Ned Lamont’s eight-year break from politics

  • Ned Lamont, Democratic candidate for governor of Connecticut, surprised some by coming back to politics after nearly a decade. Photo: Cathy Zuraw / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post

Political insiders thought Ned Lamont was done with politics.

He’d spent a combined $26 million on his failed gubernatorial bid in 2010 and his 2006 loss to Joe Lieberman — more than enough to turn anyone off — and then he retired quietly from the political limelight. Or so it seemed.

“After 2010, he just dropped off the map,” said Frank Farricker, former chairman of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee. “I don’t remember him really getting involved in any party-related activities at all. Not only was I surprised when he ran for governor, but I was surprised to the degree to which a lot of the party insiders decided to coalesce behind his campaign.”

Lamont officially announced his campaign in January. By the Democratic Party’s May convention, all of his many opponents — save Bridgeport Mayor and ex-convict Joe Ganim — had dropped out or, in Susan Bysiewicz’s case, joined his team. It’s a comeback that has left some wondering what he’d been doing in the interim.

“As far as I know, nothing,” Farricker said. “And I was town chairman of the Democratic Party in Greenwich, Ned’s hometown, from 2008 to 2015. It’s the most politically active I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t recall him doing anything more than an ordinary citizen would do.”

Back in the real world

The day after his 16-point loss to now-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the August 2010 primary, Lamont returned to Campus Televideo, the company he founded in 1984 to bring cable television to college campuses.

But he found he wasn’t as intellectually invested in the company. So he transitioned from CEO to chairman and sold the company the next year.

For the first five years after the election, Lamont said, his day-to-day was spent working on the company’s transition in the morning, and in the afternoons, he sometimes taught classes at Central Connecticut State, or did work for one of the many boards he served on. As a Distinguished Professor, Lamont drew from personal experience as a candidate to lecture on political science, philosophy and even psychology, according to CCSU. A spokesman for the university clarified, Lamont did not teach semester-long courses in degree-granting programs, but rather individual classes.

After selling the company, Lamont invested in and provided consulting services for a pair of media startups — Stringr and Watchup — through his holding company, Lamont Digital. It wasn’t until General Electric announced its departure from the state in 2015 that Lamont dipped his toe back into the world of public service.

He had a friend at GE, and as a Connecticut resident, he said he needed to know what the state could have done to keep the company. Through Yale, where he served on the board of advisers for the School of Management, Lamont set up a…

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