Tea Party activists from across Connecticut want one of their steeping partners Joe Visconti to get out of the governor’s race. Why? He’s sucking votes from Republican candidate Tom Foley in a tight gubernatorial race against incumbent Democrat Dan Malloy.
They say Visconti cannot win, he’s a spoiler, he’s destroying all their efforts. Visconti’s name will appear on the ballot as a petitioning candidate.
An excerpt from a letter to Visconti that Tea Party activists posted on Facebook:
After a year and half of campaigning, you have raised a negligible amount of money. Facebook and YouTube are not, by themselves, viable campaign strategies. Your hope of “going national” as you have told us many times has not worked. Think of this: we are not the only state with elections going on. Why would a gun owner in Texas bother sending a no-name petitioning candidate money when they have their own battle for governor that is literally about life and death? They wouldn’t. You know it, and we know it. The democrats and the republicans are likely to spend over $10 million each on this race. Your $17,000 just can’t compete.
Recent polls have placed Foley 6 points ahead of Malloy, or down 1 point, depending. The 7% you are polling solidifies your role as spoiler, not winner. With less than two months to go, you cannot hope to gain enough name recognition and support to garner more than that. What’s more, we understand your strategy of breaking out in the debates, however, since you are polling at less than 10%, you will be excluded from those debates.
Second, continuing this candidacy will destroy everything we have built over the last five years.
Perhaps this is truly the most important point for you to consider. For five years we have stood together, rallied together, protested, plotted and planned together. We’ve grown from a few dozen to several thousand strong. We’ve moved from the street corner into the political process. We are now members of Town Committees, Boards of Education, Boards of Finance, City and Town Councils, State Representatives, and even a State Senator or two. We have managed to work our way into every level of politics and government. We have changed the conversation in this state in a profound way. Since 2010 every single political conversation has had to consider our ideals, our goals, our message. One of our steepest learning curves over these years is that we have to both keep our energy and our supporters focused on principle and avoid flaming out over singular elections. If we have learned anything over the last five years, it’s that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
We will get into the Governor’s Mansion in due time. We must live to fight another day, but your candidacy is tearing us apart. Consider what is happening on social media. We are sniping at each other in full view of the public. Friends and allies are no longer speaking in civil tones, if they are speaking at all.
And what about the future? What happens when you lose?
A Malloy win – because you will be seen as the spoiler – will energize Connecticut’s march/race to progressivism. Malloy can – and will – claim the mantle of having neutered both moderates and conservatives. Further gun control would be a certainty. The very issue you hold near and dear will be worse as a result of your candidacy, not better. Having played spoiler, the tea party will lose all credibility and influence. We become irrelevant/invisible overnight.
Tanya Bachand, founder, New Haven Tea Party
Bob MacGuffie, founder, Right Principles
Art McNally, AKA Joe The Voter Woodbury, Former Member of the Hartford Tea Party
Dale Dauphinais, Chairman, Quiet Corner Tea Party Patriots
Jen Ezzell, founder, 2nd District Tea Party Patriots
Pamela Kurtz, founder, Brookfield Tea Party
Robin and Stan Emond, co-founders, Southington Tea Party
John Beidler, co-founder, Southington Tea Party
Cheryl Lemos, founder, Stratford Tea Party
John Pepper, founder, Cheshire Tea Party