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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Sunday Before Election, Obama Will be in Bridgeport

By Mark Pazniokas

President Obama is more than making up to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for canceling a mid-week rally in Bridgeport last week, coming instead in campaign primetime: the Sunday before the election.

A political source who confirmed the visit was unaware if Obama still will appear at Bridgeport Central High School, where he had been scheduled to appear Oct. 15 for a weeknight rally, or if he might move downtown to the 10,000-seat Arena at Harbor Yards.

Four years ago, Obama drew a capacity crowd to the arena on the Saturday before the election, a visit that Malloy credited with helping turn out a strong vote in Bridgeport and other cities.

Last week, Obama abruptly canceled political trips to New Jersey for a U.S. Senate fundraiser and to Bridgeport for what was to have been his first public rally of the 2014 campaign season. Instead, he convened a meeting on the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak.

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Posted 05:22 PM
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Malloy Challenges Foley, Then Chides Reporters

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today challenged Republican Tom Foley and reporters over Foley’s refusal to disclose his state tax returns, suggesting the Greenwich businessman may be hiding income from an out-of-state company or a yacht he docks in Florida.

And the press was letting him get away with it.

“Is he paying taxes in other states? Did he have boat income in Florida, for instance, that has him paying taxes there?” Malloy said. “Is he recognizing wages in another state other than Connecticut, although we know that he spends almost all of his time running his company from Connecticut? What is he hiding? What is he hiding?”

Malloy’s digs at Foley and reporters, whom he accused of going easy on his GOP challenger, provided an unexpected sour note at the close of a celebratory press conference called to discuss Connecticut’s best monthly jobs report in 20 years.

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Posted 07:54 PM
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CT Jobs Report Before Election Shows Big Gains

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

The last jobs report before Election Day showed today that Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent, the lowest its been since November 2008 after the start of the recession.

The Labor Department reported that Connecticut rebounded strongly from a weak August, gaining 11,500 jobs in September. The agency also downgraded the August decline from 3,600 jobs lost to 1,200.

The unemployment rate in September reached its lowest point since shortly after Connecticut entered the last recession in November 2008 and September’s numbers represent the single-largest monthly gain April 1994.

“September employment numbers are very encouraging, with strong gains in estimated payroll employment,” Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research, wrote in a statement today.

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Posted 01:16 PM
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Honored by Westport Democrats Image
Westport Democrats tonight honored longtime Westport party stalwarts Martha Aasen and Dora Stuttman at a “Paint the Town Blue” event at the Kibberia Restaurant, Post Road West. Among those paying tribute was former First Selectman Diane Farrell (r). The evening included video tributes from a number of Democrats, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. Paying respects in person were Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Comptroller Kevin Limbo, Treasurer Denise Nappier, and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, among others. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 08:41 PM
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Debicella Takes in $1M, But Short of Himes’ Fundraising Image
Republican Dan Debicella (l) pulled in less than incumbent Democrat Jim Himes. Contributed photos

Washington – Shelton businessman Dan Debicella, a Republican, has raised more than $1 million in his efforts to oust Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District.

But Himes has outpaced his rival, having pulled in about $2.5 million in campaign funds as of Sept. 30, according to the candidates’ latest quarterly filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

There’s also a great difference in how much cash the candidates had on hand at the end of the filing period to help their campaigns in the crucial few weeks before the Nov. 4 elections.

Himes reported $1.8 million in available funds, Debicella $114,314.

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Posted 12:30 PM
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Absentee Ballots Lagging Image
Former State Sen. Judith Freedman of Westport was among voters picking up absentee ballots at the Town Clerk’s Office today. Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said 293 absentee ballots have been issued through Tuesday and 89 have been returned. Strauss, in the job 16 years, said “that’s considered low compared to past years.”  She calculates that the absentee ballots usually represent about 10 percent of the total votes so that could mean a lower than usual turnout on Nov. 4. Strauss said to encourage voters her office will be open on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 06:57 PM
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

State Rep Candidates Square Off at Library

By James Lomuscio

Partisan rancor was tempered by civility at today’s state representative debate at the Westport Library. Image
Republican challenger Brandi Briggs listens as incumbent Democrat Jonathan Steinberg makes a point. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

It featured 136th Assembly District candidates Jonathan Steinberg, a two-term incumbent Democrat, and Republican newcomer Brandi Briggs, facing off in their second debate.

About 45 persons attended the event in the library’s McManus Room sponsored by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Central themes were Connecticut’s lagging job growth compared to other states, a tenuous economy, and an ailing transportation system. Moderator was Eric W. Gjede, associate counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

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Posted 03:25 PM
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Monday, October 13, 2014

State Rep Candidates to Meet in Chamber Forum Image
136th District candidates: Jonathan Steinberg and Brandi Briggs. Contributed photos

Candidates for the state’s 136th Assembly District, covering most of Westport, will take part in a forum Tuesday sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC).

The noon event at the Westport Library’s McManus Room will feature incumbent Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat seeking a third two-year term, and Republican challenger Brandi Briggs.

They will field questions submitted from the Chamber board, members of the Chamber, and the public, an announcement said.

“This is a great opportunity for the business community and others to hear what their current and potential representatives have to say about the economy, jobs, transportation and taxation,” said Matthew Mandell, executive director of the WWCC.

