With the latest revenue projections doing too little to offset the size and scope of the state’s budget deficit, it’s likely the nine special elections, which will be held just six days after Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget address, could hinge on the proposals he presents.
By all accounts it looks like Malloy will use a mix of spending cuts and tax increases to close a more than $3.7 billion budget deficit, but Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy said a few consolidations of state agencies and some tax increases on the wealthy aren’t going to cut it.
He said some of the messages Malloy has been sending are mixed. Healy said he supports his move toward Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, but doesn’t understand why Malloy is “politicizing the debt situation,” by saying New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie is manipulating the bond markets.
“It’s a very confusing statement,” Healy said referring to this report by the New London Day.
But overall Healy, who believes Republicans will do well in several of the special elections, is taking a wait-and-see approach to Malloy’s budget address.
“We’ll see what words and phrases he uses because so far what he’s said is eerily similar to what the public employee unions have been saying,” Healy said Monday. “Let’s see what he puts on the table for state employees.”
Some have opined that the timing of Malloy’s budget address will be bad for Democratic candidates who will be asked what they think about the budget proposal in the days leading up to the Feb. 22 special elections.
But Malloy said Monday afternoon that he hasn’t been asked to delay his budget address until after the Feb. 22 special elections.
“I’ll give the address whenever I’m told to give the address, but I thought it was the 16th,” Malloy said. Asked if he’ll campaign for the candidates running for the vacancies, Malloy said, “I’ll be for them or against them whatever they want.”
Many of the vacancies were created by Malloy when he appointed lawmakers to his administration.
House Speaker Chris Donovan said he hasn’t heard any conversations about postponing Malloy’s budget address until after the special elections.
“It will be Feb. 16,“ Donovan said Monday.
As for supporting the Democratic candidates, Donovan said Malloy was out Sunday evening in New Britain stumping for Theresa Gerratana, the Democratic candidate running for former state Sen. Donald DeFronzo’s seat. DeFronzo was nominated by Malloy to head the Department of Administrative Services.
“While we don’t have a chance to pick up any seats I’m confident we’ll keep the ones we have,” Donovan said.
He said he didn’t believe Malloy’s budget address will impact the special elections one way or another. He said he’s confident all the candidates will be able to respond questions about their support or opposition to the ideas presented in that budget.
The only seat Democrats can safely count on maintaining Feb. 22 is former Rep. John Geragosian’s seat in New Britain. Healy said the one disappointment he had was being unable to find anyone to run against Robert Sanchez in the 25th House District.
But Healy said he thinks Republicans have a good shot at all three senate seats and a good shot at most of the House seats, including former Rep. David McCluskey’s seat in West Hartford where Democrats nominated Joe Verrengia, a town councilor who switched his party affiliation in 2007. Verrengia will run against Republican Alan Hoffman, who held the seat briefly in 1995.
Republicans even found a candidate, James Keyser, to run for former Rep. Chris Caruso’s seat in the heavily Democratic city of Bridgeport. Keyser will face Democratic nominee Rev. Charlie Stallworth in that race.
In Essex Republicans nominated Janet Peckinpaugh, the former news anchor who challenged U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney and lost. Peckinpaugh will face Essex First Selectman Phillip Miller in the race to replace former Rep. James Spallone’s seat.
In places like East Haven Republicans again nominated Linda Monaco, who lost to Rep. Michael Lawlor in last year’s election. Monaco will face Democratic candidate James Albis.
In Meriden Republicans again nominated Len Suzio, who ran and lost to former Sen. Thomas Gaffey by 5,131 votes. Thomas Breunn, a retired Meriden school teacher and school board member, was nominated this weekend to run as the Democratic candidate.
In a House district that covers Madison and part of Guilford, Democrats nominated Joan Walker and Republicans nominated Noreen Kokoruda.
In 6th Senate District, Democrats nominated former state Rep. Theresa Gerratana to run against New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart, for former state Sen. Donald DeFronzo’s seat. Click here to read more about that race.
And in the 27th Senate District previously occupied by Andrew McDonald, Democrats nominated state Rep. Carlo Leone and Republicans nominated Bob Kolenberg, a member of Stamford‘s Board of Finance. The Green Party nominated Rolf Maurer making it a three-way race.