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Here is the latest news from Tremont Public Advisors:

Wall Street Journal Interviews Tremont Director on President’s Role in Mid-Terms

By Joseph De Avila, November 2, 2014
The Wall Street Journal

MANCHESTER, Conn.—Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican Tom Foley were summoning high-powered surrogates to Connecticut for the final sprint of their tight race for governor.

President Barack Obama rallied with Mr. Malloy on Sunday in Bridgeport, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday was scheduled to make his fifth campaign stop in the state with Mr. Foley, who is in the midst of a 25-city bus tour.

Mr. Malloy, 59 years old, a former mayor of Stamford, and Mr. Foley, 62, a businessman from Greenwich and a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, each received 43% support in an Oct. 29 poll of likely voters conducted by Quinnipiac University.

In the two candidates’ first matchup in 2010, Mr. Malloy beat Mr. Foley by about 6,400 votes out of 1.146 million cast. In the rematch, neither candidate has been able to establish a meaningful lead, and polls show neither has an enviable favorability rating among voters.

“The central dynamic of the campaign is that Gov. Malloy has been vulnerable,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. At the same time, he said, Mr. Foley “hasn’t exploited the vulnerability.”

Another layer of uncertainty was added to the race on Sunday, as conservative third-party candidate Joe Visconti said he was dropping out and endorsing Mr. Foley. Mr. Visconti, a Second Amendment advocate, polled at 7% in the most recent Quinnipiac survey. When the poll was recalculated without Mr. Visconti, Mr. Foley had 46% of the vote and Mr. Malloy had 45%.

Mr. Foley has focused his campaign on Mr. Malloy’s stewardship of the economy, but he hasn’t effectively communicated how he would lead the state, said Matthew Hennessy, a Democratic strategist unaffiliated with the Malloy campaign.

That has left Mr. Foley vulnerable to attacks from the Malloy campaign that have painted the Republican as an out-of-touch businessman, he said.

Yet Mr. Malloy has struggled to change the minds of voters about his job performance, particularly on the economy, Mr. Hennessy said. “You put that all together and you don’t see an opportunity for someone to break away,” he said.

The Oct. 29 Quinnipiac survey found that 52% of respondents had a negative view of Mr. Malloy, which Mr. Schwartz said largely could be attributed to the $1.5 billion tax increase the governor signed into law in 2011.

Art Kean, a Foley supporter who owns a gas station in New Canaan, greeted the Republican candidate with a handshake Friday during a stop on Mr. Foley’s bus tour. “This state is taxed too high,” said Mr. Kean, 65.
Mr. Foley had a 43% unfavorable rating, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. That was better than Mr. Malloy’s, but still not great, Mr. Schwartz said.

Mary LaRoux, 58, of Manchester, said Mr. Malloy has made progress fixing the state’s fiscal problems, particularly when he closed the $3.6 billion budget deficit he inherited in 2011 after Republican Gov. Jodi Rell left office. “The Democrats clean up what the Republicans did,” Ms. LaRoux said.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate of 6.4% still lags behind the national figure of 5.9%. But the state added 11,500 jobs in September, the largest single-month gain in 20 years.

Mr. Malloy said in an interview in Manchester that the job gains showed that the state was on the rebound. “I don’t think people understand how much the economy is getting better, in part because my opponent is telling them it’s not,” he said.

Mr. Foley played down September’s job gains in an appearance Friday at Stamford’s Bulls Head Diner. “We still have one of the worst job recovery rates of any state in the country,” said Mr. Foley.

Unlike in 2010, when Mr. Foley spent $11 million on his campaign, the race this year is evenly matched financially. Both men participated in the state’s campaign-finance program, which limits them each to $6.5 million for the general election. Outside groups spent more than $16 million on the race in support of both candidates, with Mr. Malloy receiving slightly greater support.

Analysts say the tightness of the Malloy-Foley race highlights the nature of the state’s voters—fiscally conservative but socially liberal.

They prefer Democratic presidents and Democratic representatives in Congress who will advocate for liberal social issues, said William Salka, chairman of the department of political science, philosophy and geography at Eastern Connecticut State University. That meant easy victories for Connecticut Democrats running for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012.

“But when it comes to the governor, that fiscal conservatism kicks in,” Mr. Salka said. “There are a lot of people who are concerned with a Democrat in the governor’s mansion and a Democratic majority in the house and Senate and what that means for spending and for taxes.”

Republicans controlled the governor’s mansion in Connecticut from 1995 to 2010.

Tremont Director Discusses Mid-Term Elections in the Huffington Post

Author Jim Kuhnhenn, October 15, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) -- His political influence limited, President Barack Obama is pursuing core Democratic partisans and is narrowing his public campaigning to a handful of reliably Democratic states to mobilize voters who tend to stay home during midterm elections.

"I've got to have a Congress that will work with me. That's why this midterm is so important. This is as important as any election that's taken place since I got elected president," Obama told The Steve Harvey Morning Show Wednesday.

Hamstrung by low approval ratings and congressional candidates who want to keep their distance, Obama was kicking off the campaign's final three-week push by pitching black radio listeners and holding a rally in Connecticut, a state that tends to vote Democratic and which he won in twice.

Obama told Harvey that young, minority and progressive voters did not turn out in large numbers in the last midterm, allowing for the Tea Party wave that has been fighting his agenda "every step of the way." Obama said many of Harvey's listeners probably aren't thinking about the election, but "I need everybody to really pay attention to this thing."

In his first major campaign event of the fall, Obama was to appear at rally Wednesday evening for Gov. Dannel Malloy in Bridgeport, Connecticut, aiming to mobilize core Democratic voters who remain loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the president. The Connecticut governor, like many other Democrats in this midterm election, is locked in a dead-heat re-election race.

When it comes to finding useful places for Obama to stump with a candidate, the pickings are slim. Many of the most imperiled Democrats, particularly Senate incumbents, are running in typically Republican states where Obama is deeply unpopular. Few of those Democrats invoke the president's name except to distance themselves from him.

So in a way, Wednesday's rally is an opportunity for Obama to also demonstrate he remains politically relevant. The Connecticut governor's race is perhaps the best place to start.

It's a Democratic state Obama won easily in 2008 and 2012. And with Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the state, energizing core voters is essential to Malloy's survival against Republican Tom Foley.

"It's a state that Obama carried by 18 points two years ago," noted former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod. "As everywhere, Malloy's challenge will be to fight midterm drop-off among Democratic voters, and the president can help with that."

What's more, governors are a step removed from Washington and thus less likely to be held accountable for a president's federal policies.

Underscoring that calculation, Obama planned to campaign Sunday in Maryland for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown and in his hometown of Chicago for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. Obama will spend the last full week of the campaign appearing at public events for Democratic candidates for governor in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maine, a White House official told The Associated Press. The official wasn't authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

In contrast, Democrats running in Senate races in such Republican states as Arkansas, Alaska and Kentucky have made it clear they don't want to be seen with Obama. Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democrat seeking to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, won't even say whether she voted for Obama.

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has run ads declaring Obama's oil and gas policies "simply wrong." Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas also have aired commercials taking note of their differences with Obama.

For Obama, Connecticut's Malloy represents a refreshing foil to those Senate candidates.

Malloy has succeeded in his own state in pushing policies Obama has been unable to do at the national level, such as increasing the minimum wage and enacting tougher gun control measures.

Obama's visit Wednesday reprises a 2010 campaign stop for Malloy, who was then also locked in a tight race with Foley. The goal remains the same.

"The president isn't really going to get people who are on the fence off the fence," said Connecticut-based Democratic consultant Matt Hennessy. "This is more about exciting urban voters."

The risk in any state is that an Obama appearance could backfire, motivating Republicans to vote. Hennessy said there were Connecticut Democrats who pushed to have first lady Michele Obama campaign for Malloy instead of the president. But he said the anti-Obama Republican vote in Connecticut is already at its maximum.

"There aren't voters for them to excite who aren't already excited," he said.

Obama is not Malloy's only big draw. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for him Monday.

Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland who counts New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in his corner, dismissed Malloy's presidential firepower.

"I think it shows the governor can't win this election on his own," Foley said. "He's got to bring other people in to try and get people excited about voting for him. I just don't think it works."

UPDATE -- 12:10 p.m.: Obama has postponed his planned trips to New Jersey and Connecticut and will instead hold a cabinet meeting at the White House on Ebola.

Tremont Director Discuss CT Governor’s Race in Governing Magazine

by Alan Greenblatt, October 15, 2014

Can Obama Carry Dan Malloy across Connecticut's Finish Line?

A poor economy and tax increases in one of the wealthiest states have made the Democratic governor one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

Four years ago, Dan Malloy beat Tom Foley by less than a full percentage point in the Connecticut governor's race. It looks like their rematch in November could end with a similar result.

Like Democrats across the country, Malloy is hoping to energize party supporters this fall. He's been running turnout operations for about a year and hopes an endorsement by President Barack Obama will bring out more votes. Obama was scheduled to visit Connecticut for a campaign rally Wednesday but canceled at the last minute to meet with officials to discuss the Ebola crisis. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Malloy in Hartford on Monday.

"There is a deficit in voter excitement in the Democratic camp," says Matt Hennessy, a Democratic consultant in the state. "Malloy is going to win if the Democratic voters in urban communities come out in force like they did for him last time."

But that's a big if. Malloy, despite being an incumbent Democrat in one of the bluest states, has been struggling all year in the polls. That's because Connecticut is a wealthy state, but its economic performance on his watch has been poor.

What's more, he's increased taxes substantially. A Gallup poll released in April found that 49 percent of Connecticut residents would move out of the state if they could -- the second highest percentage in the country (after Illinois).

"All of a sudden, we're in a situation where the state is at the bottom of every ranking," said GOP state Sen. Toni Boucher. "People in general are feeling so tax burdened to live here. When the Gallup poll said one out of two Connecticut residents would leave if they could do so, that's the report card."

All of that has given Republicans a big opening to recapture the governorship. Foley, thanks to name recognition from his previous run and a healthy campaign treasury, outlasted a big field of GOP hopefuls to get the nod.

But he hasn't seemed to find his footing in the general election. He hasn't offered much by way of a detailed platform -- except for the certain promise that he isn't Dan Malloy. "Foley has had four years to prepare for this run, but there's not much that's new there," said Ronald Schurin, a University of Connecticut political scientist.

Malloy has wasted no opportunity to try to define Foley, a former ambassador and businessman. Both sides have been negative, but Malloy has pummeled Foley, claiming he bankrupted a business and rides on a 116-foot yacht while not always paying his income taxes.

Foley has sought to call out Malloy as a liar, but some of the charges, anyway, seem to have stuck. In recent polling, Foley's disapproval ratings have gone up. The more self-identified independent voters learn about Foley, the less they seem to like him, said Scott McLean, a political scientist at Quinnipiac University.

"The arithmetic for Foley gets challenging," McLean said. "It would appear that the independents are a lot less likely to flock to Foley in the homestretch as they did in 2010."

Aside from Foley's negatives, he's hurt by the presence on the ballot of Joe Visconti, an independent running to his right on fiscal issues and gun owners' rights. Visconti has the polling support of about 9 percent of voters and is even doing a little better among independents. "If most of those would have gone to Foley, this wouldn't even be a race," said Boucher, the state senator.

Malloy, by contrast, caught a break when liberal former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto was unable to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. He might have taken four or five percent of the vote away from Malloy, Schurin said.

Malloy has not only borrowed a page from Obama's playbook in seeking to cast his opponent as a heartless businessman, but is running largely on what might be described as the Obama agenda.

Connecticut was the first state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 and passed new gun control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings -- two items on Obama's wish list that Congress barely considered. Connecticut also ran such a smooth healthcare exchange that Maryland borrowed its software.

By sticking to Democratic ideals and making his Republican challenger out to be a villain, Malloy is hoping the state's natural voting proclivities will afford him a second term, despite the struggles of his first.

"If Malloy can keep it neck and neck, he's going to win," said Hennessy, the Democratic consultant. "At the end of the day, there are more Democratic voters. The dynamics of the state allow a 1 point race to go to the incumbent Democrat."

Tremont Director Discusses, Budget and the White House Correspondent’s Dinner

Drama at State Capital

Hennessy Offers Insight on Governor’s Race in the Courant

Published by The Hartford Courant

Author Christopher Keating, September 16, 2013

OXFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that ethics charges made by Republican Tom Foley are "factually incorrect" about alleged conflicts of interest by former staff members and a state commissioner.

