Despite the millions of dollars being spent on the 2010 campaign, U.S. Rep. John B. Larson told a group of Working Families Party canvassers Thursday that this election, like previous elections will be won “doing it the old fashion way. By get ‘em out to vote.”
In a year where the Tea Party has energized a base of conservative voters, it’s important to make sure the Democratic base is just as enthusiastic about their candidates, Larson said.
Larson welcomed this weekend’s visit by President Barack Obama, who will stump for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and other candidates in Bridgeport. On Sunday former President Bill Clinton will speak at the University of Hartford on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy. It’s his second trip in little more than a month to the state.
Larson said the two visits are extremely important and will hopefully eliminate any enthusiasm gap that exists within the Democratic base.
“This is that important,” he said referring to the two presidential visits.
Larson has his own ideas about how best to use the president and the former president to drum up enthusiasm just days before the election.
Deploying Clinton to the West Hartford campus wasn’t necessarily the best use of his time, Larson said. “I hope we’re able to get him to New Britain or Waterbury,” said Larson. “I don’t have a lot to do with it, but I hope he makes it to the Fifth District.”
In the Fifth District U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy is facing a challenge from Republican state Sen. Sam Caligiuri and the last public poll in the race showed Caligiuri up by five points over the two-term incumbent.
A visit by Clinton would help give Murphy a boost, Larson said. But he maintained that both the Fourth and the Fifth Districts were important races.
The Working Families Party, which has cross-endorsed all the Democratic incumbents running for Congress including Larson, may help push candidates like Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, over the finish line this year.
In 2008 the Working Families Party ballot line received 83,000 votes statewide. Himes alone received 9,130 of those votes, which helped contribute to his margin of victory over former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays.
The Working Families Party doesn’t spend any money on fancy fliers or expensive television ads, but it’s engaging voters by knocking on doors.
Jon Green, executive director of the Working Families Party, said his group of volunteers has already knocked on 20,000 doors this election cycle and plans on knocking on several thousand more before Tuesday.
“Three hundred and sixty-five days out of the year, there’s no way for ordinary Americans to compete with the hundreds of millions spent on lobbying by special interests,” said Green. “But there’s one day out of the year when the opinion of a Wall Street executive matters exactly as much as the opinion of the guy who shines his shoes at the train station.”
The party, which supports candidates with positions that tend to lean Democratic, doesn’t always cross-endorse the Democrat in the race. But of the 90 endorsements in the state legislative races all but one, Sen. Len Fasano, R-East Haven, is a Democrat. An additional three are running solely on the Working Families Party ballot line.
The candidates that received a cross-endorsement will appear twice on the ballot, one next to a major party and once next to the Working Families Party ballot line. The vote for the candidate on either line only counts once.
Green said support for the party doesn’t necessarily come from liberal Democratic bastions. He said a lot of their support comes from suburbs such as East Hartford, West Haven, Milford, Trumbull, and a handful of towns in the Naugatuck Valley, which don’t historically lean Republican.