ROCKY HILL, CT — “Probably not,” was what Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont said when asked if he would support Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim should Ganim win the Democratic primary.
Earlier in the debate, Lamont had tiptoed around the issue trying not to give a direct answer.
“I’m gonna win this election,” Lamont insisted. “Elections have consequences.”
Following the debate at WFSB studios, Lamont said he had no plans to run as anything other than a Democrat.
Lamont, who was also endorsed by the Working Families Party, could run under that party’s banner in November if he loses the Democratic primary on Aug. 14.
“I would run as a Democrat or not at all,” Lamont said after the debate.
Ganim, who after hearing Lamont say he wouldn’t support him, said he would support the Democratic Party’s nominee.
“I have to say yes, but based on that answer it’s a very uncomfortable feeling,” Ganim said.
Ganim said he was disappointed.
He said it’s a realization that Lamont “really doesn’t have a commitment to the Democratic Party.”
He said if Connecticut wants to be a “firewall” to Republican President Donald Trump’s policies then he would hope Lamont would reconsider his support of the Democratic nominee.
Lamont who lost the Democratic Party’s nomination to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 said he’s done a lot as a citizen over the past eight years, including getting a major information technology company, Infosys, to come to Hartford.
“As a citizen, I think I’ve done a lot more than many mayors I know when it comes to job creation,” Lamont said.
Lamont said he worries about the fate of the Democratic Party in Connecticut if he doesn’t win on Aug. 14.
“It would be a real black mark,” Lamont added.
Ganim was convicted of taking more than a half-million dollars in bribes and kickbacks while leading one of the poorest cities in the country. He spent seven years in prison and was re-elected mayor by Bridgeport voters in 2015.
Ganim wasn’t challenged directly about his criminal record during the hour long debate.
Asked if that was surprising, Lamont said he’s never brought it up.
“I think people know it. I’m trying to talk, not about him, I’m trying to talk about the future of Connecticut,” Lamont said.
Lamont said he thinks Connecticut wants a governor who has a background in business and doesn’t come from the political class.
“I don’t think it’s time for on-the-job training from someone who floats in from a different world,” Ganim said of Lamont.
Asked if he’s ever hired anyone who doesn’t have any government experience, Ganim said he’s sure he has. However, he said he wouldn’t hire them for “a crisis situation” that requires a skill set that they don’t have.
He said the next governor is going to inherit a two-year, $4.6 billion deficit and to hire someone without experience “would be a disservice to the people of Connecticut.”
Lamont said he gives the Democratic Party the best chance to win in November.
“I don’t want to talk about other candidates,” Lamont said.
The five Republican gubernatorial candidates will debate at 3 p.m. Wednesday at WFSB. The debate will be televised and streamed on Channel 3’s Facebook page.