The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

A party in disarray

- By Edward L. Marcus Edward Marcus is former chairman of the Democrat State Central Committee in Connecticu­t. He can be reached at 203-481-3330.

With four real candidates running for the Democratic nomination for governor , the Democratic Party should change the rules to allow only one ballot, potentiall­y resulting in no one with a sufficient majority becoming the party nominee. Of course, anyone winning at least 15 percent of the delegates could go on to a primary.

The four candidates are: Guy Smith, a Greenwich self-funding multi-millionair­e Sean Connolly, former Connecticu­t Commission­er of Veteran Affairs, Ned Lamont, who invested $26 million of his own money in unsuccessf­ul previous runs for the U.S. Senate and governor , and, Joe Ganim, mayor of Bridgeport

If a candidate bypasses the convention, as Smith says he will, another way to qualify for a primary is to obtain roughly 15,000 signatures (2 percent of those registered with the party).

The Democratic state Chairman Nick Balletto appoints members of the PreConvent­ion Rules Committee. Its major issue is whether the rules should be changed to limit the number of ballots. Unless there is a clear majority for one person on the first ballot, the party should rely on a primary.

Balletto said current rules require nominee selection by the Convention, even if it requires multiple ballots as in years past. That is true, although the Rules Committee could recommend, and the Convention enact, a change to just one ballot at this Convention.

I believe the “fix is in” to make Lamont the nominee… a bad mistake which will lead to chaos in the party and long-term bitterness. Balletto has been asked to quit his leadership post by a group of African American Ministers lead by Boise Kimber, an old friend and a Democratic activist currently working for Guy Smith.

Can Balletto persuade enough delegates to back a single candidate? Perhaps Chris Murphy can.

To try to stop Ganim from receiving the required 15 percent would be foolish since he is capable of going the signature route. Susan Bysiewicz, once a candidate for governor , announced she will be running for Lieutenant Governor presumably as Lamont’s running mate, however, it remains to be seen whether other candidates for Lieutenant Governor will at least qualify for a primary when the delegates vote at the convention.

I see Lamont as a rich man looking for entertainm­ent. His self-funding could mean another $15-$20 million spent on top of the $26 million he has already invested. Lamont pointed out that Ganim lent $35,000 to his campaign — a weak comparison.

The voting public, except for the hard left of the Democratic Party, does not want additional taxes — save for a couple percent tacked on to earnings over $1 million. Lamont will campaign on costly programs that may be well intentione­d, but which the statecanno­t afford. I do not think he is electable. Note Lieberman’s previous win against Lamont: Lieberman ran as an Independen­t while Lamont boasted the endorsemen­t of the Democratic Party. That says a lot.

Alternativ­ely, Ganim can reach ordinary voters who work hard and are fed up with taxes. The party leadership should give Ganim a chance by changing the rules. Let everyone run in a primary on equal ground.

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