Before he arrived to give the Working Families Party volunteers a five-minute pep talk, the head of one of the state’s largest unions and a local state representative reminded the crowd of all the progressive things Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did during his first term.
From raising the minimum wage to making Connecticut the first state to implement a paid sick days law, Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4 and state Rep. Ed Vargas, reminded the crowd of about 50 volunteers huddled in the second floor offices of the Hartford headquarters why they need to support Malloy.
“There couldn’t be a bigger difference between these two candidates,” Luciano said, referring to Malloy and his Republican challenger Tom Foley. “One cares about working people. The other knows how to lay them off.”
Malloy, who was wearing a dress shirt and jeans Wednesday, told the group that this election will be “won on the streets or lost on the streets. That’s the reality.”
“It’s neck-and-neck,” Malloy said. “Whoever gets more of their supporters to the polls, wins.”
Malloy was cross-endorsed again this year by the Working Families Party. Foley, for the first time, was cross-endorsed by the Independent Party. Four years ago, the Independent Party ran former Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh who received more than 17,000 votes.
In 2010, Malloy won the election by a slim margin of 6,404 votes. His name appeared on ballot lines for both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party. That year, Malloy received 26,308 votes on the Working Families Party line.
How big of a difference will a cross-endorsement make this year?
“Every vote counts the same no matter what line it’s on,” Malloy said Wednesday.
The Working Families Party says a vote on the party’s line “sends a message that voters want them to take a stand on important issues affecting hard-working people. It is a protest vote that actually counts.”
Trying to downplay the significance of his name appearing twice on the ballot, Malloy said both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party worked hard to get him elected four years ago and are working just as hard this year.
“We have built a ground game we are very proud of,” Malloy said. “We are communicating with our voters. We think we’re going to get them to the polls. That’s what this election is about in the next six days.”
When he received the Independent Party endorsement in August, Foley walked back statements he made in 2013 when he blamed his loss to Malloy partly on the cross-endorsement, which allows a candidate’s name to appear twice on the ballot.
“If Gov. Malloy was not allowed to be listed by the Working Families Party, I would have won the election,” Foley testified at a legislative hearing in 2013.
But he walked back that statement in August.
“I’ve never felt that way,” Foley said on Aug. 19. “I actually thought I probably lost net 2,500 votes.”
He said he thinks Marsh pulled votes from both Democrats and Republicans in 2010. He thinks Marsh didn’t spend much money on the race so people really didn’t know who they were voting for. He said the voters who voted for Marsh just didn’t like him or Malloy.
This year, Foley and Malloy are sharing the ballot with petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, who, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, would receive 7 percent of the vote if the election were held today. Visconti’s support over the past two weeks has dropped from 9 percent to 7 percent. Among unaffiliated voters his support has dropped from 16 percent to 14 percent, and 75 percent of those polled still don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
The poll also found that even without Visconti, the race between Malloy and Foley is within one point.
“A poll is a poll, is a poll, is a poll,” Malloy said Wednesday. “The only one that counts is November 4th.”