Malloy, who has largely avoided talking about Foley, a possible candidate for governor, repeated several times that he needs to focus on his full-time position as governor.

"I've got a job to do,'' Malloy told reporters who had gathered at Waterbury-Oxford Airport for an unrelated event. "I suppose he's got his job to do. He wants to be governor. But I've got that job right now. I'm going to concentrate on what I'm supposed to do.''

When asked if allegations about a former staff member and a current commissioner are incorrect, Malloy said: "Yes. They are factually incorrect. You guys can follow up with my staff and go through all of that stuff. I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about it. I'm the governor of the state of Connecticut. I've got a job.''

You can read the full article here.

Hennessy Analyzes Politics of Government Shutdown on FOX

Hennessy Wraps Up Democratic National Convention on FOX

National Public Radio interviews Tremont Director on Governor’s Race

Published by

Author Alan Greenblatt, August 25, 2013

Malloy may face a rematch with Tom Foley, a businessman and former ambassador whom he defeated by less than a percentage point in 2010. Foley's possible rivals for the GOP nomination, state Sen. John McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (Foley's running mate last time around), are expected to seek public financing and thus won't be able to match Foley's campaign treasury.

But the eventual GOP nominee may matter less than Malloy himself.

"The good news about being the incumbent is you've got 99 percent name recognition," says Matthew Hennessy, a Democratic consultant in Hartford. "The bad news is, if you're at 99 percent name recognition and you still can't get a positive rating about the job you've done, that allows your opponent to make the election about you."

You can read the full article here.

Hennessy Wraps Up Democratic National Convention on FOX



Connecticut Republicans Trade Barbs as Primary Nears

By Joseph De Avila, Wall Street Journal
Updated Aug. 7, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

Businessman Foley Is Front-Runner Over Senate Leader McKinney

STAMFORD, Conn.—John McKinney says his fellow Republican Tom Foley had his shot to be Connecticut governor four years ago and blew it.

Mr. Foley lost that 2010 election to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy by about 6,400 votes out of 1.146 million cast. Now he and Mr. McKinney will face each other Tuesday in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

"Tom's never won an election," said Mr. McKinney, the state Senate minority leader. "He ran four years ago and lost the race." He added that "2010 was a very strong year for Republicans, and he was unable to beat Dan Malloy."

The state's Republicans say they are poised to replace Mr. Malloy after one term, citing the $1.5 billion in tax increases he signed into law in 2011 and his lukewarm job-approval figures.

Mr. Foley has been conducting a "buyer's remorse" campaign: He argues the state would have been better off had he won the governorship in 2010. In casting himself as an outsider, he has accused Mr. McKinney of embracing what he called "big government" policies as a state legislator in Hartford.

"He's a career politician," said Mr. Foley, 62 years old, a businessman who lives in Greenwich. "He's never run anything. He has none of the management, decision-making and problem-solving experience, leadership experience I have ... . I think people are looking for a change."

Mr. McKinney, 50, stresses his ability to win elections (he has been elected eight times) and to work with Democrats, including his role in passing a law in 2013 that tightened gun regulations following the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

Mr. Foley enters Tuesday's contest as the favorite. He retained much of his name recognition from 2010 when he spent about $11 million of his own money on the campaign, and he earned the party's endorsement in May. He also has been critical of the laws passed after the Newtown shooting.

Those factors will make it difficult for Mr. McKinney to win over conservative voters Tuesday, said Matthew Hennessy, a Democratic political consultant unconnected with Mr. Malloy's campaign. "All those things basically say that [Mr. Foley] is going to be the winner on primary day," Mr. Hennessy said.

What few polls have been conducted in the primary show Mr. Foley with a wide lead. Political observers say primary polling is spotty at best, and unexpected results on voting day aren't uncommon.

"Foley has a strong lead, but primary elections are somewhat unpredictable because you aren't relying on the public, you are relying on" a party's most devoted base, said Paul Herrnson, executive director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.

Both Messrs. McKinney and Foley opted to participate in the state's campaign-finance program, which gives them each $1.35 million in taxpayer money to spend on the primary. In 2010, Mr. Foley spent about $3.77 million on the primary—mostly his own money—campaign finance records show.

Mr. Foley made his name running private-equity firm NTC Group. He served as an ambassador to Ireland under the George W. Bush administration. He was also a prominent fundraiser for Mr. Bush and for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid.

Mr. McKinney grew up in a political household. His father is the late U.S. Rep. Stewart McKinney, who represented Connecticut's fourth congressional district from 1971 to 1987.

Both GOP candidates are socially liberal, supporting abortion rights and gay marriage. Both say Mr. Malloy's fiscal policies have made the state unfriendly to business.

One issue on which they differ is on how to reduce taxes. Mr. McKinney proposes eliminating the state income tax in fiscal year 2017 for filers earning below $75,000. Mr. Foley favors a reduction of the state's 6.35% sales tax to 5.85%, which he says would boost the economy more than Mr. McKinney's plan.

Connecticut also faces an estimated $1.28 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015, according to the state's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

That estimate assumes that state spending will rise by about 7%. Mr. Foley says his proposal to hold spending flat would eliminate the deficit, but hasn't released details. Mr. McKinney says he would cut spending by $1.4 billion.

Mr. McKinney's Senate district includes Newtown, where 26 people were slain by gunman Adam Lanza on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Mr. McKinney's vote on the gun-law package could hurt him with conservative firearms owners in the primary. The gun issue hasn't been a problem for Mr. Foley, who has said the laws didn't adequately address mental-health issues.

Mr. Malloy provides an Election Day upset model for Mr. McKinney. Mr. Malloy overcame a nine percentage-point deficit in the polls to beat Ned Lamont in the 2010 Democratic primary. The difference for Mr. Malloy was a late burst of support from labor groups, though Mr. Hennessy doesn't forecast such a dynamic this year.

"There is no Republican constituency that I can see being electrified by McKinney," Mr. Hennessy said.

Hennessy Discusses Congressional Campaign Finance Scandal

Video: May 21st, 2013


Magazine Names Tremont Director One of Top Political Consultants in U.S.

Published by Campaigns & Elections Magazine

January 31, 2013

Hartford – Matthew Hennessy, Managing Director of Tremont Public Advisors has been named to Campaigns & Elections Magazine’s “Influencers 500” list of the top U.S. political consultants from both parties for 2012. In compiling the list, Campaigns & Elections magazine conducted more than 100 interviews with consultants, journalists and political insiders from across the country. The result, which they called “The Influencers 500”, is a collection of some of the top names in the consulting business state by state. C&E named the consultants, lobbyists and strategists who are influential in their home states- the folks with influence in primaries and the state-specific campaigns. As C&E stated in the article, “the one thing we're certain of is that the names on the following pages are the folks you need to talk to in state capitals across the country.”

You can read the full article here. To learn more about Campaigns & Elections Magazine, please visit

Tremont Director Handicaps Senate in National Journal

Deep Pockets Help Close Gap In Connecticut

Published by The The National Journal

Author Julie Sobel, October 23, 2012

Up off the mat: McMahon has been surprisingly effective in battling Murphy.

Among the handful of Senate races that are coming down to the wire, Connecticut’s is perhaps the most unexpected.

Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, spent a spectacular $50 million of her own fortune in 2010 to lose a Senate bid to then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, despite a strong showing by Republicans nationally. When she decided to launch another bid for an open Connecticut Senate seat—with President Obama at the top of the ticket in the blue-leaning Nutmeg State—few thought she would fare any better.

And yet by mid-October, McMahon had succeeded in making it a tight race against her opponent, three-term Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy. A University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll last week had Murphy with 44 percent support to McMahon’s 38 percent. A Siena College poll had the race even closer, with Murphy at 46 percent support and McMahon at 44 percent. And a Quinnipiac poll released at the start of October showed McMahon with 48 percent to Murphy’s 47 percent.

McMahon’s money has no doubt helped make this a race. Last week, she released her third-quarter fundraising report: By the end of September she had already spent $27 million of her personal fortune—$14 million in the third quarter alone. The competition cannot keep up. Murphy raised a comparatively paltry $3 million in the third quarter, and even with the recent help of outside groups (the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has launched an ad campaign targeting McMahon), he can’t come close to matching her spending.

McMahon also heavily outspent her opponent two years ago, ultimately losing by 12 points on Election Day. But an improved campaign strategy based on lessons learned from her 2010 race—and paid for with a massive personal financial commitment—has put her within striking distance of becoming the Senate’s wealthiest member. 

McMahon has made an effort to run a different kind of campaign: She has done more grassroots campaigning and has even raised some money, to create a sense of investment. She has made special efforts to reach out to women, after losing the female vote badly last time. She has attempted to reframe her image, casting herself as a grandmother who worked her way up from nothing rather than emphasizing her time as a show-business CEO. And she has sought to distinguish herself from the national Republican Party: McMahon distanced herself from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks and called Missouri GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin's comment that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy “reprehensible.” She frequently emphasizes that she supports abortion rights.

Another crucial difference: While Blumenthal was well-known statewide, having spent 20 years running for statewide office and relentlessly appearing in the media (“he had three press conferences a day on a slow day for 20 years,” one Connecticut Republican says), Murphy is a relative newcomer, largely unknown beyond his congressional district in the northwest part of the state. 

McMahon used her millions to define Murphy early, based on her campaign’s opposition research, before he could introduce himself to voters. Even before the primary season ended, she began running attack ads against him, and she has not let up. Murphy was seemingly caught off guard and has been slow to respond.

“The voters certainly sense that this race has not been about the issues,” said University of Connecticut political science professor Vincent Moscardelli, noting that personal attacks have been a focus. “As a Republican in a blue state, she can’t make this race about her party platform; she needs this race to be personal.”

He noted that McMahon could run “not just two or three” different campaigns against Murphy, “but six or seven.”

And indeed, McMahon’s wealth has given her the luxury of not having to pick and choose her line of attack. She has repeatedly accused Murphy of getting a “sweetheart deal” from a bank. She hits him for making late rent and mortgage payments and for facing a foreclosure. She targets him on his attendance record at congressional committee hearings. She hammers him on not having a jobs plan and on supporting defense-spending cuts.

For his part, Murphy has attempted to frame McMahon as an uncaring boss at WWE, looking out for her own financial best interests at the expense of employees, and he has hit back on her own personal finances. He has also attacked her on the women’s health issues that have cropped up in races around the country as well as on Social Security and Medicare.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, the presidential contest looms increasingly large. While the Senate race has been close, the Siena poll showed Obama leading Romney 53 percent to 38 percent in Connecticut. McMahon’s campaign knows that she will need a significant number of ticket-splitters to win, and her new ad features voters expressing their intent to vote for both Obama and McMahon. 

Down the homestretch, Democrats are seeking to refocus the race on national issues, tying McMahon to the national GOP on Social Security, Medicare, and women’s health. Republicans, by contrast, want to keep the focus on Murphy. “She knows it’s extremely hard for her to win, being on the Republican line in this state,” said Connecticut Democratic strategist Matt Hennessy. “But she can make Chris Murphy lose.”

Murphy spokesman Eli Zupnick said, “The only way she can win this race is if she kicks up a lot of mud and makes it about anything but actual issues that voters care about.” 

And on Tuesday, McMahon launched a completely new line of attack in two fresh television ads. While swatting back at the charge that she is “anti-women,” the new spots attack Murphy on his record as state senator, saying he “killed legislation that provided medical care to rape victims,” and as a member of Congress, where the narrator says he “pays the men on his staff 50 percent more than women.”

“We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said McMahon spokesman Todd Abrajano, noting McMahon’s record on job creation. “Making sure they’re hearing the message.” 

Tremont Director Quoted in The New Republic

Why Doesn’t Wrestling Matter In Linda McMahon's Senate Race?

Published on The New Republic

Eliza Gray, October 16, 2012- Two years ago, you probably saw the video clip of Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon kicking her husband, Vince, in the groin. McMahon touted her business experience as the World Wrestling Entertainment CEO as her main qualification for office, but her resume wound up a profound liability. In addition to the infamous low blow—retribution, in the fantasy WWE storyline, for Vince’s affair—Linda’s candidacy was clouded by a Congressional investigation into steroid use in professional wrestling, spurred by wrestler Chris Benoit’s suicide and murder of his wife and son. During the campaign, we learned that WWE wrestlers had died of possible wrestling-related health problems—and McMahon’s opponent, attorney general Dick Blumenthal, criticized her for denying WWE wrestlers health insurance.
Less than a month before the election, the director of Quinnipiac University Poll told the Boston Globe, “I think the wrestling stuff has hurt. ... People are not wild about her.” McMahon lost by 12 points.


