Friday, April 28, 2017

Warning To Establishment Democrats-- Working Families Party Triumphs In Connecticut House Race


Something very nice happened in Hartford, Connecticut Tuesday. There was a special election for an open state House seat from which the Democrat, Douglas McCrory, had resigned after winning a state Senate seat. And the winner-- in an overwhelmingly Democratic city-- was not the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Establishment, but a Working Families Party progressive candidate, Joshua Hall, a vice president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers and former treasurer of the state Democratic Party.
The Hartford race had the flavor of a Democratic primary, pitting Hall against Rickey Pinckney Sr., the Democratic-endorsed candidate, and a petitioning candidate, former Rep. Kenneth P. Green, D-Hartford. Hall is only the second candidate to win a Connecticut legislative seat as an WFP candidate, the first in the House.

A registered Democrat, Hall said he will be a member of the House Democratic majority. Edwin A. Gomes of Bridgeport, who won a special election to the Senate on the WFP line in 2015, is a member of the Senate Democratic caucus... Unofficial results showed Hall with 625 votes to 512 for Pinckney and 367 for Green.

“The thing for me is to make sure the state budget isn’t balanced on the backs of working families,” Hall said. “I think that’s the most critical. thing, not compromsing anything with regard to that.”

Hall had a narrow lead until the returns came in at 9 p.m. from the Rawson School in Blue Hills, a middle-class neighborhood in the city’s predominantly black North End, and cheers erupted at the WFP headquarters.

“Joshua Hall’s victory comes at a time when more strong, progressive leaders are sorely needed in Hartford and in our state,” said Lindsay Farrell, the executive director of the WFP. “The city is in fiscal crisis and without state help, Hartford residents will be hurt by deep cuts, the effects of which will resonate across the region.”

The Hartford race exposed tensions between Democrats and the Working Families Party, a labor offshoot that fashions itself as the progressive conscience of Connecticut politics.

Pinckney’s campaign, which had the support of city and state Democratic leaders, hit Hall with a mailer questioning his Democratic bonafides in a city with an all-Democratic legislative delegation.

“Working Families Party? Not on our watch,” said the mailer. “There are only 26 registered Working Families members in our district. Only 26. Don’t let them steal our seat.”
Normally the Working Families Party just endorses Democrats, sometimes really unsavory corrupt conservatives, but has been veering in a far more progressive and proactive direction in the last few years.
The Working Families Party makes little effort to enroll party members. With rare exceptions, it has existed to push and prod Democrats, rewarding allies with cross-endorsements in general elections, backing progressives in Democratic primaries and, as is the case in the Hartford special election, occasionally directly opposing a Democratic nominee it finds wanting.

“Ultimately, we are an independent organization,” said Lindsay Farrell, the executive director of the WFP. “We feel, when the Democratic Party has gotten it wrong, we’ll do our own thing. This is one of those times. I can’t speak to whether or not that’s going to hurt our relationship. It’s up to them whether that hurts our relationship. That’s up to them.”

Questioning the Democratic bonafides of Hall is misleading, she said, given that all three candidates are registered Democrats who would be a member of the House Democratic caucus. Sen. Edwin A. Gomes, D-Bridgeport, won a special election on the WFP line, then resumed life as a Democrat in good standing.

...“Democrats don’t own the seat. The voters own the seat,” Farrell said of the Hartford race. “The voters are allowed to make a choice about issues and the qualifications of the candidates.

Marc DiBella, the city’s Democratic chairman, said the WFP should not be surprised when Democrats defend their nominee as the only Democratic Party-backed candidate in the race. He said the mailer was accurate and reflects some of the frustration Democrats feel toward the Working Families.

They stress their Democratic relationships when it suits them, as it does in solidly Democratic Hartford, he said.

“They want to have their cake and eat it, too. There is that frustration. ‘You get to have it both ways,’ ” DiBella said. “There is some bad blood between the Working Families Party and the Democratic Party in Hartford-- and some other places.”

The WFP and its labor backers opposed the budget deal crafted last year by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature’s Democratic majority, who opted for spending cuts, including the elimination of jobs, instead of raising taxes on the wealthy as sought by labor and the WFP.

The Working Families targeted House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, backing a liberal challenger for the Democratic nomination, Joshua Elliott. Sharkey ultimately didn’t seek re-election in 2016, sparing Democrats and the WFP a high-profile battle at a time when fractures are evident in the House Democratic caucus on the topic of taxes and spending.

Last year, Lori Pelletier, the president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, also urged union members to boycott the Democrats’ annual fundraising dinner to protest the budget, and she led a demonstration outside the event. Pelletier later was snubbed when she sought a seat as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Nick Balletto, the Democratic state chairman, recently acknowledged in an interview with CT Mirror that he refuses to recommend consultants who work on WFP campaigns to be hired by Democratic candidates.

Six years ago, the Working Families played a key role in electing Malloy, who supported the WFP’s call for a paid sick days law. The party organized for Malloy and gave him its cross endorsement.

Without the 26,308 votes cast for Malloy on the WFP line, the Democrat lost by nearly 20,000 votes to Republican Tom Foley. With those votes, Malloy won by 6,404 votes out of 1.1 million cast, the narrowest gubernatorial victory in Connecticut in 56 years.

Malloy delivered on his promise to pass a paid sick days law and also won passage of a $10.10 minimum wage, but he and the WFP have since parted ways over taxes.

To pass a budget this year, Democrats can ill-afford disunity. The Senate is evenly split, meaning Democrats’ only edge is the ability of Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to break ties as the presiding officer. The new House speaker, Joe Aresimowicz of Berlin, has the smallest working majority in the history of the House.

Democrats have a 78-71 advantage, with two vacancies. After two special elections Tuesday, the margin is likely to return to 79-72, the results of the November election. In a chamber where 76 votes is a majority, Aresimowicz can afford only three defections on the budget.
And this...

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At 11:01 AM, Blogger samuel glover said...

Look at your Democratic Party, coming to grips with reality:

"After nearly five months, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) presented his investigative report to lawmakers during a members-only gathering at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters Thursday night.

Only about two-dozen lawmakers showed up for the presentation, which sources described as "dense but thorough." But members were not allowed to have copies of the report and may view it only under the watchful eyes of DCCC staff.

The presentation didn't focus on Democratic messaging and instead was heavily skewed towards money -- how much the DCCC brings in, from where and how those funds are spent. "

Scumbags. This is an organization that needs to vanish.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

We're slowly puncturing the holes of The Establishment's reigns love it congrats Joshua.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samuel, thank you. You are totally correct.

If only CT were a microcosm and I could be optimistic. But CT and VT have been rouguing it often and nothing ever happens anywhere else.

Don't hold your breath.

The democraps still need to be euthanized.


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