HARTFORD, CT — One of the three Democratic attorney general candidates issued a debate challenge last week.
Former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei called for five debates, one in each Congressional District, before the Aug. 14 primary.
Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield said he was happy to accept the challenge and debate his Democratic opponents.
With a gubernatorial contest that seems to be getting all of the attention, Doyle said the attorney general candidates are usually asked to answer similar public policy questions when the job for attorney general is very different from the job for governor.
The attorney general is the top lawyer for the state and its agencies. The office mostly defends the state in court. It also receives recommendations from the Auditors of Public Accounts regarding whistleblower complaints and has a consumer privacy and anti-fraud unit, which may provide informal mediation services to assist consumers who are unable to resolve an issue on their own. It can also when necessary seek to revoke or reduce a public pension, if a municipal or state employee has misused their office.
The seat for attorney general opened up when Attorney General George Jepsen announced last November he wouldn’t seek a third term. Jepsen succeeded U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who served in the office for 20 years.
Rep. William Tong of Stamford, who received the Democratic Party’s endorsement, at the convention, said that he’s “happy to debate.”
Following a Capitol press conference in which he called for the office to create a civil rights division, Tong said he’s “happy to talk substance, happy to talk people’s records in public service.”
Last Thursday, Tong said his campaign would be issuing a letter soon in response to Mattei’s challenge.
Tong responded to Mattei by proposing a topic for each of the five debates.
“I believe that each debate should have a clear issue focus to ensure that they are substantive and impactful,” Tong wrote in his response.
The topics he suggested include gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, civil rights, economic justice, and the role of the attorney general’s office.
As of Monday, no dates or venues have been decided yet.
Sue Hatfield, a state prosecutor and former registered nurse from Pomfret, and former Rep. John Shaban of Redding are running for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Hatfield is the endorsed Republican candidate.
There also have been no debates scheduled yet on the Republican side.