This year, McMahon is running a very different Senate campaign. Gone are the ads celebrating McMahon’s unorthodox career (some of which, remarkably, included wrestling footage). In their place are TV spots recasting her as a kindly grandmother. One features McMahon saying in her southern drawl: “As a grandmother, I worry that all of our grandchildrenwill have a worse quality of life than we did.” And McMahon isn’t afraid to spend to spread her message: Since the beginning of her last race, McMahon has spent roughly $62 million dollars of her own money on her two Senate campaigns.
McMahon’s new strategy and increased name recognition is paying off in the polls, especially with women: She lost the female vote by double digits in 2010, but recent polling shows her only 6 points behind opponent, Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy. Overall, the most recent polling puts her just 5 points behind Murphy in the solidly blue state. As one Connecticut Democratic strategist, Matt Hennessy, put it glumly: “This race is much closer than it needs to be.”


The narrowing gap with female voters is surprising in an election year when so-called women’s issues—not just contraception and abortion, but the very definition of “rape”—are hot-button topics. McMahon has not been immune to gaffes in that regard—in the third debate on Monday night, McMahon tried to walk back a statement she made to the Hartford Courant editorial board that Catholic-run hospitals should be able to deny emergency contraception to rape victims if it was against their beliefs. (In the debate, she tried to fudge the statement by saying she’d been referring specifically to the Catholic Church, and she reiterated her support for rape victims’ use of the morning after pill.)
But McMahon should be a particularly ripe target in this political climate, given her business’ history of glorifying violence against women. The 2003 documentary, Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bulling, and Battering, revealed some of WWE’s most sexually violent content. In one clip, Vince McMahon, who is also the chairman of WWE, orders an anguished wrestler named Trish to get down on her knees as he unzips his pants. In another scene, Trish chokes back tears when McMahon makes her crawl around the ring on all fours and bark like a dog. More footage shows an announcer threatening to fire two reluctant women if they won’t take off their clothes and wrestler Triple H growing read with anger as he yells at his wife Stephanie, the McMahons’ daughter.


Murphy has been timid about the WWE’s blatant misogyny, even as he seeks to tie McMahon to the “War on Women.” A recent Murphy campaign ad draws parallels between McMahon’s career “demean[ing] women to make millions in her business” and her support for legislation that would exempt employers from having to provide contraception coverage to employees. But the ad does not actually show any WWE content—even though the footage would most likely be usable under fair use.


A Murphy campaign spokesman, Eli Zupnick, wrote in an email, “We believe it is very important for voters to understand what [McMahon’s] work at the WWE says about her values and priorities, and there are many ways to get that message across.” Indeed, after shying away from it in previous debates, Murphy stepped up his attacks on pro wrestling in the third debate on Monday, criticizing McMahon for creating jobs that led to the deaths of wrestlers.
The Connecticut Democratic Party, which doesn’t run television ads, has tried to take up the attack, posting YouTube videos of some of the most shocking WWE footage (for example: a wrestler simulating sex with a corpse). But within hours, WWE got YouTube to scrub the videos, citing copyright infringement. The company, which changed its rating from TV-14 to PG in 2008, announced just last month that they would be removing “dated and edgier” footage from the Internet because it no longer reflected their softer content and posed a risk to the company’s reputation.


But even if Democrats could do more to highlight the sordid nature of McMahon’s success, it still might be less interesting to voters than it was in 2010, because they’ve simply gotten used to it. “It has less resonance now than it did in 2010,” says Ron Schurin, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut, “[voters] have factored that in and put it away.” After all, every exposure to WWE—to fans, and perhaps to Connecticut voters—makes pro-wrestling seem a little more normal.

Hennessy Analyzes Senate Race In Wall Street Journal

Connecticut Senate Race Polling Shifts

By Joseph De Avila

Wall Street Journal, October, 10 2012 Page A 21

For a Democrat in a blue state, Rep. Christopher Murphy was supposed to have an easier path to winning a Senate seat in Connecticut. The campaign struggled early and was even losing in some polls to his wealthy Republican opponent, Linda McMahon.

Now, political observers said Mr. Murphy's campaign has been buoyed by a strong debate performance on Sunday. And a new poll released Tuesday showed Mr. Murphy opening up a five-percentage point lead in the race.
The race remains close, as few people watched the debate and Ms. McMahon holds a spending advantage. But after stumbling in efforts to introduce himself statewide to voters and deflect waves of negative ads from Republicans, Mr. Murphy appears to have regained his footing, said Jennifer Duffy, an editor at the Cook Political Report in Washington, a firm that analyzes political races.
"It might be a psychological boost that the campaign badly needed," Ms. Duffy said.
The matchup between Ms. McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., and Mr. Murphy, a three-term congressman, has drawn national attention in a contest that could determine if Democrats maintain control of the Senate or if Republicans gain a majority by adding four seats. They are running to replace Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Linda McMahon

In the first test of public opinion since Sunday's debate, a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday showed that Mr. Murphy leads Ms. McMahon 51% to 46% among likely voters with 1% undecided. That figure includes so-called leaners, uncommitted respondents who say they favor one candidate after being asked a follow-up question. The poll included surveys of 500 likely voters conducted on Sunday and has a margin of error of 4.5%.
"Polls go up and down as we have seen over the past week with two other polls showing Linda McMahon with a lead in this race," said Todd Abrajano, a spokesman for the McMahon campaign. "This race will continue to be close until the end, but Connecticut voters will ultimately be swayed by Linda's record of leadership, rather than Congressman Murphy's distortions."

A larger survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute of 1,696 likely voters released last Thursday found the race essentially tied. That poll also showed Ms. McMahon leading Mr. Murphy among independents 52% to 43% with 5% undecided. Independents make up a crucial segment of voters in Connecticut and one that Ms. McMahon fared poorly with in her failed 2010 Senate run.

"She has kept the race very, very close," said Matthew Hennessy, a Democratic strategist who is unaffiliated with the Murphy campaign. "She has made herself viable when a lot of people have written her off."
Many Democrats expected an easy win for Mr. Murphy after Richard Blumenthal, then the state attorney general, defeated Ms. McMahon by 12 percentage points in 2010. But the competitive nature of the race has forced the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to spend $1.6 million in ads against Ms. McMahon, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Since the 2010 race, Ms. McMahon has retooled her campaign staff and has been emphasizing her early financial setbacks to position herself with voters as a successful businesswoman who understands middle-class struggles. Her campaign also began attacking Mr. Murphy even before the general election began. It sought to characterize him as an absentee congressmen who missed most of his committee meetings.

Mr. Murphy failed to adequately blunt those attacks at a time when many voters didn't know who the congressman was, said Ronald Schurin, an associate professor in the University of Connecticut's department of political science. Some 23% of likely voters haven't heard enough about Mr. Murphy to form an opinion about him, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. That number is only 12% for Ms. McMahon.

"He was not prepared," Mr. Schurin said. "There was a bit of overconfidence."

Then reports emerged that Mr. Murphy missed mortgage, rent and car-tax and property-tax payments. He said he inadvertently missed those payments, but the McMahon campaign pounced and charged that he was reckless with his finances. "They shouldn't be surprised by this. They seemed utterly unprepared," said Ms. Duffy.

In the debate, pundits gave Mr. Murphy points for displaying a firm grasp of policy while Ms. McMahon avoided specifics in some instances. While only about 45,000 households watched the televised debate—not including an unknown number in Fairfield County and C-Span viewers—the idea that Mr. Murphy gave a better performance has been amplified in local media. "He emerged by all accounts the clear winner," Mr. Schurin said.

A spokesman for Mr. Murphy, Eli Zupnick, said the campaign expected a tight race because of Ms. McMahon's resources. He said the debate showed "Linda McMahon will do anything she can to avoid talking about the issues and revealing her right-wing positions that are out of step with local families."

With four weeks remaining before election day, Mr. Murphy has the advantage of being a Democrat in a state where President Barack Obama is expected perform well, said Mr. Schurin. Ms. McMahon, Mr. Schurin said, "has an effective retail politics presence….She always had a very appealing personality one-on-one. She's been able to capitalize on it more" in 2012.

Tremont Director Weighs In On Clinton Speech

Video: September 6, 2012

Tremont discusses Obama and Clinton

National Latino Leader and Economic Development Expert Joins Tremont Public Advisors

Former CCEDA Board Member and SINA Executive Director to Serve as Senior Director - 6/25/12

Hartford - Tremont Public Advisors, the Hartford & Washington D.C. based public affairs firm, announced today that Luis C. Cabán will join the firm as a Senior Director. Cabán will help clients build strong relationships with the Latino community both in Connecticut and across the country and expand the breadth of the firm’s capabilities in the urban development arena.

Cabán presently serves on the executive board of the leading national leadership development and voting rights organization, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. He is a former board member of the Capital City Economic Development Authority (CCEDA), where he oversaw the $900 million revitalization of downtown Hartford, Connecticut. He retired this year as Executive Director of the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA), the organization responsible for the award-winning $250 million redevelopment of one of Hartford’s poorest neighborhoods. Cabán is also managing director of the Hartford-based consulting firm Laurus, LLC.

Matthew Hennessy, Managing Director of Tremont Public Advisors praised today’s announcement. “Luis is a respected leader in the national Latino community with a reputation for effective advocacy within and on behalf of a growing and important constituency in Connecticut and across the country. His leadership and expertise in urban redevelopment has transformed critical sections of our capital city. His addition to the team will provide clients with new capabilities in achieving their public policy and business development goals.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to expand my public policy work into new industries and issues,” Cabán stated. “I look forward to helping clients strengthen their relationship with the Latino community, and welcome the opportunity to assist firms successfully navigate hurdles to investing in new development in our urban areas.”

Hennessy Discusses Congressional
Controversy on Fox

New Democratic SuperPAC Being Created In Connecticut

By Christopher Keating OnApril 26, 2012

The battle over campaign money is heating up in Connecticut.

One of the most prominent new political action committees has been created by Greenwich resident Len Tannenbaum, a highly successful investor who has invited top Republicans to his home for a major fundraiser. Tickets to the VIP reception next month are $5,000 each, and the attendees can meet former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, wrestling entrepreneur Linda McMahon, Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, and U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire all on the same night. Republican Congressional candidates Mark Greenberg, Justin Bernier, and Chris Meek are all on the list for the Greenwich fundraiser.
In reaction to the Republican efforts, a new Democratic super PAC has been created to help those seeking t0 hold their Congressional seats.

The committee, known as Progress Connecticut, is seeking to “raise unlimited donations from individuals, corporations, and labor organizations in connection with the November federal election.”
“Progress Connecticut intends to serve as a counterweight to the millions of dollars spent by outside Republican groups to attack Democratic candidates for Congress in Connecticut,” the group said.
Longtime Hartford political activist Matthew J. Hennessy will be involved in fundraising and communications for the committee. He is aware of two Super PACs that are intending to help Republicans this fall.

“This is the Democratic response,” Hennessy told Capitol Watch. “This is the challenge that a Democratic Super PAC in Connecticut faces. We’re going to have to work hard.”

“National observers have made the mistake of writing off Connecticut as a state that will easily return a Democratic delegation to Congress,” Hennessy said. “With a volatile public mood, multi-millionaire Republican candidates and unlimited funds pouring in from outside conservative groups, one or more seats could be at risk.”

Tremont Director Handicaps Education Reform

Malloy Not Backing Down On Education Reform

Despite Approval Of Stripped-Down Bill, Governor Still Plans To Push For Teacher Evaluations Linked To Tenure

March 27, 2012|By KATHLEEN MEGAN, The Hartford Courant

Gov.Dannel P. Malloyused no fighting words Tuesday but made it clear that he is not backing down on key elements of his education reform package — including a link between teacher evaluations and tenure — that were eliminated in a stripped-down education bill lawmakers approved Monday evening.

"What I like is that everyone admits that this is not a final bill," Malloy said, "and, I can assure you, it's not."
Description: at a news conference at the Capitol, Malloy said he would not sign the bill as approved Monday by the education committee.

