Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Joe Ganim outside the Elections Enforcement Commission Friday (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Shortly, after the Hartford Courant reported that the House Democrats Campaign shared information with Ned Lamont’s campaign, his opponent was outside the State Elections Enforcement Commission crying foul.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who petitioned his way onto the Democratic Party primary ballot, says what Lamont did was wrong, but he didn’t file a complaint Friday. 

“I’m calling on Ned Lamont to provide some clear answers. His campaign has already provided conflicting answers,” about how this could have happened, Ganim said.

The House Democrats Campaign is the organization behind the re-election campaigns for all the Democrats running in the House.  It’s headed by Matthew Brokman, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz’s chief of staff, who said the identification of these voters is not something he sought to control. The functionality to survey voters is part of the “NGP VAN” system, a program that helps Democrats all over the country maintain voter databases.

“The state party’s voter file allows all volunteers to track their canvassing efforts for any office which some use to ask voter preferences about multiple candidates,” Brokman said. “Any cross canvassing by volunteers is the choice of the individual campaigns.”

Ganim called what Lamont was doing “secret coordination” with the House Democrats Campaign committee. He said the database they are using to gather the information is valuable and expensive. Presumably all the candidates running for re-election in the House gave the committee money from their Citizens Election Program grant to help purchase and use the system. 

Ganim said the coordination effort violates campaign finance laws and at the very least it erodes confidence in the political process.

“They need to come clean with all of us before primary day,” Ganim said.

He said he plans to file a formal complaint if Lamont doesn’t address the issue before Monday.

Marc Bradley, Lamont’s campaign manager, said “ This false smear on Ned is nothing more than Joe Ganim’s swan song in his campaign for governor. This is a critical election and we are confident that Democratic voters will stand with Ned to bring real change to Hartford.”

Lamont’s campaign and the House Democrats Campaign gave the Hartford Courant differing answers about how many voters were identified with the question, but Lamont campaign denies asking for the information to be gathered. They said they were offered the information and it wasn’t all that helpful since it already has a “voter ID” effort.

According to Lamont’s campaign, the House Democrats Campaign approached Lamont and proposed asking a question to gauge support for the candidate. The House Democrats Campaign seemed to imply this was done in coordination with the Lamont campaign.

The question the Ganim campaign found objectionable, which was asked by an unknown number of volunteers for the House Democrats Campaign, prompts a volunteer to ask a voter about the Democratic primary. The volunteer then checks a box which asks the caller to label the voter: “1 – Strong Ned; 2 – Lean Ned; 3 – Undecided; 4 – Lean Ganim, 5 – Strong Ganim, 6 – Not Voting.”

Ganim has yet to file a complaint against either the Lamont campaign or the House Democrats Campaign.

Joe Ganim looks to clarify voter ID coordination with House Democratic Leadership Committee and his opponent, Ned Lamont. Lamont’s campaign manager responds, saying that the “false smear on Ned is nothing more than Joe Ganim’s swan song in his campaign for governor.”

Posted by on Friday, August 10, 2018