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Posted 12:33 PM
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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Voter Registration Hours, Deadlines

With Election Day less than a month away, Westport’s Office of the Registrars of Voters announced today that the office will be open Monday through Friday except for holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.for voter registration.

The deadline for in-person registration is 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.

The office will also be open on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday, Oct. 28, until 8 p.m. for special enrollment sessions.

Registrars said that registration applications hand-delivered by persons other than the applicants must be by in Tuesday Oct. 21, to qualify, and mailed applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 21 and received by Tuesday, Oct. 28.

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Posted 10:48 AM
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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

House, Senate Candidates Square Off at League Debate

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds additional quotes) With Election Day less than a month away, jobs, taxes, an ailing regional rail service and an unsuccessful rollout of Connecticut’s common core curriculum dominated tonight’s League of Women Voters (LVW) of Westport candidates debate for state senator and state representative. Image
State Senate candidates debate at Westport Town Hall tonight. Signs in front of state Reps. Kim Fawcett (l) and Tony Hwang (2nd l) erroneously identified their party affiliation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

About 200 persons filled the Town Hall auditorium for the forums, one hour for the Senate and one hour for the House of Representative debates in which candidates fielded questions from Kay Maxwell, past president of the LVW for Connecticut and the United States.

Vying for the Senate’s 26th District were incumbent Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican, and newcomer Philip Sharlach, a Democrat. Contenders for the Senate’s 28th District were state representatives Tony Hwang, a Republican, and Democrat Kim Fawcett.

Candidates for House District 136 were incumbent state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat, who squared off against newcomer Brandi Briggs, a member of the Representative Town Meeting. House candidates for District 143 were Republican incumbent Gail Lavielle and Democratic newcomer Keith Rodgerson.

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Posted 10:10 PM
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Malloy Closes, Ties Foley in Quinnipiac Poll

By Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut’s super-heated race for governor has closed again to a 43 percent to 43 percent tie between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican Tom Foley, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti was at nine percent.

Malloy, the first-term Democratic incumbent, erased the six-point lead Foley posted a month ago in Quinnipiac’s last poll, a survey that unsettled Democrats by showing Malloy sinking in a race that had been static for a year.

“It looks like we’re heading for another photo finish - just like in 2010,” said Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director.

Democrats had been bracing for the worst. After Quinnipiac announced Tuesday it would release a new poll, the Democratic Governors Association said the university’s polling had underrepresented Democrats this cycle, a claim the GOP made about their voters two years ago.

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Posted 06:20 AM
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LWV Candidates Debate Set for Tonight

The League of Women Voters of Westport will hold a candidates debate today at Westport Town Hall from 7 to 9 p.m.

Co sponsors are the PTA Council of Westport, Westport Woman’s Club, and Y’s Women.

The program will begin with candidates for the state senate, including Toni Boucher (R) and Philip Sharlach (D) for District 26; and Kim Fawcett (D) and Tony Hwang (R) for District 28.

Next will be state representative candidates Brandi Briggs (R) and Jonathan Steinberg (D) for District 136, and Keith Rodgerson (D) and Gail Lavielle (R) for District 143. The program will be shown live on the town’s cable channel and streamed online on its website

Posted 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 06, 2014

Malloy up by 8 Points in First PPP Survey of 2014

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has an eight-percentage point lead over Republican Tom Foley in a survey by Public Policy Polling, a firm with a reputation for reliability and ties to Democrats.

Malloy, the first-term Democrat, led Foley, 43 percent to 35 percent, with petitioning candidate Joe Visconti supported by 9 percent in a poll released today.

PPP is generally considered a Democratic firm, based on its client base, but it also has a reputation for reliability. In 2012, its polls were found to be the most accurate in a study by Fordham University.

The poll, which is the firm’s first Connecticut survey in 2014, is the first in recent months showing Malloy with a lead. The governor trailed Foley by six points in a Quinnipiac University poll last month, 46 percent to 40 percent, with Visconti supported by seven percent.

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Posted 07:20 PM
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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Westport Dems Honor Stuttman and Aasen on Oct. 17 Image
Honored: Dora Stuttman (l) and Martha Aasen. Contributed photos

The Westport Democratic Town Committee will honor longtime Westporters Dora Stuttman and Martha Aasen at its first “Paint the Town Blue” event on Friday, Oct. 17.

It will take place at the Kibberia Restaurant, 361 Post Road West, from 7 to 10 p.m.

“Dora and Martha completely transformed the political landscape of Westport, and for more than 50 years they have been a major force on behalf of Democrats in Connecticut,” said DTC Chair John Hartwell.

“Martha and Dora are clearly the heart of the Democratic Party in Westport, and we proudly honor them at this year’s ‘Paint the Town Blue,’” said event co-chair Candice Savin.

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Posted 02:00 PM
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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Talking Transportation: Foley vs. Malloy

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Regular readers of this column know that I’ve never been shy about criticizing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for his transportation policies. Image

But after hearing him and his Republican opponent, Tom Foley, discuss transportation in a recent forum, I am enthusiastically endorsing Malloy for re-election.

In my view, Tom Foley is clueless. He doesn’t understand the issues, has no new ideas and often refuses to address specifics. If he is our next governor, mass transit in Connecticut is in serious trouble.

Since early in the campaign Foley has said we spend too much on mass transit, often to the detriment of our roads.  He also says it is not the state’s job to “purposefully push people out of their cars and onto mass transit.

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Posted 09:06 PM
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