Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday he was happy to have two of his Republican rivals — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — coming to Connecticut to support his opponent, Tom Foley.
Malloy and Foley are locked in a close rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial race. Jindal and Christie will stump for Foley at separate events within the next month. Both events will raise money for the Connecticut Republican Party.
Jindal will make a fundraising stop at a private residence in West Hartford on Oct. 17 and Christie will appear with Foley at a retailer in Stamford on Tuesday.
Asked about the events Monday, Malloy said he was happy to have the two men supporting his opponent.
“That’s a dynamic duo right there,” he said before criticizing both governors. “I’m all for it. It reminds people of who Tom Foley hangs out with.”
Malloy said New Jersey has had its bond rating downgraded nine times under Christie’s tenure and Jindal has publicly opposed raising the minimum wage. About 72 percent of voters in Connecticut support increasing the minimum wage, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in May.
In a phone interview, state Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. defended both governors, calling Jindal a “visionary” working to eliminate the income tax in his state and saying Christie has been saddled with a legislature controlled by Democrats. He said the Republican Governors Association was committed to defeating Malloy.
“We are fortunate to have two strong Republican governors willing to visit Connecticut to help us secure this victory,” he said.
Labriola said his party’s fundraising activities were transparent compared to the fundraising efforts of state Democrats, who typically do not comment on their fundraisers. Malloy was in California last week raising money, but the party declined to offer details.
“Unlike Dan Malloy’s secretive trips to New York City and Hollywood to raise money to run deceptive and misleading attack ads against Tom Foley, our party is open and upfront about our fundraisers. After all we are the party of the people,” he said.
Malloy has engaged in high-profile dust-ups with both Jindal and Christie during his first term.
Christie and Malloy have a longstanding rivalry and have verbally attacked each other on national political talk shows. At a July campaign stop, Christie vowed to play an active role in helping Foley defeat Malloy.
“I know Governor Malloy is thrilled I’m here today and I know he’ll be thrilled when I come here again and again and again,” Christie told reporters at a diner in Greenwich.
Christie also serves as the chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association. The organization has bankrolled a Super PAC called “Grow Connecticut.” The PAC has spent more than $2.2 million on television commercials opposing Malloy.
Malloy’s feud with Jindal stems from a National Governors Association press conference outside the White House in February. During the press conference, Jindal was critical of President Barack Obama and his call for states to raise their minimum wages. Jindal said the policy was “waving the white flag of surrender.”
Malloy, who this year signed a bill raising Connecticut’s minimum wage, looked uncomfortable as Jindal was speaking. He took the microphone after and pushed back on the Republican.
“What the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week?” Malloy said. “I mean, that’s the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.”
The exchange received national attention and Obama visited Connecticut soon after to commend Malloy for his efforts to raise the minimum wage.