Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto explores third-party run for governor (New Haven Register)
Blogger and former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto plans to file paperwork by the end of the week to establish the Education and Democracy Party as he explores the possibility of running as a third-party candidate for governor.
He said over the next few days he also will take out petition papers to gather the 7,500 signatures of registered voters needed to get his name on the November ballot and establish an exploratory committee so he can raise funds as he weighs his options.
While it is not an easy task for a third-party contender, Pelto will look into raising the $250,000 needed to qualify for a Citizen Election Program grant for the election.
Union Attacks Pelto (CT Newsjunkie)
A labor ally of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy went on the offensive Friday against Jonathan Pelto, a former Democratic lawmaker who is considering making a third-party challenge for the governor’s office.
So far Malloy’s campaign and the state Democratic Party have had no comment on Pelto, a vocal Malloy critic who is exploring a run for governor under his newly formed Education and Democracy Party.
But SEIU 1199NE President David Pickus weighed in on Pelto’s record Friday morning with a press release accusing him of siding with former Republican Gov. John Rowland during a 2001 labor dispute. Pelto did consultant work on behalf of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, a nursing home association.
The union charges that Pelto “devised strategies to portray workers as undeserving and greedy.”
It is tragic that our democracy has been so co-opted by an elite group of privileged power brokers that it cannot tolerate third party candidates.
Third parties should not be dismissed and disrespected in this manner.
They should be encouraged. Third parties force the candidates of the two major parties to confront and address issues they would rather not talk about. Third parties ask tough questions, which establishment candidates would rather not answer.
They make the major party candidates nervous, and that is always a good thing.
Issues such as the corporate control of public education, the erosion of local control, politicizing the courts and the justice system, and a disproportionate tax burden on the middle class are only a few of the issues that would be subjected to a comprehensive review and discussion with the presence of a third party candidate.
A third party candidacy in Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits, will provide an opportunity for hope and a greater participation by many who feel as Will Rogers declared “that each party is worse than the other.”
Our Democracy is on life-support; a third party candidate can supply some much needed oxygen!
The specter of a real, trouble making, third party candidate for governor has risen.
There are always third parties around, taking votes from the two major parties or serving as a second line for one of them on the ballot. Usually they’re not potent enough to raise a specter, defined as something “widely feared as a possible unpleasant or dangerous occurrence.” But the mere mention of base-eroding Jonathan Pelto toying with the idea of running for governor is definitely unpleasant and possibly dangerous for incumbent Democrat Dannel Patrick Malloy.
The British spell the word “spectre” and define it as “a source of terror or dread,” which is exactly what the pro-labor, liberal Pelto could evolve into for Malloy, who won by 6,000 votes the last time and isn’t that popular anymore.
There’s never been anyone in Connecticut politics quite like Jonathan Pelto. No one has worked in top jobs on so many campaigns as a precocious teen and 20-something, winning friends in high places. And no one has burned so many bridges, earning enmity on the left, on the right and in between.
Pelto, 52, now stands on one last bridge. Behind him are his friends in labor and the Democratic Party he once served as a legislator, as a campaign manager and as a state political director. Ahead is the lonely, difficult and uncharted road of a third-party candidate for governor.
Would he burn one last bridge?
Pelto’s new role: Spoiler? (Journal Inquirer)
Jonathan Pelto has spent much of the last four years lambasting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on a range of issues, including education policy and government transparency.
Now the longtime Democratic operative-turned-outsider has the chance to complicate Malloy’s re-election bid. And he’s giving it serious thought.
“It continues to percolate,” Pelto, a former state representative from Mansfield, says of his potential candidacy for governor as a third-party candidate.
The first question is whether Pelto will enter the race. If he does, the question becomes whether Pelto would draw enough votes from Democrats, teachers, and other potential Malloy supporters to become a spoiler — taking votes away from the fellow Democrat in much the same way Ralph Nader was accused of doing during Al Gore’s White House run.
Pelto says he doesn’t want to spoil the race and will follow through only if he’s a “credible” candidate. Meanwhile, he hopes to steer conversation among Democrats to Malloy’s record on education, tax policy, government transparency, and other issues in which he feels the governor has come up short — and where Pelto thinks he could do better.
“We have an obligation to hold our own to the same standards that we hold our opponents,” Pelto says.
Jonathan Pelto, former Democratic state legislator and now blogger, is the latest example — victim — of the failure of the state’s much-touted public financing program to create a level playing field for petitioning and third party candidates.
Pelto is considering a third party bid for governor. The paperwork to create the Education and Democratic Party was to be filed last week. He’ll need to collect 7,500 petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Pelto is also planning on participating in the public financing program, which means that he’ll also need to raise $250,000 in small donations of $100 or less — just like anyone else.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is already well on his way to reaching the fund-raising benchmark to qualify for the $6.2 million in public funding. Endorsed Republican candidate Tom Foley has met that criteria but hasn’t yet said if he’ll participate. Foley’s two GOP primary rivals have, as of last week, not yet reached the qualifying level, but are expected to do so.
