it gives more people an opportunity to compete,” Lamont told a crowd at Central Connecticut State University’s Torp Theatre. “I think you have an opportunity for more challenging races and more debate going forward.”
Having said all of that Lamont opted not to use the public campaign system during his gubernatorial campaign.
“Because you have to have a level playing field,” Lamont said. “The Republicans were opting out, Tom Foley was opting out.” He said Linda McMahon, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, was spending tens of millions of dollars on getting the Republican message out there.
Asked by WNPR’s John Dankosky if it was worth it, Lamont replied, “I think it’s the best investment I could have made. I really do.”
He said a lot of politicians were dancing around the edges of issues and none of them were addressing the problems as he saw them.
“My wife and I have worked hard. We’ve made some money. You can buy a house, you can buy a yacht, or you can invest in making a difference in the future of your state. I’m proud of what we did,” Lamont said.
Lamont, who defeated U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in a Democratic primary in 2006 before losing in a general election, was slightly self-deprecating when talking about his failed gubernatorial bid.
“If I don’t give you a reason to get out and vote, I deserve to fail,” Lamont said referring to the low voter turnout in the August primary.
Lamont admitted after the taping of the program, which will air on WNPR Friday at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., that his internal polls showed him winning, but his numbers were based on a 32 percent voter turnout. It was closer to 25 percent.
Since losing the primary Lamont said he spent a few weeks up in Maine reconnecting with his family and has been down to the Kennedy School of Government to teach a few courses. He’s gone back to being the chairman of Lamont Digital Systems and is also teaching part-time at CCSU.
Asked if he’ll be back on the campaign trail anytime soon, Lamont said is willing to help whoever asks and has plans to campaign with Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.