Despite being embroiled in a primary battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont has launched a new television ad billing himself as an “independent voice” and even stealing a favorite line from Connecticut’s last third-party governor, Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

“What you want to do is go up to Hartford and be your own man, be independent, with no strings attached,” Lamont said in the 60-second spot released over the weekend. “And that’s one of the promises I’m making to the people of Connecticut, you know. I’m going to be nobody’s man but yours.”

The latter line was a favorite of Weicker’s a former Republican who left his party two years after his ouster from the U.S. Senate in 1988 to run for governor. Weicker won the 1990 gubernatorial contest with about 45 percent of the vote in a three-way race against two sitting congressmen, Republican John G. Rowland and Democrat Bruce Morrison.

Despite distancing himself from partisan affiliations in the new ad, Lamont still had not captured 50 percent of the Democratic gubernatorial primary vote according to a late May poll by Quinnipiac University in Hamden. That survey found Lamont leading former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy 41 percent to 24 percent in the primary, but with 30 percent of Democrats remaining undecided.

Mansfield political consultant Jonathan Pelto, a former strategist for the Connecticut Democratic Party who ran the last successful Democratic gubernatorial campaign – the 1986 re-election victory of then-Gov. William A. O’Neill – called Lamont’s approach “risky,” adding the message is aimed more at unaffiliated voters frustrated with state government than at core Democratic Party members likely to vote in the August primary.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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