The fairness issue
And therein lies the unfairness: Once Malloy, Foley, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, reach the fund-raising requirement, they’ll need only one signature – their own – to pass GO and collect the money.
Pelto, on the other hand, will need 110,000 additional signatures just to qualify for one-third of the $6 million that Foley, Malloy, Boughton and McKinney will be eligible for with their one signature.
NPR’s Where We Live: Jonathan Pelto to Set Up Exploratory Committee For Governor’s Race
Listen to podcast here: http://wnpr.org/post/jonathan-pelto-looks-shake-race-governor
Former state legislator Jonathan Pelto has been criticizing Governor Dannel Malloy for years. Recently he said he’d consider shaking up this year’s race for Connecticut governor by running from the left.
“I’m exploring a run for governor,” Pelto said Tuesday on WNPR’s Where We Live. He thinks his run will help state politics. “My job is to raise issues that need to be raised,” he said, such as a regressive tax structure that hurts the middle class, and unfair education reform policies.
Pelto said he’s planning to take care of paperwork on Tuesday and begin to set up an exploratory committee for his run for governor. He’ll make a decision “in the coming weeks,” he said.
Malloy’s tax proposals hurt the middle class, according to Pelto. There’s “a sense out there that government has really lost touch with the core of the citizens,” he said, and concerns about “the corporate education reform industry” backed by Malloy. He said people are looking for “a third option.”
Challengers in the governor’s race face hurdles to get the resources they might need to run for office, Pelto said. His potential run is partly experimental, to see what happens when he tries to get those resources.
Pelto considers himself a mainstream liberal, but thinks he is perceived as an extremist. He doesn’t want to be regarded as a “spoiler” in the race. “People should be able to get onto the ballot,” he said. “We may not like the outcome of it, but we need to support the notion of democracy.” A Republican governor is a possibility, Pelto concedes, which isn’t enough reason for him not to pursue the office. Connecticut needs a stronger legislature, he said.
“I have been a strong critic of Dan Malloy because I believe we should hold ourselves to the same standard to which we hold our opponents,” Pelto said. “I’m not going to apologize to anybody for raising these issues.”
Some of Pelto’s positions mentioned on air:
- Help small businesses by “getting out of the way”
- Use gas tax money for transportation investment, or don’t have a gas tax
- Resist tax breaks for large, multinational companies like Bridgewater
- Keep tenure and collective bargaining for public school teachers
- Invest in public education: local control, teacher support, “comprehensive education”
- Support public magnet schools reporting to a local BOE; not charters that don’t
- Offer drug treatment for addicted prison inmates
- Decriminalize marijuana and possibly other drugs
- Reform prisons, which are for people who’ve committed “serious crimes”
- In support of recent Connecticut gun control legislation
Is it ever OK to be a third-party candidate?By Susan Campbell
Jonathan Pelto, former Democratic state representative, and current communications strategist, and a blogger at Wait What?, appeared on WNPR’s John Dankosky’s Where We Live, as a potential gubernatorial candidate in the great state of Connecticut. You can listen to the show here.
Pelto brings with him a deep knowledge of the field of education, of taxation, and a host of other stuff, and like him or not, the conversation raised some interesting questions and comments about the efficacy of third party candidates and whether we should call them “spoilers” or viable candidates. (The Democratic nomination is sewed up by the current governor, Dannel P. Malloy, and Pelto could not, on any day, align his politics with the Republicans enough to serve as their candidate.)
So — harkening back to the days of Connecticut’s other third-party candidate, Ralph Nader — does our current political system allow for third party-candidates? I would certainly hope so. Whatever you feel about the current governor or any potential new ones, shouldn’t we be able to vote outside the lines if we don’t feel either party is representing our hopes/dreams/fears? I understand strategy and not letting the Other Candidate win, but c’mon…
Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left? (Stamford Advocate)
CT Newsjunkie: Malloy Tries to Look Past Possible Third Party Challenger
Fox 61 Real Story: Pelto Considering Run For Governor
New Haven Register: Ahead of Democratic convention, Governor Dannel Malloy confident of record
Columnists and Bloggers:
Diane Ravitch Blog: Will Jonathan Pelto Run for Governor of Connecticut?
Dennis House: Pelto: Malloy Can’t Win in November
Terry Cowgill : Pelto’s Quixotic Quest
Only in Bridgeport Blog: Agita Alert! If Pelto Runs For Governor, Heartburn For Malloy–Carmen Lopez: A Voice. So Many Variables for Malloy–Pelto, Politics, Teachers, Cities, Hot Tub–To Win Reelection, Working Families Party Won’t Rule Out Pelto Endorsement For Governor
My Left Nutmeg Blog: Gov. Malloy has a Pelto problem
Chris Healy: The Liberal Gremlin Plots His Future
Don Pesci Blog: Malloy vs. Pelto