HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — With public opinion polls showing a tight race for governor in Connecticut, both major party candidates spent the final weekend before the election trying to boost turnout at the polls, and Democrat Dan Malloy received an eleventh-hour visit Sunday from former President Bill Clinton.

“It matters who the governor is,” Clinton told the crowd of about 2,000 people who gathered for a Halloween night rally for Malloy at the University of Hartford.

Clinton said “the shape and speed” of which Connecticut recovers from the recession will depend on who is elected governor. He said Malloy has the experience and expertise from his 14 years as mayor of Stamford to make sure the state grows a more diverse economy that will allow people to have a middle-class lifestyle and empower the poor to move into the middle class.

Clinton’s latest visit to Connecticut comes on the heels of another presidential visit. President Barack Obama, in Bridgeport on Saturday, urged the estimated 9,000 on hand to support Malloy, Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and other Democratic contenders.

Clinton was also scheduled to appear at a rally in Norwalk for Himes, a freshman Democrat who is facing a tough challenge from state Sen. Dan Debicella. He recently stumped for Blumenthal, who appeared at Sunday’s event.

Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, a Greenwich businessman, spent much of his weekend touring the state with friends, family and fellow candidates in his blue-and-red campaign bus, appearing at rallies, Halloween parades and restaurants.

“I really enjoy this. I just enjoy meeting people,” Foley said Saturday night, after introducing himself to tables of diners at the Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant in East Lyme.

“Even though we have 3.5 million people in this state and 2.1 million registered voters, politics is all very personal, and personal contact is important,” said Foley, dressed casually in jeans and a campaign pullover. “Anyone you can touch, you come in contact with, have an opportunity to answer their questions, you’d be surprised at the conversion rate if they’re not already on board.”

A Quinnipiac University Poll last week gave Malloy a slight edge in the race to fill the job now held by retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Among likely voters, the Oct. 26 poll showed Malloy leading Foley 48 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Of those who picked a candidate, 11 percent said they could change their minds before Election Day.

Dan Kelly, Malloy’s campaign manager, acknowledged the race is neck-and-neck and said he expects polls taken in the final hours of the race will show his candidate both ahead and behind in the race. In a written statement sent Sunday, Kelly said Malloy “is in position to win” on Tuesday.

“We have one of the strongest turnout operations that Connecticut has ever seen. Democrats are organized like no other this year, with a smart and professional field operation, including many of the same folks who effectively targeted and turned out our supporters in the primary,” Kelly said.

Kelly said appearances by Obama and Clinton are motivating the Democratic base, but Foley said he isn’t worried about their visits. He said he believes there’s momentum behind his candidacy.

“I think the voters in Connecticut are going to vote based on the issues, and the issues favor Republicans this cycle,” said Foley, who has been running as a successful businessman and fiscal conservative who knows how to fix the state’s economy and address Connecticut’s multi-billion-dollar deficit problems.

Malloy has touted himself as a successful former mayor who helped attract new jobs to Stamford and will replicate his successes statewide if elected governor.

Besides the last-minute rallies and presidential visits, both candidates are flooding the airwaves with political TV commercials. As of Oct. 27, state election documents show Foley has loaned $10.8 million to his campaign while receiving nearly $1.6 million from individuals.

Malloy is the first gubernatorial candidate in the general election to participate in the state’s public campaign financing program. He received $6 million in public funds to spend on his campaign during the general election and $2.5 million for the Democratic primary.

In comparison, Rell raised and spent $4.1 million to win the governorship in 2006.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (2)
  1. ccdemuth says:

    Himes’ healthcare takeover already has massive cost overruns compared to its advertized costs. Himes voted for a bill that was supposed to cost only $788 billion. Since March, the estimate has been increased by $115-125 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    Only in Washington does one encounter the phrase “only $788 billion”. Only with followers such as Himes can Nancy Pelosi pass laws first and admit to the costs later. Only if the voters return Himes to Washington will we get more of the same fraudulent accounting of the costs of his votes, wasteful spending, and abuse of the taxpayer.

  2. ccdemuth says:

    Jim Himes’ Bubble-Era Politics

    We have just gotten through one bubble, but in the process created another one. The first was a financial bubble and the second, which grew out of the first, is a government bubble. Perhaps our experience of living through two bubbles in such close succession can help us draw lessons about how bubbles work and what we should do about them.

    First, the illusion of unlimited resources makes it impossible to establish priorities and make sensible decisions. Borrowers could take advantage of free money from lenders who were offloading the risk onto others. The illusion of limitless and risk-free financing made it possible for borrowers and investors to think we could have it all.

    Second, bubbles end – badly. It cannot go on forever so it doesn’t. Once the last patsy is onboard, a bubble ends. Our financial bubble is ending and our financial markets are reverting to making sense.

    Our next bubble is government. Our government seems to think it can have it all. For a while, it can: each new program can be a “right” because it doesn’t need to be a priority. There is no need for priorities while everything appears possible. Our government has found its patsies in its accommodating creditors, taxpayers, and future taxpayers.

    This too will end – sooner or later and a higher or lower cost. Post-bubble, we will re-familiarize ourselves with the fact of resource constraints. We will prioritize. It will be an exciting period for public policy in which serious people will have to convey reasons for their best ideas and convince others of their wisdom.

    Jim Himes is a politician of the bubble era – he is the representative of unlimited government to Fairfield County and a symbol of the excesses of our past. Watch for him to appropriate an “independent” label in the coming months. While we should sympathize with his efforts to distance himself from his extremist record, we cannot allow him to become independent of reality. He votes with Nancy Pelosi over 95% of the time; that is not an independent record. It is a record of profligate spending that we cannot sustain. Times have changed. Our families cannot afford Himes anymore.

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