Noting that someone had said that the bill was "written in pencil," Malloy said, "Well, I'm not going to sign a bill written in pencil, I can assure you."

The revised version of the bill postpones any tenure reform, requiring instead that the state education commissioner report back in January 2013 on how the new evaluation system is working and on how it might be tied to tenure.

"I think we need more progress rapidly, and I'll certainly be speaking to legislative leadership," Malloy said. "We need an evaluation system that is tied to something, not five years from now. We should have had it yesterday."

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the revised bill includes "placeholder" language that needs to be fleshed out.

"The governor has made it clear that the result needs to be meaningful education reform, and that has not yet been achieved," Pryor said. "We fully ... intend to pursue that objective vigorously."

Malloy was encouraged by signs that legislators seemed to be coming around to his way of thinking as they made changes to the substitute measure throughout the day Monday.

For example, his original education reform bill called for the establishment of a state education commissioner's network that would intervene and take charge of turning around the state's 25 lowest-performing schools. Early Monday, the language in the substitute bill required only that a plan for that network be developed by next January. But committee members clearly were not satisfied with a bill that only talked about planning a network.

By Monday afternoon, the revised bill called for the commissioner to select 10 schools to start turning around this fall.

As Malloy saw it: "All of a sudden people said, 'Maybe we don't want to do everything the governor wants to do, but maybe we want to do a lot more'" than the revised bill called for.

Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, a member of the education committee, said Tuesday that including 10 schools signaled that "this committee believes that education is an emergency and these kids deserve an education now and not in a year, so that's why we put it in for next fall."

Malloy observed that the bill finally approved Monday evening would allow turnaround efforts to begin in 10 schools but it would not "give us the tools" needed. So, he said, "there's work to be done." He said he hopes that work can be accomplished during the regular legislative session, which ends May 9.

A Tough Sell

Political observers say that passing substantial education reform will not be easy in Connecticut, where a Quinnipiac University poll recently showed that 85 percent of state residents rate their local schools as very good or fairly good.

Matt Hennessy, managing director of Tremont Public Advisors in Hartford, said that most legislators represent suburban school districts where people seem to like their schools and teachers.

Those legislators are less likely to hear from ordinary constituents who are demanding education reform, Hennessy said, and far more likely to hear from teachers alarmed about reform efforts.

Hennessy said he thinks it will be unfortunate if all of the focus on tenure reform takes away from directing resources to the lowest-performing schools.

Political Alignments

The last-minute revisions to the education bill made for strange political bedfellows Monday with a number of Republicans, including Senate leader John McKinney of Fairfield and House leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk, speaking in favor of the stronger reform elements in Democrat Malloy's bill.

Chris Healy, a Republican political consultant and the former state Republican Party chairman, said Tuesday that this sort of unusual alignment "doesn't happen as much as it should."

"We Republicans get lectured night and day not to politicize education," Healy said, but if it's not supposed to be politicized, he questioned why Republicans weren't included in closed-door negotiations on the bill in the days before Monday's vote.

"I'm surprised Republicans even voted on it," Healy said. "They should have abstained."

The vote on the revised bill was 28-5, with five Republicans voting against it.

Creating Confusion

Pryor said that "it's essential" that teachers buy into education reform.

Malloy blamed the teachers' unions for making teachers feel threatened by the issue of tenure and evaluations.

He said he thought the teachers' unions "created problems for themselves, and that is, they didn't tell the members that they had fully developed a framework for evaluation."

As a result, Malloy said, "When we came forward and said it was time to take that framework for evaluation and have it mean something, they specifically tried to make it sound like good teachers had something to worry about, and of course that's not the case, absolutely not the case."

The unions' leaders were part of an advisory council that agreed to the new teacher evaluation system earlier this year. The State Board of Education subsequently approved the system, which relies on students' test scores along with a variety of other factors.

Hennessy Weighs in on Republican Primary

Super Tuesday Leaves Something For Connecticut

Three Candidates Win Primaries: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich

March 06, 2012|By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, The Hartford Courant

Connecticut will matter after all.

The conventional wisdom of pundits in January was that the Connecticut primary on April 24 would be a mere afterthought, at best, in a long-settled race. But now the elongated primary season means that it will matter when Connecticut voters finally head to the polls next month on the same day with four other states' residents: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island.Description:

On Super Tuesday, three Republican candidates won primaries in various states, and all four will now be battling on at least until next month.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney won his home state of Massachusetts and nearby Vermont, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia with the highest amount of delegates, 76, in the 10 Super Tuesday contests. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum won both Oklahoma and Tennessee, while the clash in Ohio was going down to the wire. With 20 percent of the 50 states voting, more delegates were at stake Tuesday than in all of the previous Republican contests combined.

The split results are raising interest once again in Connecticut, known not for its size but for its substantial fundraising power for top politicians.

State Sen. L. Scott Frantz, one of Romney's biggest financial supporters in Connecticut, said virtually everyone — from candidates to pundits — thought the race would be over by the time the balloting started in the Nutmeg State.

"I think Santorum thought Mitt would run the table,'' Frantz, R-Greenwich, said Tuesday in an interview. "I think Newt thought Mitt would run the table. [Super Tuesday] will not end this at all.''

A family friend and longtime supporter of Romney, Frantz has been raising money at a steady clip for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney has quietly slipped into lower Fairfield County multiple times so far with little media attention, and he is returning to Stamford on March 14 for another fundraiser.
Frantz, who traveled to New Hampshire for Romney's victory party in January, headed up to Boston on Tuesday night for another celebration. He has been stunned by the long list of Republican front-runners who have peaked at various times and then fallen back: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, pizza entrepreneur Herman Cain, Gingrich and Santorum.\

"To me, it's amazing how volatile the Republican electorate has been,'' Frantz said. "There's been more of an 'American Idol' component'' this year.

Among both Republicans and Democrats, the spinners and pundits have largely said that the elongated season — with negative commercials and nasty rhetoric— has not been helping Republicans nationally. Former Republican State Chairman Chris DePino of East Haven says he hopes the lengthy process can be wrapped up soon.

"The Republican Party is taking on water,'' DePino said. "The longer the primary season, the worse it will get. Everyone knows this. When the Republicans finally figure this out, it may be too late, and yes, I hope I am wrong."Description:

Part of the reason for the long season is that the Republican National Committee changed the rules and dropped the "winner-take-all'' awarding of delegates in some states, said Chris Healy, who voted against the change when he served on the national committee as the then-Connecticut state chairman.

"You're rewarding people who finish third or fourth,'' Healy said. "That's what has stretched this out.''
For example, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who has not won any primaries and is generally considered to be the last of the four candidates in the polls, captured delegates without winning the primaries in New Hampshire and Nevada under the proportional system. When Romney won the primary in his former home state of Michigan, he received 16 delegates, compared with 14 for Santorum, according to the national committee.

Both Healy and Frantz said they believe that Gingrich and Santorum would both be out of the race if they were not supported with millions of dollars from Super PACs — a new entity that was created following a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision on campaign financing. Those millions have "provided the air cover for Santorum and Gingrich and kept them in the race,'' Healy said.

After previously supporting Perry and raising money for him, Healy is now supporting Romney.
"Romney has not been as sure-footed as everyone thought he would be,'' Healy said. "But Romney keeps coming back to be the front-runner.''

Although some Connecticut Republicans grouse about the lengthy process, Democrats are delighted.
''I can tell you the Democrats are rooting for Gingrich, they're rooting for Santorum, they're rooting for this to go on and on and on,'' said longtime Democratic operative Matthew J. Hennessy of Hartford. "If Romney pushes to the right, that's good for the Democrats in the general election.''

He added: "There's this continuing problem for Romney. He seems continually stuck with about a third of the Republicans supporting him. Around Christmastime, you took a look around and all the establishment was supporting Romney. There wasn't an argument to be made that Romney wasn't the best candidate. People were looking at the electability — a candidate with the money, the organization, and the profile to win in the general election. The problem is that he has still failed to close the deal with his own party.''
With the Republicans splitting the winners three ways Tuesday night, the scramble is still on.

The bottom line?

"For the Republicans,'' Hennessy said, "the Connecticut primary is going to be relevant.''

Tremont Director Wraps Up 2011 Election Results on Fox

Tremont Director Calls Union Deal Potential Win for State.

Malloy Hails Union Deal; Others Skeptical

By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, The Hartford Courant

August 20, 2011

Gov. Dannel Malloy is declaring victory.

With a smile on his face, Malloy finally has a ratified savings and concession deal with 45,000 unionized state employees that will help define his four-year term in office. Since the parameters of an administration often are set during the first year, Malloy is now positioning himself as the governor who respected the unions and came out ahead.

The unions were high-profile supporters of Malloy's election campaign last year; many believe they were the difference as Malloy defeated Greenwich Republican Tom Foley by about one-half of 1 percent. Now, those workers have a guarantee of four years of no layoffs in return for two years of wage freezes and changes in their health care and pension benefits.

"If you asked a public-service worker would you rather be in Connecticut with Dan Malloy as your governor or would you rather be in New Jersey or Wisconsin, I think they would tell you they would want this guy," said Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy's chief political adviser. "We still face huge budget challenges. The economy is nowhere near where he would like to see it. The last couple of days have been good days, but we need a lot more good days.''

But some Republicans say Malloy's accomplishment is somewhat hollow — they estimate that at least $600 million of the $1.6 billion in savings and concessions consists of smoke and mirrors designed to balance the two-year state budget. Even the legislature's nonpartisan fiscal office says it cannot verify some of the financial assumptions, though Malloy and his budget chief say they are confident they will reach the projected savings.

House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said the ratification of the four-year, no-layoff agreement was not a great day for taxpayers.

"This is a great day for the governor politically because he believes that this issue finally, after almost eight months of getting the budget done the way he wanted it done, is done,'' Cafero said. "I'm not so sure it's a great day for the state of Connecticut, as much as, in his mind, it's a great day for him politically.''

Cafero claims that the state-employee savings will fall short of projections and that the shortfall will be made up through the largest tax increase in state history, which is likely to allow the state to finish the current fiscal year with a surplus.

"I think the governor was shell-shocked when the unions initially turned down this deal,'' Cafero said. "What that showed is this almost chaotic 'we gotta cut here, we're going to do this, that and the other thing' that sent this state into chaos and uncertainty. We can't let that happen again.''

As a longtime fiscal conservative, Cafero said he has to give credit to Malloy for creating a less-lucrative pension tier for new state employees and a new "wellness'' program designed to save millions by encouraging state employees to get age-appropriate tests like colonoscopies.

But he said he has also grown tired of dog-and-pony shows featuring the governor and the lieutenant governor praising the concessions deal. By Cafero's count, the administration has celebrated the same agreement six different times.

"Connecticut is growing a little weary of these so-called celebrations of the same budget quote 'victory,''' Cafero said. "How many times do you celebrate the same thing?''

As for the unions, they — at least publicly — are not convinced they are getting everything they wanted from Malloy. They say the jury is still out on their relationship with the freshman governor.

Salvatore Luciano, one of the state's top union leaders, said the relationship between Malloy and the unions is unsettled — despite the agreement on the health care and pension concessions that was ratified last week by all 15 unions.

"I think it would be rocky right now, very rocky,'' said Luciano, executive director of AFSCME, Council 4. "We did work very hard to get this governor elected, and we're happy we have this agreement, but it's been a rough road."

"Yes, it should be smoothed out a little bit [by the agreement], but I think there are some hard feelings on the part of the membership,'' Luciano said. "I think the communication could have been a little better. When we worked so hard for his campaign, I thought the communication would be a little bit better. Being put in a corner and being asked for $2 billion was a difficult situation, obviously.''

Over the past several months, some state employees have expressed frustration with Malloy and their own union leaders as pink slips went out to more than 3,000 workers — increasing the anxiety level.

"I really don't think it was the layoffs. I think it was the confusion,'' Luciano said. "I think a lot of the people didn't go from 'no' to 'yes'. I think most of the members went from being confused to 'yes.' And when you're confused, I think you vote 'no.'"

Union leaders and their chief negotiator said the future of this relationship will depend on how Malloy acts on budget issues. That includes following through on promises to listen to front-line workers and cut through the thicket of the state bureaucracy by laying off non-union managers.

"The proof is in the pudding, and we'll see over the next six months,'' said Dan Livingston, chief negotiator for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.

The relationship between Malloy and the unions has clearly evolved since his election last year.

