Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy took a victory lap Wednesday afternoon in the Old Judiciary room of the state Capitol. The room was packed with labor activists and commissioners from his various agencies who chanted “four more years,” as Malloy walked into the room.
Malloy, who captured 51 percent of the vote in a tight rematch with Republican challenger Tom Foley, said Foley called him around 12:30 p.m. to say “they had kicked the numbers around and it was apparent that I had won.”
Was the tone of his concession congratulatory tone?
“I didn’t have my graciousness meter with me on the phone call,” Malloy said. “It was an appropriate phone call where he expressed that he had looked through the numbers and come to the conclusion that he should call me.”
But did he congratulate him?
“I think he did,” Malloy said.
The margin of victory for Malloy was bigger this year than it was in 2010. Malloy beat Foley 547,273 to 519,925 votes. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti who suspended his campaign two days before the election to help Foley received 11,295 votes.
A reporter pointed that Malloy didn’t win by a landslide and wondered if he would reach out to Republican lawmakers.
“Listen, uh… we won an election,” Malloy said. “And I’m willing to work with anybody who is willing to work with me.”
Not unlike four years ago, Malloy will resume office staring down a billion budget deficit. The figure is about half the size of the deficit Malloy faced when it took office in 2011, but it’s still a large hole.
“We’re going to tackle it the same way we’ve always tackled it,” Malloy said. “That’s very earnestly with an eye on what is the ultimate prize and that’s growing the state’s economy.”
“I don’t see any new taxes,” Malloy said.
Malloy refused to take a no tax pledge during the 2010 campaign because he feared a $3.67 billion deficit would be too big to face without the option of tax increases. He won re-election Tuesday despite implementing the largest tax increase in the state’s history.
An unpopular governor, Malloy’s approval rating has never been over 50 percent. And yet he received 51 percent of the vote.
“I understand that we had to do some really tough things that only in context could be fully understood,” he said. “And the context was provided in the election process, and I’m very grateful the people of Connecticut decided to re-elect me.”
Malloy was in a good mood Wednesday.
Asked if his style of governing would change in a second term, Malloy told reporters “I’ll probably wear more jeans.”
The response received applause from the audience.
“You might even see me in sneakers,” Malloy joked before taking a more serious tone.
“We had four really tough years, and again I think that we had to do some really hard things and I think the election was the context in which that ultimately was measured and the reality is I won this office with substantially more votes…a larger plurality than I did previously,” Malloy said. “Actually, I have a majority.”