New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Republican challenger Tom Foley believe there are enough voters in Connecticut upset with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his historic tax increase to catapult Foley to victory Tuesday.
“There’s a lot more energy on our side for a change of direction,” Foley said Monday. “People are very unhappy in Connecticut.”
Foley and Christie, the biggest Republican name to travel to Connecticut on Foley’s behalf, capitalized on that message Monday during the New Jersey governor’s fifth visit to the state.
“The thing that bothers me the most about Malloy is that he just hasn’t told you the truth,” Christie told supporters gathered at Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks.
He was referring to Malloy’s statements in 2010 about tax increases being a last resort. That year, Malloy refused to take a pledge not to increase taxes in the face of a $3.67 billion deficit, which amounted to about 18 percent of the state’s revenue.
“Well, the last thing happened very quick, didn’t it?” Christie said. “. . . This is an awful, awful thing that he’s done.”
Christie added, “Dan Malloy has lied to you for four years. He does not deserve to be re-elected and when you put Tom Foley in the job he will tell you the truth and make the hard decisions.”
Christie told the friendly crowd he wished he could make the invitation to vote for Foley with dinner, candy, and flowers “but there’s only 24 hours left, so there’s no time for romancing you people.” He urged the crowd to go home and email their friends and family and tell them “you’re working for Tom Foley.”
But even Christie admitted the trick will be getting those voters to the polls in a mid-term election.
“Listen, this race is going to be won or lost based on if people are happy with Gov. Malloy and his record and being lied to and taxed a lot or whether they want a different direction,” Foley said Monday at Bobby V’s in Windsor Locks.
The Foley campaign has made about 60,000 calls to voters per day for the last few days for a total of 600,000 calls. But some of those calls may have been made twice, Foley said.
They also tried to identify between 15,000 and 20,000 voters who don’t typically vote in mid-term elections and had local Republican Party officials reach out to them, Foley said.
As far as the cities like Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport where Malloy won big in 2010, Foley said he anticipates that he will get an additional 2,000 votes this year from each of those cities.
“We’re not going to win them, but net we’ll do 2,000 votes better,” he added.
As for the undecideds, Foley said he thinks they’re going to stay home Tuesday.
“Those who do make up their mind, they’re always going to favor going to the non-incumbent,” Foley said. “Because they’ve had three-and-a-half years to decide whether they like Gov. Malloy and his policies.”
Foley said Christie’s visit isn’t going to make a difference in the outcome of the race, but Christie and the Republican Governors Association have been very helpful the race. The RGA started a PAC and has contributed more than $5.5 million to the race. The PAC raised about $2 million in addition to that and spent most of the money on television ads opposing Malloy.
Foley said it’s hard to say how much third-party candidate Joe Visconti’s decision to suspend his campaign Sunday will impact the race. A Quinnipiac University poll, which was essentially completed before Visconti’s announcement, would suggest that his announcement won’t have much of an impact.
“It’s hard to say because you have a hard time understanding how much of his vote was just a protest vote in a poll verses how many people are just going to travel to a polling station to register a protest vote,” Foley said. “I think it will be far less than he was polling in the polls.”
Ian Sams, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party, said he thinks both parties are returning home to their bases, but that the Democrats have a “superior voter turnout operation”
“Tom Foley’s best strategy is less turnout,” Sams said Monday near the entrance to Bobby V’s.
Generally, mid-term elections benefit the Republican Party because of voter demographics and lower turnout.
However, Sams said the Democratic Party has been focused on increasing voter turnout through improving its get-out-the-vote operation. In addition it spent resources to bring President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former President Bill Clinton to the state to excite the party’s base.
“The bottom line is if people come out to vote, we win,” Sams said.
Malloy held rallies Monday evening in New Haven and Stamford.