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They Love Public Financing. The Oversight, Not As Much.

Jul 3, 2019
Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

Tense for years, the General Assembly’s relationship with the State Elections Enforcement Commission is now so toxic that clean-election advocates speak wistfully about staging an intervention, finding some way to break a cycle of recrimination they say undermines campaign-finance reforms Connecticut adopted in 2005 to national acclaim. 

Reform-minded Democrats have long held up "dark money" — political money that can't be traced to its source — as a symptom of what's wrong with politics in Washington. But while House Democrats this winter passed a bill to end the secrecy shielding donors behind unregulated dark money contributions, liberal activist groups now deploy those funds to boost the party's candidates in the 2020 elections.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

"Treasonous" is a word President Donald Trump is now using to describe claims that he or those in his orbit conspired with Russian officials during the 2016 election. His re-election campaign is urging television news outlets to have second thoughts about booking some of the president's harshest critics, including Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is the latest Democrat to enter the increasingly crowded race for the White House, making the initial announcement with a message of unity.

Connecticut State Capitol / Wikimedia Commons

The new wave of progressive Democrats, both in the Connecticut General Assembly and in Washington, D.C., isn't waiting for the 2020 election to bring about big changes.

In Connecticut, there is emboldened optimism for increasing the state's minimum wage, like Massachusetts just did and allowing early voting, like New York, which is on the verge of enacting.

In Personal Spending, Lamont Crushed Stefanowski

Jan 11, 2019
Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski during a break at a debate.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

In the battle of wealthy gubernatorial self-funders in 2018, there was no contest as to who was willing and able to spend more of their own money: On that score, Democrat Ned Lamont outspent Republican Bob Stefanowski, $11 million to $1 million after the August primaries.

Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

The chief counsel to the state Senate Republicans has been fired after admitting misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars from an election expenses account. Michael Cronin was confronted Monday by the caucus leader, state Senator Len Fasano, after vendors complained of unpaid bills, and a check was bounced.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

This year’s race for governor saw candidates spending a lot of money for each vote cast. Democrat Ned Lamont outspent his Republican opponent nearly two to one.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Upstart candidates like Connecticut's Jahana Hayes played a big role in Democrats regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday's election. Hayes' victory over Republican opponent Manny Santos also kept the GOP locked out of the state's congressional delegation yet again.

Mark Goebel / Creative Commons

We have a tradition on the show of celebrating voting and the people who vote by speaking to thoughtful "citizen observers" from around the state about their experience of voting on this Election Day. 

Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons

It's almost over. One more day of lawn signs, robocalls, nasty mailers and deceptive commercials. Election Day is upon us and is shaping up to bring an unprecedented number of voters to the polls.  

SHU/Hearst Poll Has Stefanowski Ahead By 2.4 Points

Nov 1, 2018
Sacred Heart University

His lead of 2.4 points is within the margin of error, but Republican Bob Stefanowski nudged ahead of Democrat Ned Lamont for the first time Thursday in a Sacred Heart University/Hearst Connecticut Media poll in the Connecticut gubernatorial race.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The final debate in this year's race for governor is in the rearview mirror. What did we learn Tuesday night, and what should Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski be most worried about before polls open just six days from now? Should it be:

  • Reaching out to those favoring Oz Griebel? A Quinnipiac Poll released Oct. 30 found 7 percent of likely voters support their unaffiliated rival. Of that group, more than half said they might jump ship at the last moment. In a close race, Griebel breakaways could put Stefanowski or Lamont on top.

Little Hinges USA / Google Images

Are you one of those people who wants to vote for Oz Griebel for governor but won't because you're afraid your vote might lead to a win for your least favorite candidate? 

Democrats: Does Connecticut Want An NRA-Endorsed Governor?

Oct 30, 2018
Richard Blumenthal, Ned Lamont and Chris Murphy.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

A weekend of grieving the shooting deaths of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue gave way Monday to a hard push by Democrats to highlight Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s support from the NRA and the state’s largest gun-owners’ group, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

Ned Lamont leads Bob Stefanowski in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, 47 to 43 percent.
Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

With a week to go until Election Day, a new Quinnipiac University poll says the race is “too-close-to-call.”

Monkey Business / Thinkstock

The polling industry is seeking to regain public confidence after the 2016 election. Will the advent of live polling, like what's being done by The Upshot at The New York Times, rejuvenate enthusiasm or trust in poll results? What about the Political Atlas and its incorporation of opinions expressed on social media?

