Jonathan Pelto

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Jonathan Pelto
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Former candidate for
Governor of Connecticut
Prior offices
Connecticut House of Representatives
ProfessionCommunications strategist, blogger
Personal website
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Jonathan Pelto was an independent candidate for Governor of Connecticut in the 2014 elections.[1][2] Pelto failed to collect the minimum number of signatures required to qualify for the 2014 general election ballot.[3]

Pelto is a former Democratic member of the Connecticut House of Representatives. He was first elected to the legislature in 1984 and served until 1993. He later started Impact Strategies Inc., a public relations company specializing in issue advocacy, and served as its president.[4] In 2011, he began "Wait What?," a popular Connecticut commentary blog.[5]



See also: Connecticut Gubernatorial election, 2014

Pelto ran for Governor of Connecticut as an Education and Democratic Party candidate. In order to qualify for a slot on the general election ballot, Pelto was required to collect 7,500 signatures by August 6, 2014. He failed to meet the signature requirements, ending his 2014 bid for the governor's office.[1] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Race background

Close race ratings in Connecticut

On March 28, 2014, Democratic incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy formally announced his bid for re-election to a second term. He again teamed up with 2010 running mate and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman for the 2014 race.[6] Early on, Malloy was flagged as one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle.[7] As the campaign season has progressed, the Daily Kos reaffirmed Malloy's tenuous position, labeling the race a toss-up. The rating was assigned in consideration of a series of polls showing Malloy behind or rivaling Republican nominee Tom Foley in potential general election match-ups.[8][9] The Cook Political Report, meanwhile, consistently rated Connecticut as "Lean D," meaning the race was competitive but the Democrats had an advantage.[10]

Rematch of 2010 campaign

Malloy won the governorship in November 2010 following a hard-fought general election campaign against Republican Tom Foley, a wealthy Republican businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland under former President George W. Bush. The contest ended over a week after the general election took place. There were several reversed calls on the outcome of the race before Malloy finally emerged as the victor.[11] At the May 2014 State Republican Convention, delegates endorsed Foley for the second gubernatorial cycle in a row, bringing him one step closer to a 2014 re-match against Malloy. Although Foley was the resounding favorite at the convention, fellow GOP hopeful and current state Sen. majority leader John McKinney managed to garner enough delegate support to remain eligible for the nomination, preventing Foley from running unopposed in the August 12 primary.[12]

Lieutenant gubernatorial primaries

Incumbent Nancy Wyman (D) was first elected in 2010 and sought re-election in 2014 alongside current Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy. Wyman and Malloy were uncontested in their respective primaries on August 12 and ran together for the second cycle in a row in the general election.

The outcome of the August 12 Republican primary for Connecticut Lieutenant Governor remained unknown until Wednesday afternoon after election day, when state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi conceded the tight race to Groton Town Council Member and former Mayor Heather Somers.[13][14][15] With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results provided by the Connecticut Secretary of State showed Somers edging out Bacchiochi by a razor-sharp margin of about 780 votes. Although not a factor in the suspenseful head-to-head finale, third-place finisher David Walker took a respectable 32 percent of the vote, roughly 1,000 votes behind Bacchiochi.[16]

Under Connecticut election law, an automatic recount is triggered if the margin separating the highest vote-getters falls within one-half a percentage point of the total number of ballots cast; for Somers and Bacchiochi, that meant a difference of 1,000 votes. Bacchiochi rejected the ordering of a recount, however, believing it would only waste time.[13] Delegates of the Connecticut Republican Party voted to back Bacchiochi for lieutenant governor at their convention in May, so the result of the primary was a modest upset.[17][18]

Somers went on to share the ticket with GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley in the general election battle against Democratic incumbents Gov. Dan Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and the unaffiliated ticket of Joe Visconti and Chester Harris.[19]

Independent candidates

One Independent candidate, Joe Visconti, appeared on the general election ballot along with Malloy and Foley. Former state Rep. and career political operative Jonathan Pelto also petitioned to run as an independent, but failed to collect the minimum 7,500 signatures required to qualify for the race.[20] Pelto backed Malloy's 2010 gubernatorial campaign before publicly turning against him for his policies on education and taxes, among other issues, during Malloy's first term in office. Pelto's 2014 bid gained media attention in August when his candidate petition was signed by Ralph Nader, the perennial third-party presidential candidate who was blamed for swinging the election from Al Gore to George W. Bush by siphoning liberal voters. Nader's sudden presence in the Connecticut gubernatorial race raised concerns for Malloy and Democratic strategists, who immediately accused Pelto of running in order to manipulate the election's outcome, not to win it.[21]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 The Hartford Courant, "Pelto Names Running Mate, Collecting Signatures For Governor Run," June 5, 2014
  2. ''Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission, "Exploratory Registration List for Election Year 2014, SEEC Form 4," May 22, 2014
  3., "Petition process not easy, but works," September 7, 2014
  4. The Progressive Investigates, "Public School Jonathan Pelto," accessed June 12, 2014
  5., "Home," accessed June 12, 2014
  6. Connecticut News Junkie, "Malloy Makes Re-election Bid Official," March 28, 2014
  7. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 11, 2012
  8. The Daily Kos, "Daily Kos Elections gubernatorial race ratings (2013-14)," accessed August 11, 2014
  9. Only in Bridgeport, "Latest Polls Show Challenging Reelection For Malloy," July 28, 2014
  10. Cook Political Report, "2014 Governors Race Ratings," July 30, 2014
  11. The Hour, "Secretary of the State: Malloy is governor-elect," November 3, 2010
  12. The Wilton Daily Voice, "Wilton Republicans Head To Polls Tuesday To Pick Gubernatorial Candidate," August 11, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1, "Bacchiochi concedes GOP race for lt. governor to Somers," August 13, 2014
  14. The Associated Press, "Connecticut - Summary Vote Results," August 13, 2014
  15. NBC Connecticut, "Race results: Connecticut Primary Election," August 13, 2014
  16. Connecticut Secretary of State, "Statement of Vote," accessed August 13, 2014
  17., "Lieutenant governor GOP primary too close to call," August 12, 2014
  18. The Hartford Courant, "Lieutenant Governor Primary Still Too Close To Call," August 13, 2014
  19. Connecticut Secretary of State, "Candidate List, 2014 General Election," accessed October 13, 2014
  20., "Petition process not easy, but works," September 7, 2014
  21. The Hartford Courant, "Nader Signed Pelto's Petition To Get On Ballot," August 6, 2014