NEW BRITAIN — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont introduced Mary Glassman today as his running mate and partner in their campaign to elect a Democratic governor for the first time in 24 years.
“Mary’s not going to be just a great lieutenant governor, she’s going to be my full partner as we go forward to reform government here in the state of the Connecticut and put our people back to work,” Lamont said.
Glassman, who already has raised enough small-dollar donations to qualify for public financing, said she was unsure how she would finance her campaign.
Candiates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in primaries, as Glassman learned four years ago, when she won a primary for lieutenant governor and her running mate, Dan Malloy, lost his. Malloy is now Lamont’s chief rival for the nomination.
Even though Lamont has opted out of the voluntary public financing system, Glassman is not barred from participating.
Malloy has described Lamont’s decision to privately finance his campaign as a betrayal to the principle of campaign finance reform, but Lamont defended it today as a necessary, pragmatic step to compete with a wealthy Republican candidate, Tom Foley.
“Democrats, I’ll tell you this is the team that gives you the best opportunity to win in November,” Lamont said.
When it appeared that Malloy might be the only gubernatorial candidate to qualify for public financing, Glassman told the Mirror it was important for others to reach the threshold.
“If we can’t do it, that sends a message that only millionaires can run for office,” Glassman said. “And that would be a sad day for Connecticut.”
Lamont and Glassman each declined to directly answer questions today about their delegate counts or to speculate about how many delegates Glassman could deliver to Lamont.
“This is not about delegates,” Lamont said.
The first contest on the road to the Democratic nomination comes May 22, when delegates to the Democratic nominating convention endorse a candidate. Anyone who gets 15 percent of the delegate vote can get on the Aug. 10 primary ballot. Candidates also can petition their way onto the ballot.
Glassman will face competition at the convention from whomever Malloy chooses, as well as Kevin Lembo, who is running for the office. Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura is considering having his name placed in nomination.
Lamont said today that Glassman was the only candidate ever under serious consideration.
The choice pairs Lamont, a Greenwich multi-millionaire businessman descended from a partner of the financier, J.P. Morgan, with Glassman, who grew up in New Britain in a single-parent household and got a law degree going to the University of Connecticut at night.
Her father died when she was four. She and her three brothers worked their way through school, her brothers at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and Glassman at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
“You might say I’ve had a chance to live the American dream,” Glassman said.
She is the first selectwoman of Simsbury, well-to-do Hartford suburb that typically elects Republicans, and former aide to Kevin Sullivan when he was a legislative leader and lieutenant governor, giving Lamont a partner with experience in municipal and state government.
“This is a woman who gets results. Just ask the voters in Simsbury. They keep electing her time after time,” Lamont said.
Lamont and Glassman have known each other since 2006, when he was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and she was the nominee for lieutenant governor.
Malloy, who is favored to win the convention endorsement, announced Sunday he has raised the $250,000 in small-dollar donations to qualify for public financing. He left no doubt he will continue to use campaign finance as an issue against Lamont and, now, Glassman.
Today, he issued this statement:
“Mary is a friend, and a fine public servant, but this is a strange decision on her part. For months, Mary has been touting her support for public financing and saying it would be a ‘sad day’ if this campaign became one dominated by ‘millionaire candidates.’ I guess she’s had a change of heart. What’s even more strange is the statement Ned put out yesterday in response to my announcement that we’ve qualified for public financing, in which he said that if he were Governor, he’d work to ‘strengthen the Citizens Elections Program,’ the very system he’s working to tear down today.”