"Dirty Harry" Text Reignites Political Feud in Enfield Legislative Race | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

"Dirty Harry" Text Reignites Political Feud in Enfield Legislative Race

Sep 21, 2016

Tim Herbst and David Alexander were political rivals when they were students at Trinity College.

An inadvertently-sent text message has renewed a political feud between two Connecticut politicians.

The rivalry between Republican Tim Herbst and Democrat David Alexander goes back several years to their college days.

TimPAC is a political action committee formed by Herbst, Trumbull's First Selectman, to help defeat Democrats in General Assembly races this November.

One of the races targeted by TimPAC is Enfield's 58th district race, where incumbent Democrat State Representative David Alexander is facing Republican challenger Greg Stokes.

As it turns out, this isn't the first time these two politicians have locked horns. Herbst and Alexander were political rivals when they were students at Trinity College.

"There was a student body president election in 2001 at Trinity College, and apparently it got very, very heated," said Christopher Keating, The Hartford Courant's Capitol bureau chief. "Herbst was interning at the time for [current House Minority Leader] Themis Klarides, who actually showed up on campus and stumped for Herbst."

Herbst won that election. Fast-forward to last week. According to Keating, after a series of texts back and forth, Herbst sent Alexander a short video of Clint Eastwood as the movie character Dirty Harry pointing a gun at the camera.

Alexander perceived the "Make My Day" video as a threat, and contacted the state Capitol police, which began an investigation into the matter.

Herbst said the Dirty Harry video was a joke, and not meant for Alexander. Herbst did not apologize for sending the video, and on Twitter he instead accused Alexander of having politically thin skin.

Herbst also suggested that Alexander went to the Capitol police as retaliation for the 2001 election at Trinity College.

The Twitter storm that followed brought in another Trinity classmate, state Republican chair J.R. Romano.

"Yes, he got into a Twitter war with the state Democratic Party Executive Director [Michael Mandell], and there was a lot of back and forth on Twitter regarding this," said Keating.

The Capitol police has concluded its investigation, and told Herbst to have no further contact with Alexander.