Two gubernatorial candidates and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will address the Working Families Party on Saturday as the party prepares to make its endorsements.
Party officials say that every year the Working Families Party looks at the records of every candidate, regardless of political party, and endorses the ones who will most effectively build political power for working and middle class families and the unemployed. In addition, the party will collect extensive questionnaires from each candidate, hold interviews, and survey the party’s membership.
Malloy, who was endorsed by the Working Families Party in 2010, received 26,308 votes on the Working Families Party ballot line that year. Those votes were added to the 540,970 he received on the Democratic ballot line and gave him the 6,404 margin of victory he needed to defeat Republican Tom Foley.
Malloy’s support of Paid Sick Days, which he was able to get passed during his first term, was a big part of why the Working Families Party supported him four years ago. But this year Malloy has some competition from a third-party candidate who leans further to the left of the political spectrum.
Jonathan Pelto, who formed the Education and Democracy Party, is trying to collect the 7,500 signatures he needs to get on the ballot.
Last week, Pelto was not allowed to speak at the AFL-CIO’s convention in New Haven.
“While I appreciate that reasonable people can disagree when it comes to politics and a number of union leaders have already committed to Malloy, the AFL-CIO leadership’s decision to refuse to allow me to speak to the delegates responsible for endorsing a candidate for governor is insulting and flies in the face of the democratic principles that are purported to be among the core values of unions,” Pelto said.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Lori Pelletier told reporters earlier this week that she was comfortable inviting only major party candidates.
“The reality is I don’t like that we have a two-party system. I wish it was different. But the playing field is what it is. The fact is, it’s going to be a major party that wins. Until that changes — we have some change in that electorate — then I am perfectly comfortable with how we decided to invite the candidates to come to this convention,” she said.
Malloy has already snagged AFT Connecticut and the UAW’s endorsement for the 2014 campaign.
In addition to Malloy and Pelto, Sen. John McKinney, who is running for the Republican nomination, also will be speaking at the event and seeking the party’s endorsement.
In 2010, Tom Marsh, who had been a Republican candidate for governor, snagged the Independent Party endorsement. That party tends to lean to the right of the political spectrum. Marsh received 17,629 votes on the line.
In 2012, U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon sought the endorsement of the Independent Party so she could appear on the ballot twice.
The Working Families Party generally does not run its own candidates at the state level, but has thus far cross-endorsed Democratic candidates. The party’s executive board includes the heads of many of the state’s most powerful labor unions.
The forum starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 21 at the Carpenters Local 24 Union Hall, 500 Main St., Yalesville.