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Which party can get to 19?

That's the number of Connecticut Senate seats that Republicans or Democrats need to win on Nov. 6 to control the legislature's upper chamber.

Right now, it's an 18-18 split. But a national Republican-funded super PAC is spending large sums of money in an attempt to change that.

In the state House of Representatives, the GOP needs just five more seats to gain the majority for the first time since 1984.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The two major-party candidates in this year’s gubernatorial election are not accepting public financing.

Instead, both opted to make multi-million dollar contributions to their own campaigns. But self financing a run for governor doesn’t mean forgoing money from supporters all over the state. Even if those contributions, in comparison to overall campaign cash, are small.

Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

We can learn a lot from campaign finance reports.

In Connecticut's race for governor, they reveal that the three top contenders, Bob Stefanowski, Ned Lamont, and Oz Griebel, are all dipping deep into their own pockets to fund their campaigns. 

An era of a new kind of CEO activism appears to be in full swing. Think of Nike CEO Mark Parker's decision to feature ads with Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback turned racial justice activist. Or Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack, who in February pulled assault-style weapons from store shelves and raised the minimum age to buy guns to 21.

Corporate leaders, who historically stayed silent on policy, are increasingly speaking out. Their statements are directed at consumers, but employees are also responding and it is affecting morale and company culture to recruitment.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

  

Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were using strategies to deliberately divide America's political system decades before the pivotal 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush divided us into gangs of  'red' or 'blue.'

Pixabay / Creative Commons

Today, we've booked no guests. It's Colin and your calls. 

Saturday's confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the anticlimatic coda to a nomination that has both riveted and more deeply divided our country.

Depending on your view, the Kavanaugh confirmation either endangers the legitimacy of the court or is a welcome culmination to a decades-long effort to capture a solid conservative majority on the high court.

From left, Oz Griebel, Bob Stefanowski, and Ned Lamont at a recent debate at UConn.
CTMirror.org

With the nation transfixed on the revelations pouring out of Washington, D.C., how much remaining brain capacity do voters have for Connecticut's governor's race?

It's undoubtedly hard to compete for attention against news cycles dominated by edge-of-your-seat histrionics that could shape the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation. So this week we set out to bring state politics back into focus.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

This election cycle has been perilous for many Democratic incumbents in Congress. Just look at the primary losses of ten-term U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano and Joseph Crowley next door in Massachusetts and New York.

Yet members of Connecticut's all-Democratic congressional delegation are well on their way to being re-elected. The one exception is U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty who dropped her bid for a third term due to a singular scandal.

CTMirror.org

In recent days, Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski has ratcheted up the pleas for campaign donations. If more money doesn't come in quickly, he may be forced to curtail his television advertising blitz, Stefanowski's wife warned in an email to supporters.

This week, ahead of the first debate between the two major party candidates Wednesday night, we evaluate how Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont are doing at this critical stage of the race, both financially and otherwise. Will the constant barrage of attack ads, from both sides, continue?

Lamont, Griebel Jab Absent Stefanowski Over Income Tax Pledge

Sep 5, 2018
Gubernatorial candidates Oz Griebel (left) and Ned Lamont on stage at the University of St. Joseph's Hoffman Auditorium for Wednesday's debate
Keith Phaneuf / CTMirror.org

Gubernatorial contenders Ned Lamont and Oz Griebel took advantage of Bob Stefanowski’s absence at their first debate Wednesday to criticize their rival’s controversial pledge to phase out the state income tax.

Jahana Hayes speaking on WNPR's "Where We Live" after winning the National Teacher of the Year Award in 2016.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Should she win the Fifth Congressional District race on Nov. 6, Jahana Hayes would no longer be the only black female from New England elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley, who toppled 10-term U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Massachusetts' 7th District race, would hold that claim too. Unlike for Hayes, there's no Republican opposing Pressley in the general election.

This week, we gauge what Pressley's victory, and other trends suggesting this will be a big year for female candidates, means for Connecticut.

The Republican Governors Association is targeting Connecticut as its best chance of gaining a seat in the November election.

Stefanowski Declines First Debate, Accepts Four Other Invitations

Aug 27, 2018
Republican nominee for governor, Bob Stefanowski.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Bob Stefanowski declined an invitation Monday to the first debate of the general-election campaign: A forum on Connecticut’s economy at the University of St. Joseph that was to be broadcast on television by Fox 61 and radio by WNPR on Sept. 5.

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