Public office: Selectman, Greenwich; Board of Finance, Greenwich; Investment Advisory Committee. Ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 1990 and U.S. Senate in 2006.
Current post: Chairman, Campus Televideo; Digital; Adjunct faculty, Central Connecticut State University.
Edward M. “Ned” Lamont Jr. is the Greenwich businessman who spent $17 million of his own money in a $20 million campaign for Joseph I. Lieberman’s U.S. Senate seat in 2006. He won the Democratic primary, then lost the general election to Lieberman, who was on the ballot as a petitioning candidate.
He got into the race for governor, promising he would not be “outgunned.” He declined to say if he considered “outgunned” a synonym for “outspent,” but he contributed $1.85 million to his own campaign as of May 11.
As an opponent of the war in Iraq, Lamont beat Lieberman in a nationally watched Democratic primary in 2006, helped by online, grass-roots activists who used the race as an outlet for their anger over the war and President Bush.
Lieberman stayed in the race as a petitioning candidate and beat Lamont in November by 10 percentage points.
Four years ago, Lieberman did much of the groundwork for Lamont, provoking and energizing the left with his support for President Bush and the war. This year, there is no hated incumbent, no issue as powerful as the war, no waiting movement. Instead, there is a bad economy.
In his stump speech, Lamont stresses his business credentials as the founder of Lamont Digital, the parent of a cable-television company, Campus Televideo, that serves college campuses. His message revolves around job creation, fiscal responsibility and the shortcomings of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who is not seeking re-election.
“Long-term, we’re not going to solve this budget crisis with more taxes. We solve it with more taxpayers,” he said. “We have a diminishing economic pie. It’s dead last in job creation, new business startups.”
Lamont said he learned hard lessons in 2006.
Lieberman unsuccessfully tried to convince Democratic primary voters that Lamont was a closet Republican, then he pivoted in the general election and branded Lamont a radical and “a partisan polarizer.”
“You’ve got to define yourself, or else they are going to define you,” Lamont said. “And then it’s too late to turn around.”
This year, no one has accused him of being a radical. Lamont disagrees with the legislature’s Democratic majority over a labor and business issue that is likely to face the next governor: a bill to require that private businesses offer paid sick days. It has passed both chambers, but not in the same year.
“I think we deal with sick leave just fine at the small-business level where I live. I’m not sure I need the government stepping in and putting another mandate on businesses like mine,” he said. “I do believe it sort of sends the wrong signal out there at a time when we have a very high unemployment rate, and I’m doing everything as a candidate for governor to recruit, to expand job creation in our state.”
On social issues, Lamont is more in tune with legislative Democrats, who have voted to abolish the death penalty and ratify a court decision legalizing gay marriage. Lamont would sign the death-penalty bill, which Rell vetoed.
“If the legislature passed the bill, I would not veto it,” he said.
He endorsed gay marriage before the court decision.
“The state should not be intruding into voluntary relationships between people. So I’m supportive of what Connecticut has done,” Lamont said. “I believe it is settled law. I would hope there would be no changes to that.”
On the budget, Lamont pointed to his work with a non-partisan group at Central Connecticut State University that produced a fiscal blueprint for Connecticut early last year, before he first floated the possibility of his running for governor in March. It called for $700 million in spending cuts, plus $700 million in new taxes and the elimination of $700 million in tax exemptions and credits.
Lamont was born in Washington, D.C, where his father was an economist who helped administer the Marshall Plan for the post-war reconstruction of Europe. His great-grandfather was Thomas W. Lamont, a partner of the financier, J.P. Morgan.
After graduating from Harvard, Lamont spent two years in Ludlow, Vt., working for a weekly newspaper, the Black River Tribune. It was run by friends who knew each other from prep school or college. The group included the media consultant, Carter Eskew, and two prominent journalists, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker and Alex Beam of The Boston Globe.
Lamont joined Cablevision in 1980 after getting a graduate degree at Yale’s School of Management, where he wrote a case study suggesting that The New York Times launch a 24-hour cable news network. Four years later, Lamont founded his own company, Lamont Digital, which sells cable systems to colleges.
Education: B.A., Harvard College; M.B.A., Yale School of Management
Personal: Lamont, 56, is married to the former Annie Huntress, a managing partner of the venture capital fund, Oak Investment Partners. They have three children and reside in Greenwich.