STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) – A former Democratic state representative says he is ready to challenge Malloy for governor as a third party candidate this November.
Jonathan Pelto of Mansfield was thought of as a Democratic Party wonderkid 30 years ago when, at the age of 23, he successfully ran Senator Gary Hart’s Presidential Primary campaign here in Connecticut.
He rose to become a Democratic Party insider and then had a falling out. Now he is the ultimate outsider.
But with Malloy to get the Democratic nomination for a second term and Greenwich businessman Tom Foley the odds-on favorite to lock up the Republican nomination, Pelto thinks he has a shot at beating both of them and is considering exploring a run.
“I think that there’s a growing realization that another four years is not what Connecticut needs when it comes to Dan Malloy,” said Pelto, who’s been out of the political limelight for 20 years but runs a political blog and helps other bloggers.
Pelto says the governor’s education reforms have alienated teachers and parents, and that recent polling shows there are enough disaffected Democrats and independent voters to make a third party candidate viable.
“In order to win, you need about 400,000 votes,” he said. “One out of four Democrats are already saying they won’t vote for Malloy and six out of ten unaffiliated are saying they won’t vote for Malloy.”
Republican Tom Foley lost to Malloy by a razor-thin margin of about 6,300 votes four years ago. A third party candidate with the kind of organizational skills Pelto has could potentially deny Malloy a second term and assure the Republicans take the governor’s office.
“If it becomes clear that that’s the only impact that my candidacy would have – that it would serve to be a spoiler – then I won’t proceed.”
Said Malloy, “Lots of things in a close election can make a difference. People have a right to run.”
The governor knows that in another close race, just a few thousand votes either way could make the difference.
Pelto says he is ready to form his exploratory committee as soon as next week and will test to see if the followers of his blog will help him do this.