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Connecticut GOP tries to harness toll opposition for fundraising

Lamont, a Democrat, has since said that the only way to raise enough money for overdue transportation improvements is to toll all vehicles on 91, 84, 95 and Route 15. Romano’s letter says Connecticut Republicans need to raise $40,000 over the next 21 days and asks supporters to chip-in $500, $250 or $100. “Acting like arrogant kings and queens in a monarchy, the regal Connecticut Democrats love to tell you what to do and take your money and make it their money,” the letter reads. Lamont senior adviser Colleen Flanagan Johnson said the only transportation funding alternative offered by Republicans, a plan known as Prioritize Progress, would take on long-term debt for the state and runs counter to the “debt diet” plan of the governor. “Instead of exploiting the state’s crumbling infrastructure for campaign contributions, we suggest donations to offset the $65 billion loan the Republicans want to saddle the tax payers with to pay for it." Romano said Democrats are creating a false narrative that they have sworn-off bonding. He pointed out the state, under Lamont’s Democratic predecessor, Dannel P. Malloy, and Democratic majorities in the legislature, has bonded for discretionary projects such as playground splash pads. “Bridges and roads is actually what bonding is supposed to be for.” Drivers with Connecticut-issued E-ZPass transponders would pay an average of 4.4 cents per mile during off-peak travel periods, which DOT officials have said is a 30 percent discount off the 6.3-cent-per-mile price for out-of-state vehicles. "Ned Lamont was elected governor last November and he’s doing his job; maybe the Republicans should focus on creative solutions and not schoolyard taunts.” A number of cities and towns have adopted anti-tolling resolutions that are mostly symbolic in nature, but are intended to put pressure on lawmakers to reject Lamont’s plan. There is another one scheduled for May 18 at the Capitol that’s being organized by NoTollsCT.org, which has said it has collected more than 95,000 signatures as part of a petition drive against tolls.

The Wheelhouse: Adjusting To Life On A ‘Debt Diet,’ And The Politics Of Personal...

There are those who hope Joe Biden, as he weighs a 2020 presidential run, hasn't lost his touch for personal connections. A Connecticut resident is among the two women who came forward this week with complaints that the former Democratic vice president violated their personal space when greeting them at campaign events. Amy Lappos, a former staffer for U.S. Rep Jim Himes, says Biden pulled her toward him to rub noses. As it was happening, Lappos thought Biden intended to kiss her, she says. This week, we judge the appropriateness of the 76-year-old's ways of expressing affection on the campaign trail, and that of his response to the women's criticisms. Does he really get the message of the #MeToo movement? It's also the dawn of a new day for Connecticut. Gov. Ned Lamont is calling for an end to the era of unguarded spending on the state's credit card. This week, the State Bond Commission gave us a taste of what a "debt diet" will mean.

Political enemies Lamont, Stefanowski keep close

For all the time they spent insulting each other on the campaign trail, Governor-elect Ned Lamont and his failed Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski seem to have gotten friendlier, while retaining their differences. Either that, or they’re embracing the adage to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” The businessmen-turned-politicians sat down for a private lunch last week, the details of which are in limited supply. The meeting was yet another step in Lamont’s transition plan, which includes speaking with people across the political spectrum to come up with solutions for the state. “It was great,” Lamont said Tuesday. “Very friendly, very supportive. He really cares about the state and wants to stay involved.” Both Lamont and Stefanowski declined to provide specifics of what they talked about — likely the state’s economic troubles, the solutions to which divided them in many during the campaign. But since the election, Lamont has promised to bring people of all political persuasions and backgrounds to the table, including Stefanowski. “We talked about the campaign and we talked about the state, and we talked about ways we (can) stay in touch and work together because he believes in the state as do I,” Lamont said. “We got to know each other pretty well in those green rooms and during the campaign, and he’s a good man who cares about the state and wants to stay involved and that’s my job to make that productive.” The meeting happened a week ahead of a transition summit Lamont and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Susan Bysiewicz hosted this week, which brought more than 300 people to Eastern Connecticut State University to come up with policy proposals for the next administration. “I am concerned that since the election the discussion from Democrats has centered around legalizing marijuana, a new toll study suggesting we raise a billion dollars, 70 percent of that would be Connecticut residents, and raising the minimum wage by 50 percent.

Last night wasn’t a wave. It was a realignment.

Indeed, much like Virginia’s gubernatorial contest from last year, Democrats won big in highly educated urban/suburban areas up and down the ballot. And what we are seeing is a further realignment of our politics — with urban/suburban going Democratic, and with rural and red areas going more Republican. Also, how important is party in this realignment? The uncalled House races (14) The uncalled Senate races (3) Dems left gains on the table With CT-GOV still undecided (though Democrat Ned Lamont is ahead here), Democrats will have gained a net seven governorships: Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Nevada and Wisconsin. In 2016, it went 63 percent to 33 percent for Clinton. Last night, it went 60 percent to 40 percent for Gillum. And of the 30 House seats picked up by Democrats so far (for a net of 28), 19 were won by women. Bill Clinton ran against a sitting speaker of the House to win re-election in 1996.

Ned Lamont’s eight-year break from politics

Political insiders thought Ned Lamont was done with politics. “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. 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. Running for governor, he said, wasn’t even on his radar. I just figured I’d be able to help ... from there, we put together a study group and worked with all of the major employers in the state. “I thought probably I could better serve from the outside than from the inside,” Lamont said. Dannel P. Malloy — each declined to run, the name left at the top of the list was none other than Lamont. David Pudlin, a former state House majority leader and political consultant who worked on Lamont’s 2006 campaign, called Lamont a “unifying factor” at the convention after the party expressed some now-unfounded fears about the Republican Party. In hindsight, the fears turned out to not be true, but I think those are accurate things we could take from the past.” That assessment makes sense to Farricker, the Democratic insider and former Lottery Board chairman.

Democrats Wrestle With Politics In Diversity Discussion

Typically, diversity for the Democratic Party has meant re-nominating Denise Nappier, who is African American, to run for state treasurer. John Blankley is white. There is talk that some Democrats are looking to avoid acrimony and possibly win back the support of the black community by making sure Wooden, a former Hartford city council president, walks away with the endorsement without a primary. “Democratic voters should be allowed to judge the merits of the candidates for themselves,” Bhargava said. “From the beginning our simple ask was that delegates and voters choose who is best for the state treasurer office,” Arulampalam said Thursday. He said their message has resonated with a lot of people and “I hope the delegates will choose the person they want to see serve in the treasurer’s office.” Wooden’s campaign said the reason they’re picking up delegate support is his track record. ”Shawn Wooden is the right pick for state treasurer because of his diverse investment experience, progressive values, and vision for the future,” Brett Broesder, a spokesperson for the Wooden campaign said. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has also endorsed Wooden, even though the Hartford delegates seem to be split between Arulampalam and Wooden. New Haven has 97 delegates, Bridgeport has 90, and Hartford has 78 delegates. Vincent Mauro Jr., head of New Haven’s Democratic Town Committee, said he doesn’t believe there’s any sort of coordination regarding his delegates when it comes to the race for treasurer.