"There's a difference between being a politician and being a boss,'' Livingston said. "This governor didn't come in working that well with these folks. The communication could have been better as a boss. The immediate respect shown to front-line workers could have been better as a boss, and it would have made this process easier. … I'm certainly hopeful that this governor will get better at it as he's got more experience working with these 45,000 workers.''

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that, when election time rolls around, the unions are more attuned philosophically with Democrat Malloy than with Republicans. As such, they really do not have anywhere else to turn if in 2014 there is a rematch between Malloy and Foley.

"I think the governor can be a difficult boss,'' Livingston said. "That doesn't change the fact that his values are much more in line with the values of working families than, say, his opponent. That makes a big difference in the outcome.''

Longtime Democratic political strategist Matthew Hennessy said that the savings deal, despite complaints from Republicans, is far preferable to laying off thousands of state employees, putting families into financial stress and hurting the economy.

"At this juncture, it's positive for both parties to step back and say that they're not in love any more,'' Hennessy said. "But secretly, the reality is this deal was a pretty good deal for the state of Connecticut. It was a pretty good deal for the unions. It took a fairly significant chunk out of their pay and benefits package. It really is a win-win.''

One of the longest-running controversies over the concessions deal is that Republicans say it does not add up to $1.6 billion in savings. For example, the administration has not released a detailed list of cost-savings ideas from state employees that would save $180 million over two years. The two sides say they are still working on it.

In addition, some insiders charge that the deal does not go far enough in making fundamental changes to the lucrative pensions many state employees receive. For example, overtime and the highly controversial "longevity'' bonus payments will still count toward the pensions of all current employees. For new employees hired after July 1, longevity payments will no longer be paid, and their pensions will be based on their average pay from their last five years instead of their last three years.

Cafero said former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell got a better deal from her negotiations with the unions two years ago. That deal included unpaid furlough days, pay freezes and increases in co-payments for prescription drugs, among other items.

"She looks like a shark at the negotiating table, based on what she got,'' Cafero said.

Occhiogrosso scoffed at the idea that Rell had cut a better deal than Malloy.

"[Cafero] doesn't really believe that. If he does, he's the only person in the state of Connecticut who believes that, including Jodi Rell,'' Occhiogrosso said. "Larry's a smart guy. It bothers him that it took a Democratic governor to do what no Republican governor could ever do. … Not to reach too far, that comes from the whole notion that only Nixon could go to China. There's no question that being a Democrat helped. There was a relationship there. There was a trust factor there.''

Regarding the unions, Occhiogrosso said, "I don't think there is any question the relationship has been tested. The relationship is in the process of being tested, but it's always been respectful, and it has always been fair. Like any relationship, there will be ups and downs.''

He added that Malloy "doesn't have any hard feelings about the process that everyone just went through. There's no question that he's asked a lot of state employees. He's put himself on the line politically. This governor has stood by them and stood up for them. Relationships are a two-way street. He understands he ruffled some feathers over the past two months.''

Copyright © 2011, The Hartford Courant

State firm uses old-style lobbying to sell cutting-edge product

Deirdre Shesgreen
August 10, 2011

WASHINGTON--A Westport-based bio-medical company is immersed in an unusual lobbying campaign, trying to sell a high-tech burn remedy to counter-terrorism experts in Washington who decide what to buy for the government's public-health-emergency stockpile.

But while the product and the company, Advanced BioHealing, may be cutting edge, their Washington strategy is old-school. To press their case, they've hired a sophisticated public relations firm and a cadre of politically-connected lobbyists--including Matthew Hennessy, a former aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is among several Connecticut legislators urging the government to stockpile the company's medical cure.

Advanced BioHealing's pitch is nothing short of ominous: What if terrorists managed to detonate an improvised nuclear device or launch a chemical attack in a crowded setting? Or imagine that the propane-gasoline-and-fireworks bomb that Faisal Shahzad put in an SUV in Times Square last year had actually gone off.

Among other things, says Advanced BioHealing official Julie Letwat, dozens of victims could suffer severe burns from such a blast, quickly overwhelming New York City's burn units and leaving victims exposed to life-threatening infections and other complications.

"Every time this country has been hit or almost hit, it's some kind of explosive or bomb," Letwat said. In the 10 years since 9/11, public health officials have snapped up supplies to deal with anthrax and other possible bio-terrorism weapons, she said, but "we don't have anything in the stockpile" to treat severe burn victims except gauze, ointments, and antibiotics.

Enter TransCyte, a bio-engineered "skin substitute" made from living cells and other materials that helps skin regenerate and heal after severe burns. Advanced BioHealing (ABH) bought the rights to manufacture TransCyte and a similar product, Dermagraft, used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, from a British company in 2006.
Dermagraft has been a hit, with the company's sales expanding exponentially since 2006. But TransCyte is another story.

Private hospitals and burn centers can't afford to buy it, so Advanced BioHealing hasn't been making it, even though it's approved by the FDA and had previously been used in various disasters, including treating a handful of 9/11 victims injured in the Pentagon attack. It's been off the market at least since 2006, Letwat said.

"Ever since that product went away, we've had to use some less-than-ideal substitutes," said Dr. Daniel Lozano, chief of the burn department at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania. Lozano said he used TransCyte when he was working at a hospital in San Diego and the 2003 wildfires hit, resulting in more than 100 injuries.

"I had three beds available in an 18-bed burn center," he said, recalling how they scrambled to make room for critically-injured patients in other sections of the hospital. TransCyte allowed him to treat some victims as outpatients and it shortened the in-patient stay for others, because the skin substitute helps burns heal more quickly than other remedies, he said.

Lozano said he has no role at ABH and no financial incentive to promote the product. But he's become one of TransCyte's most forceful advocates, attending meetings with ABH officials in Washington and pressing federal officials to add it to the national stockpile.

"We have stuff for small pox and we have stuff for anthrax, but we have nothing for burns," he said. "And most of your victims in a nuclear disaster are going to be burn victims."

Emergency preparedness officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) say they already have some burn countermeasures in place, and they are in the process of determining what else is needed.

"We look forward to continued dialogue with members of Congress and their staff to discuss how to protect the public from" chemical, nuclear or other attacks, said Gretchen Michael, communications director for HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Asked about TransCyte and ABH, Michael suggested that it might not be ready for prime time, at least when it comes to a terrorist attack. She noted that while it's approved by the FDA for severe burns, it hasn't been cleared for use with thermal burns caused by ionizing irradiation.

"Like many other companies that have an interest in pursuing government funding opportunities, Advanced BioHealing has met twice with BARDA," Michael said, referring to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division within HHS that helps manage the Strategic National Stockpile.

"The subject of their presentations was their product TransCyte, which is in early development" for medical countermeasures in terrorist attacks. For it to be used on thermal burns, she said, it would need to undergo new animal and human studies.

Letwat said that TransCyte has a "proven track record" of treating thermal burns, including its use at the Pentagon during 9/11 and the San Diego wildfires.

"This is not a product for your typical backyard barbecue burn," she said. "It's perfectly situated for a public-health emergency. That's what the product is for."

To be sure, ABH's hopes for revving up TransCyte rest on the U.S. government--more specifically, with the Strategic National Stockpile. The SNS was created more than a decade ago, with a mandate of amassing a stash of vaccines and medicines needed to respond to a biological, nuclear or chemical attack.

For several years, ABH officials have been meeting with federal officials at BARDA and other agencies who handle purchases for the SNS, arguing that TransCyte is an ideal item for their shelves. And starting last year, ABH ramped up its advocacy, hiring two new lobbying firms and doubling its lobbying expenses to $240,000 for the year, according to a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics. So far this year, they've spent $170,000 on a stable of lobbyists.

In addition to Hennessy, whose company website features a photo of him with Lieberman and Bill Clinton, ABH has also brought on the Glover Park Group, a communications firm stocked with politically-wired media strategists, including several who worked for the Clinton White House.

The campaign appeared to be paying off. Letwat said that HHS and BARDA officials had started to signal strong interest in TransCyte. They even suggested possible military applications, if it could be stored in the field and used for burns from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

ABH hired Letwat as their in-house advocate more than a year ago, and she said her goal was to generate political pressure from Congress, aimed at officials at HHS and at BARDA.

"BARDA actually asked us for that," telling ABH that a push from Congress would make the process move faster, Letwat said. "So we engaged in some pretty heavy Hill pressure."

Among others things, Letwat worked with Lieberman and Maine Republican Susan Collins, the top two members of the Senate homeland security committee, on a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The lawmakers expressed concern about the lack of adequate medical countermeasures to respond an attack, whether a conventional explosive or a radiological "dirty bomb," that involved hundreds or thousands of burn victims.

"As you know, such casualties would quickly overwhelm the 300-500 burn unit beds available nationwide on any given day," states the letter, which was also signed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Jim Himes, both Connecticut Democrats. BARDA has made some progress, they wrote. "However, much still remains to be done to stock the SNS with [medical countermeasures] in sufficient quantities and quality to treat thermal burns."

Lieberman said this has been a long-standing concern for him, stemming for a series of hearings he held in the homeland security committee on the nation's preparedness for a weapons of mass destruction attack.

Those hearings highlighted the scarcity of burn beds across the country and showed in particular "that our medical capabilities are woefully insufficient," he said. "Should a large-scale incident or a smaller incident using an improvised explosive device result in hundreds of injuries, clearly we will need alternative treatments. The bio-engineered skin substitute manufactured by Advanced BioHealing could be an impressive addition to our medical stockpiles to improve the nation's readiness for a catastrophe."

Letwat said in recent months, the effort to get HHS officials on board seems to have stalled. She said that staffers for Lieberman and other supporters had initially been happy with the reports back from BARDA, but "they're not pleased now, and that's putting it mildly."

Lieberman's staff on the homeland security committee is planning to convene a briefing with BARDA officials in the coming weeks, to determine where things stand with the agency's efforts to issue a bid for medical countermeasures for burns. Michael, of the HHS preparedness office, said that BARDA expects to award contracts for the development of new burn remedies in fiscal year 2012.

Letwat says it's now or never for Advanced BioHealing and TransCyte. If the government doesn't make a move, she said, they will likely walk away from the product and refocus on other investments.

"I don't see us sort of dangling on for much longer," she said. "We're not Merck and we're not Pfizer. We don't have the bandwidth to say 'When you get to it, you get to it'."

It's unclear how much money is at stake for the Westport company. Letwat said that HHS already has funding for the stockpile set aside, so they're not seeking new funding. How big of an order does the company want?

Letwat couldn't answer with any specificity, saying only that ABH needs a "sustainable order." She noted that making TransCyte is highly complex, and ABH would probably need to build a new facility to ramp up production.

But she said it's really up to federal officials to figure out how much they would need. "The truth is BARDA knows what they would have to do... If 100 burn victims are going overwhelm New York metropolitan hospitals, I think they need quite a bit of product," she said. "A $10 million or $20 million order is not going to be enough," either for ABH or for the country.

If TransCyte became an item in the nation's strategic stockpile, then private doctors like Lozano could get it as well--for a discounted cost. That's because it has a shelf-life of about 18 months, so as it inched toward expiration, HHS could sell it to hospitals and burn centers at a "bargain basement price," Letwat said.

"It's kind of a win-win," she said. "If the government makes a substantial order that would make it worth our while [to re-start production], then we could get it back to the private market as well."

Lozano agreed, saying it would "benefit the stockpile and benefit the everyday burn patient."
And of course, it would benefit Advanced BioHealing, too.

Tremont Director Identifies Risks In Budget Stalemate

State Heads Toward Layoffs, Shutdowns Neither Side Wants

Governor, Unions Don't Want To Make Jobless Rate Worse

July 17, 2011|By CHRISTOPHER KEATING,, The Hartford Courant

With 6,500 jobs and numerous state services on the line, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state employee unions remained entangled last week in a high-stakes standoff as they struggled toward a single goal: avert layoffs at a time when Connecticut's unemployment rate is already at 9.1 percent.

A governor in the middle of a statewide "jobs tour" and union leaders desperate to save union jobs are both hoping to slip out of the noose in a way that would make Houdini proud.

Malloy increased the pressure on the unions day by day, launching layoff notices, then announcing the closure of motor vehicles branches, welfare offices, and other state services — cutbacks that could well prove politically unpalatable with legislators and the general public.

