Tuesday roundup

Here's the latest.

  • STATE REP 5: Leo Canty files SEEC finance complaint against Brandon McGee.

    The Leo Canty campaign filed a campaign finance complaint with the state elections enforcement commission (SEEC) Monday, alleging his fellow Democrat and opponent in the race for the party's fifth district nomination, Brandon McGee, "violated state campaign finance law by benefiting from independent expenditures totaling nearly $40,000 from the Great New England Public Schools Alliance (GNEPSA). GNEPSA is tied to StudentsFirst, the education privatization group headed by Michelle Rhee," according to a statement released by the campaign.

    According to SEEC filings, GNEPSA, an organization that names its largest private financial backers in recent months as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Steve Perry of Hartford's Capitol Prep, ConnAd and StudentsFirst, has made three independent expenditures in support of McGee since Wed., Sept. 26.

    GNEPSA's contributions were given directly to three Washington, D.C.-based organizations (SDK Knickerbocker, Switchboard Communications and Civic Census Group) for canvassing, setting up a phone bank and campaign advertisements.

    The Leo Canty campaign released the following statement regarding this disturbing development.

    Area Democrats from Windsor and Hartford today condemned a massive independent expenditure aimed at defeating endorsed candidate Leo Canty in the Oct. 2 Democratic primary revote in the 5th House District.

    According to a filing with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, a group called GNEPSA (Greater New England Public Schools Alliance) has pumped nearly $32,000 into the special election to fund Get Out the Vote operations on behalf of Brandon McGee, Canty's opponent in the primary.

    GNEPSA is tied to Students First, the Sacremento, CA-based education advocacy organization headed by Michelle Rhee that was launched by Bain and Company, Mitt Romney's private equity firm. Much of this organization's money, both in-state and nationally, comes from Republicans sources.

    "I'm outraged that Mr. McGee would allow an out-of-district Republican-backed special interest group to try and buy this election," said former Windsor Deputy Mayor and retired public school teacher Tim Curtis. "Elections are supposed to be about issues, not about money. Who will Mr. McGee fight for - the people of the 5th district or Bain Capital and other out-of-district Republican corporations?"

    Another local Democrat, Vivian Cicero, expressed dismay that McGee would allow Republican Mitt Romney's company to buy the election. Cicero is a Windsor Town Constable and a member of the Democratic Town Committee.

    "Brandon McGee should disavow himself from this expenditure and call on these groups to stay out of Hartford and Windsor. No Democrat should accept any form of support from Republicans working every day to defeat President Barack Obama and turn this country over completely to the super-rich and the big corporations," Cicero said.

    Windsor Town Councilor Bill Herzfeld also weighed in on the independent expenditure in the 5th District, calling it a textbook example of what's wrong with Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that treats corporations as people and allows unrestricted funding of campaigns by groups like Students First and GNEPSA:

    "I never thought our community would be an example of how Citizens United can potentially corrupt elections. It's outrageous GNEPSA and First Student will spend more in one week than state law allows candidates to spend on the entire primary. This is anti-democracy and anti-public education. McGee's latest flyer says he will support public education yet he is benefiting from a group that wants to disinvest in public schools. Will the real Brandon McGee please stand up?"

  • STATE SEN 13: Dante Bartolomeo challenges tea party hypocrite Len Suzio to a debate (press release).

    Democratic State Senate candidate DanteĀ“ Bartolomeo today issued a formal request to her opponent, Senator Len Suzio, to participate in a public debate in Meriden during the month of October. Bartolomeo, who is running for the 13th District Senate seat that represents Meriden, Cheshire, Middletown, Middlefield and Rockfall, has previously expressed her willingness to debate her Republican opponent prior to the November 6th election, but to date Suzio has proven unwilling to do so.

    "Providing our citizens the opportunity to hear a public exchange of ideas between candidates for elected office is one of the cornerstones of our democracy," Bartolomeo said. "This is a crucial election and the public has a right to understand the very clear differences between myself and Mr. Suzio. As elected officials, we have a civic obligation to the voting public to debate our records in an open, transparent fashion, and I call upon Mr. Suzio to fulfill this most important obligation to our constituents."

    Bartolomeo said she would be willing to work with Suzio's campaign to secure a date, time, location and impartial third party to administer the debate. The event would be open to the public and media, and Bartolomeo said consideration should be given to recording and airing the debate on local television to ensure the forum reaches the greatest possible number of residents.

    A proposed debate between Bartolomeo and Suzio organized by Meriden Children First, the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce and the Meriden Record-Journal did not come to fruition after Suzio reportedly declined several invitations to attend since planning for the event began in July. The event, currently scheduled for Monday, October 29th, will now feature Bartolomeo and candidates running for the 82nd, 83rd and 84th House district seats.

    If Suzio remains unwilling to debate in 2012, it would be the first time in recent memory that a meeting between the two candidates for the State Senate seat could not be arranged. Specifically, Suzio himself participated in debates during his most recent campaigns for the 13th District seat in 2010 and 2011.

    "Given that the first Presidential debate will take place this week, this issue couldn't be more relevant," Bartolomeo said. "I genuinely hope Mr. Suzio can find the time to debate so the voters in the 13th District have every opportunity to make an informed decision."

  • Shays and Simmons support McSham? Yeah right!

    But neither of the former congressmen was exactly on message. Simmons said nothing about McMahon from the podium, and he and Shays offered her the thinnest of praise, calling her the obvious choice of GOP voters.

    [...]

    Shays dodged the question of whether he now believes McMahon is qualified.

    "I think that she's the candidate, and I think that Chris Murphy is incredibly vulnerable," said Shays, who lost an Aug. 14 primary to McMahon by a ratio of nearly 3-1. "I think she can win this race."

    Simmons offered a similar assessment.

    Asked if McMahon had improved as a candidate since their 2010 contest, Simmons said, "She spoke without notes, which I think is a positive development."

  • CT 05: Elizabeth Esty's raised 560k for the 3Q but her conflict of interest continues?
  • ...so sad.

    Lee Whitnum wants to know what happened to 100 pages of petition signatures, and she is "demanding" an answer from the Secretary of the State.

    Whitnum was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, but she left the party and announced a run as an independent. To make that stab at the Senate, Whitnum said she would need 7,500 signatures - she said she turned in 16,000, but 100 pages were lost.

    "I've been trying to get them to cooperate and I am basically ignored," Whitnum said in a release. "More than 100 pages of signatures are missing and you'd think they'd care to get to the bottom of this."

    In an emailed response, Merill's spokesman Av Harris said "We have not lost one page of petitions that we received from Ms. Whitnum or any other candidate, nor have we misplaced any document received from town clerks containing pages of signatures and numbers of verified signatures for a nominating petition."

    "We keep very good track of all petition pages that are turned into our office," Harris said. "As you may or may not know, the Secretary of the State does not verify the signatures turned in for a nominating petition. Any petition pages with signatures that our office receives are turned over to town clerks in Connecticut, who verify the number of signatures from registered voters in their town for the particular petition, and then report that number to our office along with the petitions."

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