So, if you could pull up a bar stool next to Democratic Governor Dan Malloy or his Republican opponent Tom Foley for a beer whom would you choose? Better yet, with each having a combined $13 million in public campaign cash to expend they should be buying.
A beer with a bud actually matters in a tight race, especially with a governor not known to let his hair down, nor for that matter his wooden counterpart. In the final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign each candidate will try to loosen up as they battle at the margins.
Friday night, gazing out over Ash Creek that divides Bridgeport from Fairfield, surrounded by dozens of Black Rockers on a walking tour of the neighborhood, Malloy beckoned the warm late-September evening hopeful of a beer with the locals. Neighborhood resident Elliott Arluck raced into his Fox Street home that abuts the creek, emerging with a bottled frosty for Connecticut’s chief executive and a cheer from neighbors. Malloy toasted the crowd and the city. Little things mean a lot in a campaign.
Malloy spent several hours in Black Rock (yes, Black Rock’s in Bridgeport), that cool waterfront hamlet, on an evening walking tour of Fairfield Avenue for neighborhood input on $500,000 in state funds that will brighten the streetscape and facades of the busy business district.
Malloy is expected to return to the state’s largest city many times in coming weeks in a need of energizing a Democratic voter base to overcome Foley’s presumed suburban advantage. Black Rock features the city’s highest turnout area where voters can be persnickety about elections. It is also the remaining city bastion for Republicans. The neighborhood also has a high percentage of choosy unaffiliated voters.
Malloy did not mail in this visit. He chatted with constituents and popped into shops and eateries to say hello. He even stepped into the neighborhood’s delicious sweet tooth institution Timothy’s on Fairfield Avenue to sample the ice cream as well as marveling the activity of neighborhood pubs, with a touring group of about 100.
Malloy ended his evening with a beer greeting peeps inside the Tautog Tavern on Fairfield Avenue. Got a feeling he’ll be back for a few more. And who knows, maybe even Foley, too.
Line up the shots and beer.