Amid the governor's gloomy missives, however, some insiders still did not believe that the layoffs would ever take place. They are calculating that the unions have a rescue plan that would allow them to ratify a concessions agreement that would fill the $1.6 billion hole in the state budget for the next two years, and negate the need for deep cuts and layoffs.

On Monday, top union leaders will meet to consider changing their bylaws in a way that would make it easier to approve an updated savings-and-concession deal with Malloy. By making a slight change in the agreement that has already been crafted, the rank-and-file could vote again and potentially need only a simple majority to pass the changes.

In the first union deal, 57 percent of those voting approved the agreement, but that was not enough under the complicated union rules. Those rules state that workers in 14 of the 15 unions — representing 80 percent of the overall membership — must approve any changes in health care and pension benefits.

No Single Voice

Negotiations are often straightforward discussions between two sides, but the multi-headed union coalition involves 15 unions with 34 bargaining units and 45,000 employees who do not agree with each other on all issues.

Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy's senior adviser, said he has given up trying to predict what the unions will do and the chances of the layoffs' being rescinded.

"That's up to them,'' Occhiogrosso said. "It's not something that the governor is counting on having happen. If it happens, then we will revisit it at that point. But at this point, this is the budget that we have. … I think we have to wait and see what happens on Monday.''

Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, declined to provide details on exactly what the unions will do, but he said that Malloy's proposed cuts and closures are unacceptable.

"The alternative to a mutual agreement is mutually assured destruction in which everybody loses: the governor, the legislature, the unions, every business, large and small, and the innocent people caught in the middle,'' O'Connor said. "It's nothing short of a disaster. I've seen the list [of Malloy's budget cuts]. It's ugly. If you want a picture perfect example of 'off the charts,' this list is it.''

The proposed closures of prisons, courthouses, law libraries, welfare offices, motor vehicles branches, a juvenile jail and other government buildings would have an unwelcome spillover effect for surrounding businesses.

"It's bad for economic recovery,'' O'Connor said. "It's bad for the pizza shop owner in Enfield, and once that courthouse closes, they lose business. This is just a recipe for catastrophe.''

Among insiders, everyone from the workers themselves to House Speaker Chris Donovan, the most powerful labor supporter in the legislature, wants to avoid layoffs. Although layoffs have been ordered in more than 40 departments, some lawmakers believe that the consequences of service cuts are so dire that only the unions can bail out the state — and themselves — from severe economic pain for many families.

"This plan would harm our state in significant ways,'' Donovan said. "That is why I am urging the governor and SEBAC to reach an agreement. That is the most responsible action available.''

'Wake-Up Call'

With more than 1,000 layoff notices already given to employees and budget cuts moving closer to reality, the unions have taken the step to seriously consider changing the bylaws to avoid the layoffs.

"It's become eminently more believable to the rank and file that it will happen,'' said Matthew J. Hennessy, a longtime Democratic political operative. "Those folks have gotten a wake-up call that it is real. At the end of the day, this will resolve itself. There will be some people laid off, but the majority will remain when the smoke clears. … The ball is clearly in the unions' court. They're slowly coming to the right answer, which is to come to an agreement with the governor.''

The situation was unsettled, lurching back and forth, from the moment Malloy made his initial layoff threat in mid-February. But it has become increasingly dire since the rank and file rejected the deal that their leaders crafted.

"There has been a continually evolving strategy on the part of all the actors,'' said Hennessy. "This is just another piece of the evolution.''

House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said that Malloy clearly miscalculated the amount of negativity within the rank and file and had no idea that the deal was going south. As such, the governor and his budget team have had to scramble to create a back-up plan to close the now-projected gap of $1.6 billion over two years.

"The governor is a very confident man, and in my opinion, underestimated this process and, frankly, this job,'' Cafero said. "So when he supposedly reached a deal, and I have publicly criticized that deal, he put up the 'Mission Accomplished' sign. And it fell apart. There wasn't any thought in his mind that this would ever happen. I think they're winging it right now. They're winging it!''
But, based on a law written in special session, Cafero said he believes that the Democratic-controlled legislature will allow Malloy's cuts to stand without making any changes.

"I predict we will never come back here, as a group, to vote on this,'' Cafero said.

The legislature has set a deadline of Aug. 31 for a new SEBAC agreement.

Seeking A Solution

Andrew Matthews, president of the state police union, said his union voted against the deal because they did not want to make more concessions.

"We think that reducing the budget by laying off state troopers who are vital to protecting the safety of all of us standing here and the governor — state troopers protect the governor — [is] not somewhere to cut funds,'' Matthews said. "There are other ways to save money in state government.''

"In 2009, under Gov. [M. Jodi] Rell, we made substantial concessions, and I think it was really hard for our members to swallow another concessions deal asking for greater'' concessions, Matthews said. "I think the overwhelming no vote was a reflection of the frustration of our membership. … We're to trying to find a solution to this mess.''

Matthews rejected the idea that Malloy laid off the troopers in retaliation for voting against the concessions deal.

"I wouldn't suggest that, no, because I personally believe the layoffs could have been far greater than 57,'' Matthews said. "We saw 97 layoffs — 40 civilian and 57 troopers.''

Matthews remembers the days when it seemed like the sky was falling two decades ago. Instead, the layoffs were averted when the state income tax was enacted.

"In 1991,'' he said, "Gov. Weicker laid off 111 troopers, and we brought back 109 troopers.''

Since Malloy's budget cuts are so deep — and politically unacceptable to both Republicans and Democrats — some believe that they will not happen.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who ran against Malloy on the ticket with Republican Tom Foley, believes the battle is far from over.

"Do I really think that the governor is going to shut down the Danbury DMV? Probably not,'' Boughton wrote in his blog. "The positioning of a possible closure is just a way for the Malloy administration to put more pressure on the state employee unions who have rejected the initial 'concession' package. Lots of unhappy taxpayers and unhappy residents who use the service mean more pressure on the union leadership and its members to figure out a way to unwind the recent rejection.''

Boughton added, "Don't worry yet, people. This is just an opening gambit to turn up the heat on the unions.''

But O'Connor, the union spokesman, says they are highly aware that the calendar is getting tighter for the unions to take action.
"We all know we're working under a constricted calendar. Everyone is anxious to get this matter resolved,'' he said. "In particular, now when we have workers who know their last day on the job, that adds a renewed and much higher degree of urgency to getting to a mutually accepted resolution. The alternative is mutually agreed destruction.''

Tremont Equity Advisors Opens New York Office to Advise Clients on Strategies for Creating “Shared Value”

Hartford – The public affairs firm Tremont Public AdvisorsSM announced the launch of a sister company, Tremont Equity AdvisorsSM (,  to advise corporate clients on the integration of sustainable environmental, governance and societal practices into core business functions.  The creation of the firm was inspired in part by the controversy stirred by the January 2011 article in the Harvard Business Review by Professor Michael Porter and Mark Kramer calling for corporations to “create economic value by creating societal value”.

Tremont Equity Advisors provides a diverse suite of services for clients including: Strategy Development  helping organizations develop sustainable practices appropriate in the context of their core business; Sustainable Practice Reporting, as one of the few American firms with staff certified in the largest international reporting framework, the Global Reporting Initiative TM, Tremont Equity Advisors assists clients with reporting on Key Performance Metrics of their sustainable practices; Risk Mitigation an increasingly sophisticated network of activists investors, NGOs and grassroots pressure groups are carefully scrutinizing the business practices of companies of all sizes and industries,  Tremont Equity Advisors counsels firms on identifying and reducing their vulnerabilities in key ESG metrics.

Matthew Hennessy the Managing Director of Tremont Public Advisors will also serve as the Managing Partner of Tremont Equity Advisors and will coordinate a team of ESG consultants based out of offices in Hartford and Manhattan.

“Segregating primary responsibility for sustainable business practices into corporate communications or philanthropy functions is no longer a viable path for any company that wishes to compete over the long term in our global economy. Companies place themselves at tremendous risk when they fail to keep abreast of rapidly changing global standards for corporate behavior and miss out on significant opportunity for growth when they fail to consider societal impact of their operations.” Hennessy commented.

“There is presently over $3trillion in U.S. investment that is tied to criteria on social impact and as Porter and Kramer compelling argued in the Harvard Business Review, firms that create ‘shared value’ are more innovative and economically viable over the long term. Tremont Equity Advisors will help clients capitalize on that opportunity for growth and competitive advantage.” Hennessy stated.

Tremont Equity Advisors is a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (, an Organizational Stakeholder in the Global Reporting Initiative ( and a member of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (

About Tremont Public Advisors:
From offices in Washington D.C. and Hartford, Connecticut Tremont Public Advisors ( counsels a diverse range of clients from Fortune 500 companies, to international labor organizations, to elected officials on how to effectively navigate difficult public policy challenges and deliver results.

About Matthew Hennessy, Managing Partner:
As a leader in multiple non-profit and governmental institutions, Matt has built a reputation as a trusted strategist and advisor to thought leaders in the public sector. Matt’s extensive portfolio of experience includes membership on the team responsible for crafting key environmental legislation in the U.S. Senate, leader of an award- winning program to provide wireless broadband to low income urban residents and senior advisor in the development of a nationally recognized campus of public schools anchoring a $250 million community redevelopment project in one of the nations’ poorest urban communities.

Matt is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, he holds degrees from Trinity College and the Catholic University of America.

Phone: 860-263-7321



State GOP Eager To Gain Ground In Special Elections
Party Hopes To Build On November Gains
The Hartford Courant
January 24, 2011
After gaining 14 seats in the state House of Representatives in November, Connecticut Republicans are hoping for more in special elections next month.

Nine Democratic incumbents who won in November have decided to step down from the legislature, including six who will be working for the new administration of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The nine winners included veteran Democrats who routinely won elections and beat back numerous Republican challenges through the years.

But now with nine open seats — three in the Senate, six in the House — Republicans look forward to even more gains in the special elections Feb. 22.

Republican State Chairman Chris Healy predicts that longtime New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart will win the Senate seat held for the past eight years by Donald DeFronzo, who left the safe seat to work for Malloy as commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.

"We've got the best candidate we could have,'' Healy said of Stewart.

But Stewart, 49, is facing former state Rep. Theresa B. Gerratana, a well-known Democrat in New Britain who represented the city for 10 years at the state Capitol until 2003. Gerratana, 61, gained support at a recent fundraiser from high-profile Democrats, including Malloy and former gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry. The former co-chair of the legislature's human services committee, Gerratana lost in a race for Congress in 2004 against incumbent U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson in the 5th Congressional District.

With consistent wins by party veterans like DeFronzo and former Sen. Joseph Harper, the Democrats have held the New Britain state Senate seat ever since Johnson, who held it from 1976 through 1982 before winning her race for Congress.

Longtime Democratic operative Matthew Hennessy described Stewart as "a formidable candidate,'' but added that Gerratana will be helped by the union members who have always displayed strength in New Britain.

"In a very low turnout election,'' Hennessy said, "labor can play a very important role.''

Some Democratic insiders fear that they could potentially lose three seats that had been held by veteran Democrats, including state Reps. Michael P. Lawlor in East Haven, Deborah Heinrich in Madison and Jamie Spallone in Essex. At the same time, Democrats are confident they have three safe House seats in Bridgeport, New Britain, and West Hartford.

The one issue looming over all of the special elections is Malloy's plan to resolve the state's projected $3.5 billion budget deficit. The governor will unveil that plan Feb. 16. Republicans hope for anti-budget blowback on the premise that voters will object to Malloy's expected tax increases and budget cuts — and thus vote against Democratic candidates.

"That's why they scheduled those special elections so quickly,'' Healy said. "They know they're going to have some unpleasant news, and there will be six days to flog a budget instead of two weeks.''

But Malloy's chief strategist, Roy Occhiogrosso, said the scheduling of the special elections was not tied to Malloy's budget speech. Malloy set the date, but the time frame was narrow under state law.

"I like Chris [Healy] personally,'' Occhiogrosso said. "I think he's had a tough election cycle and probably should stop looking for conspiracy theories'' to explain Republican election results.

With Malloy tied up with the details of the state budget, Occhiogrosso said the new governor will be spending limited time on campaign functions such as the Gerratana fundraiser.

Hennessy agreed with Healy that Malloy's budget plans — still being crafted behind closed doors — will impact the races.

"Those elections are the first snap poll on the budget process,'' Hennessy said. "Candidly, if the elections were before the budget, it would be better. It's smarter to have it sooner.''

