Drew says Malloy no factor in decision
Most of mayor’s $106K in exploratory committee gifts from state residents
MIDDLETOWN >> Mayor Dan Drew’s exploratory gubernatorial campaign committee raised $106,000 in the first three months of the year.
Drew, who has been mayor since 2011, formed the committee in January. He has yet to formally announce that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.
On Wednesday, Drew said Gov. Dannel Malloy’s announcement last week that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2018 will not be a factor in the decision. “My decision was never predi-
cated on whether Gov. Malloy was going to race or not,” Drew said.
Drew did release a statement in the wake of Malloy’s announcement.
“I would like to thank the governor for his service to our state. Anyone who devotes themselves in the service of others deserves our respect and gratitude,” Drew said in the statement. “Passage of Paid Sick Leave legislation and ending veterans’ homelessness are achievements that should be lauded by all every resident of Connecticut.
“As we think about what’s next for our state, I return to a simple guiding principle: How can we do the most good for the greatest number of our state’s residents?
“That’s what I’ll be focused on as I continue to travel the state, talking to Democrats about how we continue to build a stronger, more prosperous future,” Drew said.
The actions of other Democrats could factor in his decision.
Jonathan A. Harris, a former West Hartford mayor, resigned Monday from his position as commissioner of Consumer Protection. Harris, who served three terms in the General Assembly as a state senator representing the 5th District (Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington and West Hartford), made his gubernatorial exploratory committee public Wednesday.
Harris could not begin fundraising for a possible run for the nomination while he was serving as a state commissioner.
The list of possible Democratic candidates is a long one, beginning with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and including Attorney General George Jepsen and State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and, perhaps, state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr.
There are any number of potential Republican candidates who could seek their party’s nomination, including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst. Peter Lumaj, an attorney from Fairfield, has also filed an exploratory committee for statewide office.
Boughton worked hard for the nomination in 2014 only to see the nod go instead to 2010 candidate Tom Foley.
The list of donors to Drew’s campaign takes up 329 pages on file with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
Included in those pages are friends of Drew from across the country, from Seattle to Mequon, Wisconsin, and Marietta, Georgia, including the press secretary for Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Several donors are teachers or professors at Columbia University in New York City, where Drew earned a master’s degree in organizational psychology.
But Drew acknowledged in a telephone call Wednesday that “the vast majority” of his donors are from Connecticut. They include union carpenters, educators, local officials including Rosa Browne, the first vice president of the Middlesex County chapter of the NAACP; and prominent Democratic political figures from other communities, including Portland Selectman Kathleen G. Richards and Charles Epstein of Cromwell, to name just two.
The list of donors is also studded with any number of city officials, including Guy Russo, the former director of the city’s Water and Sewer Department, Middletown Police Capt. Sean Moriarty, South District Deputy Fire Chief Steven Krol, Assistant Fire Marshal Joseph Salafia, Probate Judge Joseph Marino and Russell Library Director Matthew K. Poland.
Of the $103,000 the committee raised, it spent approximately $70,000.
“It takes a lot to start up a committee,” Drew’s committee spokesman Aaron Schrag said Wednesday.
One of the most expensive items involved “securing the ‘Dan Drew’ domain name,” Schrag said.
Beyond that, the campaign had to build a website, Schrag said, as well as produce a campaign video, which “was a pretty big expenditure.” And the committee is also deeply involved in growing an audience on social media platforms, Schrag said.
Although Drew has not made a formal announcement, state Republicans did not waste any time launching a pre-emptive attack on “the Dems’ new frontrunner” and “his liberal extremist agenda.”
The Connecticut GOP sent out a press release Wednesday welcoming “Ditto Dan Drew,” whom the release described as Gov. Malloy’s “carbon copy.”
Under a photo of Drew and Malloy taken during a visit to AI Engineers in Middletown, the GOP release says, “Don’t be fooled by this new Dan, he’s a carbon copy of Dan Malloy, supporting big government, increased taxes, overspending and running business out of the state.”
“We’d like to welcome Ditto Dan to face any one of our qualified candidates for governor — we are proud to say our candidates all stand for fiscal responsibility and will continue to work for middle-class families across the state,” the release read.