Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking the electorate to look at his entire record when they go to the polls in November.
Outside TOMZ Corporation, a 95,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Berlin, Malloy was asked about the decision to include Nicole Hockley, a mother who lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in his latest campaign ad.
“Listen, you’ve got to look at what elections are,” Malloy said Tuesday. “I have a record. It’s a record I’m proud of, having faced five natural disaster declarations and Sandy Hook. I think people need, or I would ask that they put it all in context.”
He added: “It’s been a tough number of years with a great challenge in the economy to boot and you know people will have to make a choice. There’ll be a clear choice.”
The ad, which began airing this week, appears one week before the Republican gubernatorial primary.
Within hours of being posted on Youtube Monday, the commercial had prompted user comments accusing Malloy of “shamelessly” politicizing a tragedy. In a statement, Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. accused Malloy of “exploiting” Newtown.
Malloy made no apologies for the campaign ad.
“We’re going to begin getting our message out from now until Election Day,” Malloy said. “We have a great story to tell about the choice that has to be made.”
It’s still unclear at this point if Malloy will debate Sen.John McKinney or Tom Foley. Nevertheless, he said he’s willing to participate in a number of debates.
Typically, an incumbent tries not to have too many debates, Malloy admitted. However, Malloy said he’s willing to have a “number of debates and discussions throughout the state.”
Back in 2010, Malloy called for 17 debates during the Democratic primary against Ned Lamont. The idea was to have a debate in every town with a daily newspaper.
In 2010, there were at least two televised debates between Malloy and Foley and dozens of forums and discussions prior to the election where Malloy beat Foley by less than 1 percent of the vote.
“Whichever Republican wins, I look forward to having a thorough discussion of the issues in a debate format. Final number to be decided, but certainly I’m going to be accepting a lot of invitations,” Malloy said Tuesday.
He said the public will be getting “definitive answers from me just as you have every day that I’ve been governor.”
The comment was a criticism of the vagueness regarding Foley’s statements on the state budget and exactly how he would balance it. Foley has said he would keep spending flat for two years, not raise taxes, and be able to plug the estimated $1.278 billion budget hole with efficiencies.
Malloy doesn’t believe there will be a deficit and he believes he has a good handle on keeping spending below 3 percent.
“We don’t face a deficit,” Malloy said back in June after the deficit numbers were released by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. “The deficit projections on the same services budget would require that we increase spending by 7.78 percent. You don’t believe we’d do that, nobody believes we’d do that.”
He added: “Nobody, no party, no politician is going to advocate that we increase spending by 7.78 percent. It’s a ridiculous number.”
Although Malloy insists the estimates are based on unrealistic spending assumptions, he often points out that he inherited a $3.6 billion single-year budget deficit from his predecessor. That number is based on the same projection methods, which predicted a $1.278 billion deficit in the next fiscal year (FY 2015/16).
“This is an election with a very clear choice to be made,” Malloy said.
Malloy was at the TOMZ facility in Berlin on Tuesday to announce a $711,533 loan from the Department of Economic and Community Development Manufacturing Assistance Act. The loan carries a 2 percent interest rate for 10 years. About half of the loan will be forgiven if the company meets its job retention and creation targets. It currently has 123 employees and plans to add 30 more.