One of the highest-profile races is the 36th District in Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam, where the Democrats have nominated Phil Miller, the Essex first selectman since 2003. Former TV anchorwoman Janet Peckinpaugh is running as the Republican nominee after losing a high-profile race for the 2nd Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney in November.

"If she is ever going to have a shot, this is it,'' Hennessy said. "This clearly plays to her strength. If it doesn't work out this time, she ought to think about doing something else.''

Despite the Republican optimism, House Speaker Chris Donovan is not conceding any of the races —in the same way that he did not concede any races when the Democrats lost 14 House seats in November.

"They're Democratic seats,'' Donovan said. "They've been Democrat for a while. That's why we have elections.''

When asked if the national Republican headwind is still blowing, Donovan responded: "We try to blow our own winds. It's not a national race. It's a local race.''

Copyright © 2011, The Hartford Courant

OF 2010 ELECTION 11/11/10

In the wake of a national election that has changed the political dynamics in Washington D.C. as well as Connecticut; multiple media outlets have turned to the Managing Director of Tremont Public Advisors, Matthew J. Hennessy for analysis of the election results. Hennessy has provided media commentary on a variety of races ranging from the Connecticut Governor’s election to the race for Republican National Committee Chair.

“The 2010 elections were reflective of the national mood that both parties have to rebuild trust with the voters. Though many commentators have predicted gridlock in Washington for the next two years, the reality is that the legislative and regulatory process will continue to move forward. Smart businesses and organizations will take the time to understand the nuances in the new political landscape and adjust their government relations and public affairs strategies to leverage the potential opportunities.” Hennessy stated.

About Tremont Public Advisors:
Tremont Public Advisors with offices in Washington D.C. and Hartford, CT is one of Connecticut’s leading public affairs firms, providing a comprehensive suite of services to assist clients with influencing and focusing the public debate on issues that impact their bottom line. Services include: federal advocacy, polling, modeling of voter behavior, issue advertising, grassroots advocacy, writing, strategic communications, and coalition management.

You can read recent stories on the 2010 election below:

Connecticut's Chris Healy As The Next Republican National Chairman? Mentioned Despite Big Losses In Nutmeg State
By Christopher Keating on November 10, 2010

The 2010 elections provided some of the greatest political advances in history for Republicans, but that wave never fully arrived in Connecticut as the party lost races for governor, U.S. Senator, and five Congressional seats.

Those failures have prompted some rumbling that the losses should spell the end of the nearly four-year tenure of Connecticut state Republican chairman Chris Healy.

But in a bizarre twist, Healy is now being mentioned in the national media for a major promotion - to be chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Healy's name has been floated widely in The Associated Press, Roll Call, and The Washington Post's influential political blog, among others.

In a 24-hour whirlwind, Healy's candidacy has grown from a behind-the-scenes, back-room whispering campaign to a full-blown public race. As a nearly four-year member of the national committee because of his state chairmanship, Healy already knows many of the 168 national members - and he needs 85 votes to oust embattled, outspoken chairman Michael Steele.

"A number of people on the committee, which is where it counts, urged me to think about running,'' Healy said in an interview. "We need to create a real national Republican army. The record does not indicate that the Steele team can do it. At some point, you have to come out and say the emperor has no clothes.''
Healy, 53, said he has no idea who mentioned his name to The Washington Post, adding that he has "full confidence of passing a polygraph'' on the leak. He is being mentioned along with former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, former Nevada Gov. Robert List, former New Jersey chairman David Norcross, and current Wisconsin chairman Reince Priebus, among others.
Based on the losses last week in high-profile races, Healy said he is prepared to hear questions about why Connecticut's party chairman should be picked over others in states where Republicans made huge gains.
"I think that's a fair point,'' Healy said. "We were unsuccessful, but in the big strategic picture, people on the RNC can look me in the eye and say I took a party that was dormant and made it fully engaged in the Internet age. We recruited a lot of good candidates without a lot of help from the chief executive - and that's fine. ... We didn't even have a web page when I took over. Now, we have one of the best social media networks. We've got thousands and thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter.''

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell taped radio commercials for U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, but she was not a major public presence on the campaign trail.
When asked if Rell had helped the Republicans, Healy responded, "No, she didn't do anything, which is unfortunate. She chose not to, and that's her choice. It just is what it is. You can't make people do things if they don't want to.''

Healy said he would not criticize Rell personally, saying she needed to speak for herself. Rell could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Insiders also said that Rell did not help the state House Republicans, who increased their total by 14 seats - the highest one-year gain by any political party since the state's party lever was eliminated in 1986.
A leading Republican, though, disagreed sharply with Healy.

"It's amazing,'' the Republican said. "Chris Healy evidently recruited every candidate, raised every dollar, and was evidently responsible for every Republican who won this year. At the same time, Governor Rell and other Republican leaders seemingly did nothing to help any candidate. The only thing bigger and more inflated than Chris's ego is the Goodyear blimp. He would fit right in with all the other modest, team-playing politicos already dominating the Washington scene.''

In Connecticut races, Healy said he was fighting against huge amounts of money being spent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, plus visits by national figures. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton all came to the Nutmeg State.

"That's an enormous amount of firepower, and we still came within a coin flip on the governor's race,'' Healy said.

At the RNC, Steele has been criticized sharply for months regarding various comments and missteps that have garnered national attention. In particular, Healy criticized the huge costs of the party's 48-state tour that went around the nation on a "Fire Nancy Pelosi'' tour to oust the U.S. House Speaker. Instead, that effort was really "a Michael Steele re-election tour'' to keep his job as the party chief, Healy said. After the bus tour ended, the Republicans gained 60 seats in the U.S. House and recaptured control from the Democrats - placing John Boehner as the aspiring new Speaker.

The donations of Republicans should not be spent on "tour buses and ballgames and margarita machines,'' Healy said, adding that contributions should be "not wasted on frivolities or high-end living, and there has been some of that.''

Healy says his bid for national chairman is a combination of being drafted to the post and wanting the job. The committee will vote in mid-January, raising the possibility of a two-month campaign for the post among multiple candidates.

"I'd like to do it, and a lot of people have asked me to do it,'' Healy said. "It's a huge responsibility.''
Matthew J. Hennessy, a longtime Democratic operative who has been following the Steele controversy closely, said Healy certainly has a chance in the race.

"There's probably a group of people who will say Chris Healy did a good job of being an aggressive spokesman for the Connecticut Republican Party for the last two years,'' Hennessy said. "That being said, it's very difficult for a chairman from a very blue state to be the national chairman without a history of big wins in his home state. His efforts would have a lot more steam behind them if McMahon had won that race - taking Chris Dodd's seat - but that didn't happen. That would be the knock. ... It's not completely out of the realm of possibility. Is it likely? That's another story.''

Dan Malloy and Tom Foley Locked In Tight Race For Governor; Wyman Says Malloy Ticket May Have Won
By Christopher Keating, The Hartford Courant on November 3, 2010 12:27 AM |

In the roller-coaster known as the Connecticut governor's race, Lt. Gov. candidate Nancy Wyman said around midnight that Dannel Malloy might be the next governor.

The hotly contested governor's race was still too close to call Tuesday night after the results were delayed when a judge ordered an extension of polling hours by two hours at selected sites in Bridgeport.
Republican Tom Foley had been leading Democrat Dannel Malloy in the early, unofficial results by 51 percent to 47 percent, and the voting extension was expected to help Malloy in Democratic-dominated Bridgeport. The extension was ordered by a Superior Court judge after a shortage of ballots prevented some citizens from voting.

But Malloy apparently scored big in the state's biggest cities in the votes that came in at the end of the night, according to Democrats. Malloy also won Norwich, Middletown, Branford, and Ansonia in late-breaking results.

Republicans intend to challenge any ballots cast after 8 p.m. at 12 polling places in the city. Those votes were being counted as provisional ballots and would be kept separate from the others, the judge ruled.
"There's no way of knowing if people were turned away or just saw on television that people could vote past 8 p.m.," said Kevin O'Connor, a former U.S. Attorney who represented Foley at the hearing Tuesday. "Depending on the outcome of the election, every one of those ballots will be challenged as being an illegal vote."

Throughout the early voting with 30 percent of precincts reporting, Foley was leading by 4 percentage points.

Malloy's chief campaign strategist, Roy Occhiogrosso, said that the Bridgeport votes were "very important'' to Malloy.

"He's very concerned about it. It's a real problem,'' Occhiogrosso said. "We don't have an exact number. We don't know how many people left. We don't know how many came back.''

The Bridgeport controversy was the latest twist in a long-running campaign that saw more than a dozen candidates running for governor at some point in a year in which Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell decided not to seek re-election. Five candidates ran in the primaries in August with Malloy and Foley emerging victorious.

Malloy had led in the polls for the entire general election campaign until Foley pulled ahead in three polls in the final days. Since Connecticut is a Democratic-leaning state and Malloy has been running for governor two times over the past six years, insiders believed that it was Malloy's race to lose.

In a particularly bitter race, Foley portrayed Malloy as a big-spending, tax-raising, union-supporting liberal Democrat who would raise taxes as governor. Malloy portrayed Foley as an out-of-touch Greenwich multi-millionaire who lacks middle-class values and spent his career as a corporate raider who made money at the expense of the blue-collar workers he employed.

Political observers said there were several reasons why Foley was able to close the gap in the final week and make the race much closer. Malloy, insiders said, made several crucial mistakes that allowed Foley to catch up and turn the race into a dead heat.

"People got to see Dan Malloy in the debates as arrogant and dismissive and angry in contrast to Foley's very calm, confident manner,'' said state Republican chairman Chris Healy. "That's what people look for in a governor. He doesn't have the temperment to be a governor - if you come off as a hothead or obstreperous or having a chip on your shoulder.''

Besides Malloy's demeanor, Healy said that his record as mayor of Stamford for 14 years was attacked sharply by Foley.

"Malloy's record in Stamford that he tried to portray as milk and honey was potentially higher taxes'' for the state, Healy said.

"I think the death penalty played a part in it as well - given the Petit trial,'' Healy said. "Malloy's explanation came off as political that he was against the death penalty except for these guys. ... He tried to position himself as a moderate Democrat, but he's not.''

But longtime AFL-CIO president John Olsen, one of the state's top Democrats, said that Malloy had huge electoral strength from his solid support of union members. Besides their own votes, the union members worked hard to get out the vote of their entire membership.

"We're getting good feedback from our guys - phone banking, door to door, the leaflets,'' Olsen said before the polls opened.

The silver bullet for Malloy was that, under Olsen's estimate, 25 percent of all votes came from union households. Far fewer than 25 percent of workers nationwide are members of unions, but Olsen said that union members come out to the polls in greater numbers than the general population. He noted that about 55 percent of the members of the AFL-CIO are Democrats, another 15 percent are Republicans, and about 30 percent are unaffiliated. House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said during the campaign that he was shocked to hear that only 55 of the union members were Democrats, saying he believed the number was much higher.

Matthew Hennessy, a Malloy supporter, said that the governor's race became close because Foley was able to present a clear message that allowed him to come roaring back and close Malloy's lead in the final days of the campaign.

"The reason Foley is making traction is this whole tax issue,'' said Hennessy, who had supported Greenwich executive Ned Lamont in the August primary against Lamont. "That message has punched through because he has portrayed himself as the guy who is not going to raise your taxes. It's been less about the person that Tom Foley is, as opposed to the person who is not going to raise taxes. That's part of the national message that people are seeing on Fox [television] and hearing on talk radio. His campaign has found some clarity in the last 2 1/2 weeks of this race. Connecticut voters, especially independents, like having a Republican governor.''

Taxes was the overwhelming message that pushed aside most others, Hennessy said. For example, Foley hit Malloy with a 30-second commercial that criticized him for the problems of Curley's Diner, a well-known eatery in downtown Stamford that the city tried to seize by eminent domain. The two sisters who own the diner fought the case all the way to the state Supreme Court and won.

While Curley's was clearly a negative ad, Hennessy said that Malloy's negative ads against Foley on various issues "may have canceled each other out.''

The tax issue, though, resounded with voters, Hennessy said.

The early, unofficial results showed that Foley won numerous small towns, including Andover, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethlehem, Bolton, Bozrah, Bridgewater, Brooklyn, Burlington, Clinton, Columbia, Cromwell, East Haddam, East Hampton, Ellington, Killingworth, and Pomfret.

