Has Dan Roberti decided that the way to win a Democratic primary for Congress is by questioning the tactics and motives of the Democratic governor, Dannel P. Malloy?

Roberti tried to score points against House Speaker Christopher Donovan today by lobbing a grenade at a budget solution devised by the governor and supported by the vast majority of Democratic legislators.

But every substantive criticism Roberti leveled at Donovan, the best-known Democrat seeking the nomination for the open 5th Congressional District seat, involved actions that were initiated by Malloy and signed off by the legislature.

The approach is curious given that Roberti was being advised by Dan Kelly, who managed Malloy’s campaign for governor.

Robert is blaming Donovan for Malloy’s strategy of passing a budget that relied on labor concessions.  With the unions’ failure to ratify the concession deal, Malloy is now planning 6,500 layoffs and other cuts to make up the difference.

“With unemployment at 9.1 percent Speaker Donovan should not be putting more people out of work,” Roberti said in an emailed press release. “By not considering all possible options, Donovan decided to balance the budget by protecting special interests while increasing unemployment.”

“Unfortunately, Dan Roberti has displayed a lack of experience and understanding of the workings of government. Only the governor has the power to lay-off state workers,” said Gabe Rosenberg, a spokesman for Donovan.

It was unclear what Roberti, whose campaign could not be reached, meant by special interests. Cities and towns, perhaps? The only significant change forced by the House on Malloy’s budget revisions was to protect state aid to municipalities.

Malloy’s senior adviser, Roy Occhiogrosso, declined to respond, saying, “We don’t comment on campaign rhetoric.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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