Drew says Mal­loy no fac­tor in de­ci­sion

Most of mayor’s $106K in ex­ploratory com­mit­tee gifts from state res­i­dents

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Mill jmill@mid­dle­town­press.com

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.

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