Foley also won in Greenwich, Naugatuck, and Bristol in late-breaking results.

Malloy won in small towns such as Canaan and Chaplin.

"I think Dan Malloy's position on the death penalty'' was a key factor, Foley said.
Malloy's journey to Tuesday night was a long road in his six-year quest for the governorship.
He won the Democratic Party's convention nomination for governor in 2006 in a nail-biter, and he then lost the August 2006 primary to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. He then won the Democratic convention nomination again this year and defeated Greenwich cable TV executive Ned Lamont in the August primary.

Malloy maintainted a single-minded focus on the governorship for six years, and he continued despite some setbacks that would have derailed other candidates. He endured a 17-month investigation by the chief state's attorney's office regarding city contractors who worked on his Stamford home, but he was exonerated in the case by then-Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano.

After the investigation ended, Malloy resumed his campaign in the 2006 race. After losing that year, he tried again in 2010. At various times, he was trailing Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and then Lamont in the polls. Still, he continued fighting.

The Courant's Dave Altimari reported that the mood at Malloy headquarters was initially apprehensive as supporters watched the early returns come in. While Democrats such as U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal and Attorney General candidate George Jepsen seemed to be doing well, Malloy was slightly behind in the early results.

A Democratic lawmaker said Malloy's internal polls showed that in the last few days that independent voters were trending towards Blumenthal and Foley, an ominous sign. The lawmaker said early numbers from major and mid-sized cities where Malloy needs to do well indicated turnout was good.
One of the most active unions Tuesday was 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union - a strong supporter of Malloy. The union says its get-out-the-vote effort is the largest that it has ever done in Connecticut.

"From job creation to access to health care, Dan Malloy has stood with Connecticut's working families on the state's most important issues," said Kurt Westby, the state director of 32BJ, which represents 4,500 commercial cleaners and food service workers. "The working families of 32BJ are doing everything we can to make sure that he is elected and will keep fighting for our state's hard working men and women."
Overall, the multiple unions within SEIU have 55,000 members statewide.

The Democratic turnout in Bridgeport was strong at the beginning of the day - and that turned out to be important as the day wore on.

"It's clear that the Obama rally in Bridgeport has energized the community there,'' said Hennessy, a longtime Democratic strategist.

Rep. Stephen Dargan, a Malloy supporter "from the beginning,'' said, "I was there with him when Lamont conceded by 9:15 p.m. This will be much later. This could be the closest race since the Ribicoff race. It could be a percentage point, but I've been wrong before. We'll have to see how upset the voters are. The strong bases have to be the major cities. They have to come out and vote for Malloy to win.''

Malloy held a 7-point lead in mid-October when the Quinnipiac Poll was released, and pollster Doug Schwartz said that day that Foley "needs to do better among independents if he's going to win.'' The subsequent polls showed that Foley did much better among unaffiliated voters.

The early trends were in Foley's favor as he held a lead of 51.4 percent to 46.7 percent with 8 percent of the precincts tallied. Independent Party candidate Thomas E. Marsh, the first selectman of the riverfront town of Chester, had 1.9 percent. Marsh appeared in various forums with the other candidates, but he did not participate in any debates.


The public affairs firm Tremont Public Advisors announced today that its Managing Director Matt Hennessy has co-authored an article published this month, advocating for the State and local governments to embrace Public, Private Partnerships for infrastructure investment.  “Connecticut’s infrastructure is not only crumbling, but hurting our economic growth. Connecticut does have the financial strength to make the necessary investment in our bridges, roads, airports and ports that is why we need to embrace the best practices pursued by most of Western Europe and partner with the private sector to generate new investment.” Hennessy stated.

Best Practices for Private Investment in Public Infrastructure
Matt Hennessy, Managing Director at Tremont Public Advisors
Frank Rapoport, Partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Connecticut towns struggling to balance budgets in one of the most difficult economic downturns in a century are faced with a common problem - how to continue to provide core services while facing steep declines in revenue from local taxes and reduced aid from the state and federal government? In the push to reduce municipal budgets, new investment for critical infrastructure is often the first to go on the chopping block, followed by maintenance for existing municipal assets. By curtailing local investment in infrastructure, municipalities put their long-term economic health at risk.

To meet the challenge of declining revenue and insure continued investment in critical infrastructure, the State of Connecticut and the cities of New Haven and Hartford have turned to Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to attract significant private investment in their infrastructure. PPPs allow the state and cities to generate new revenue to help close budget gaps and guarantee private investment in new and enhanced public facilities. The state has partnered with a private investment group to upgrade rest stops along I-95, and Hartford and New Haven are working with private firms to attract investment in their municipal parking systems.

Across the country, state and local governments are seeking innovative solutions to address the estimated $2.2 trillion needed to rehabilitate U.S. infrastructure, without tax increases or adding to already strained budgets. While PPP projects may not be appropriate for every community, much more must be done in the United States to explore and disseminate best practices for appropriate ways to implement them. America clearly needs a best practice center like Partnerships UK, Infrastructure Australia or PPP Canada to assist government officials in determining how best to proceed with PPP projects. Globally, there are over 85 different types of PPP advisory organizations that are working with governments to address public sector challenges and to identify project delivery solutions. By investing in PPP centers of excellence, these governments have significantly improved public trust in the process and tapped into a wide range of investment funds that have been crucial in upgrading their infrastructure and creating new jobs. This is why the Council of Project Finance Advisors (CPFA) Working Group was launched with Governor Howard Dean and Mayor Stephen Goldsmith to establish the CPFA as a U.S. best practices center for PPP.

The CPFA would provide PPP technical and outreach assistance to federal, state and local government officials who are assessing options to revitalize their infrastructure, create jobs, improve the delivery of public services, and develop long-term financial solutions. As an independent organization, the CPFA will help public officials maximize taxpayer assets with a coordinated, efficiently managed approach to assessing PPP opportunities. The benefits of the CPFA to Americans would be numerous, including: innovation resulting in job creation; overcoming public official unease; and producing more value per dollar.

Establishing the CPFA would affirm government’s commitment to better, faster, and cheaper public service delivery. Jack Wells, chief economist for the U.S. Department of Transportation, wrote that for every $1 billion invested in U.S. infrastructure, 27,800 new jobs are created. It is estimated that we have $180 billion - $250 billion available in the United States to leverage for PPP opportunities; the number of jobs created would be staggering. The United States cannot afford to turn away these capital resources due to false-start projects and poor communication of best practices.

The CPFA would help government officials understand project risk and the cost-benefits of risk transfer, thereby allowing officials to identify, compare and choose from a spectrum of traditional as well as PPP finance models. The CPFA’s mission would be to help the public sector identify the best possible financing options, not just to promote PPP solutions. Finally, the CPFA would engage a broad array of stakeholders from the start, adding better communications flow to the process, thus providing a higher level of transparency and accountability into the recommended best practices and project finance opportunities.

Even as communities across the country begin to explore the potential of partnering with the private sector to invest in public infrastructure, Congress is beginning to address the need for a best practices center. However, a greater sense of urgency is necessary if local communities are to fully benefit from private sector investment in public infrastructure.

Matt Hennessy is Managing Director at Tremont Public Advisors and former Chief of Staff for the City of Hartford.

Frank Rapoport is a partner at the law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and a nationally recognized expert on PPP projects.




Ex-Perez/Lieberman aide’s public affairs venture expands
By Greg Bordonaro

A Hartford public affairs firm started by former city mayoral aide Matt Hennessy has aligned with several local and national partners, including a former press spokesman for Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Hennessy was chief of staff to Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez until he left in August to start Tremont Public Advisors. Tremont has offices at 750 Main St. in Hartford and in Washington D.C.

Hennessy, also a former aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, said Tremont's strategic partners will pool their resources to serve businesses and organizations eager to shape public policy in Connecticut.

"Each of the partners has their own clients, but on particular projects they have made a commitment to partner with each other so we can provide a full and comprehensive approach to public advocacy campaigns," Hennessy told HBJ Today this morning.

Services include polling, media relations, writing, strategic communications, political strategy, predictive analytics, paid media, direct mail and government affairs, he said.

Among the group's partners is Christopher Cooper, Rell's former director of communications and spokesman, who also recently started his own company, Coventry-based Cooper Communications.
Other strategic partners include: Gotham Ghostwriters, led by Dan Gerstein, a nationally recognized political writer and communications strategist; JEF Associates, a polling, campaign consulting and grassroots advocacy firm; Knickerbocker, SKD, led by Josh Isay a senior campaign advisor to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Schumer; Murtha Cullina Government Affairs Group; Rapid Insight Inc.; and Capitol Strategies Group.


Rell Spokesman & Bloomberg Adviser Join  Experienced Connecticut and National Partners

The public affairs firm, Tremont Public Advisorssm  LLC with offices in Hartford, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. announced today that it has formed a network of strategic partnerships with some of the most respected names in political and public advocacy. Tremont’s strategic partners, including those announced today, have decades of success in polling, media relations, writing, strategic communications, political strategy, predictive analytics, paid media, direct mail and government affairs. Tremont Public Advisors develops and implements public advocacy campaigns for organizations and businesses that wish to shape the policy debate on issues that impact their bottom line.

Tremont Public Advisors’ strategic partners include:

  • Capitol Strategies Group, an experienced and respected Connecticut government affairs firm with a strong record of  producing results for its clients

  • Cooper Communications, led by Christopher G. F. Cooper, former Director of Communications and spokesman for Governor M. Jodi Rell

  • Gotham Ghostwriters, led by Dan Gerstein, a nationally recognized political writer and communications strategist, Gotham Ghostwriters is New York City’s only world class full service writing firm

  • JEF Associates, a respected polling, campaign consulting and grassroots advocacy firm

  • Knickerbocker, SKD, led by Josh Isay a senior campaign advisor to Mayor Bloomberg and former Chief of Staff to Senator Chuck Schumer, Knickerbocker SKD is one of the nation’s leading strategic and political communications firms.

  • Murtha Cullina Government Affairs Group, a leading Connecticut government affairs firm with more than fifty years of experience at the highest levels of government

  • Rapid Insight Inc, a nationally recognized leader in business intelligence software and solutions.

“Any Connecticut organization or corporation facing a difficult public policy or public affairs challenge, need look no further than Tremont Public Advisors. We have brought together an unprecedented pool of talent and expertise that can be deployed to deliver success in every facet of a public advocacy campaign. With new government regulations being proposed and enacted at a bewildering pace, Tremont and its partners can help your business effectively influence the public debate on public policy issues that impact your bottom line.” stated Matt Hennessy, Managing Director of Tremont Public Advisors.

Hennessy a respected political and public policy advisor to a number of elected leaders, has served as Chief of Staff  to Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez, as an aide to U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and as a Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee.

Tremont’s strategic partners voiced their enthusiasm for the new collaboration.

“I am excited to join this new partnership with Tremont Public Advisors.” stated Chris Cooper of Cooper Communications. “The collaboration between these talented firms will provide significant new resources for Connecticut businesses seeking to have their voices heard in the public policy debate.”

Dan Gerstein of Gotham Ghostwriters stated “This partnership meets a tremendous need in Connecticut for a firm that can provide a comprehensive and effective approach to message development and deployment. We are pleased to be working with Matt and Tremont Public Advisors in this exciting new venture.”

“JEF Associates has partnered with Matt over the years on numerous successful federal, state and local campaigns. We know this new collaboration will continue that record of success for our private sector clients.” Jim Fleming of JEF Associates stated.

“Businesses, trade associations and public policy coalitions attempting to manage complex administrative, regulatory and legislative issues will welcome the demonstrated abilities of Tremont and its strategic partners.  Their one goal is to ensure each client the right help in the right place, as quickly as possible," said David McQuade, Senior Government Affairs Consultant, Murtha Cullina LLP.

“The 2008 election demonstrated how the effective use of data mining and predictive analytics can provide a major advantage to those who employ these powerful tools.   During the 2006 Senate election, we worked with some of the team that Matt has put together to implement our predictive analytic software to model voter behavior in Connecticut.  We look forward to working with Tremont public Advisors to assist Connecticut clients in executing effective public advocacy campaigns.” stated Mike Laracy CEO of Rapid Insight Inc.


The public affairs firm Tremont Public Advisorssm  LLC with offices in Hartford, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. announced today that Matthew J. Hennessy  will lead the firm as Managing Director. Hennessy, an experienced senior government executive and respected political advisor  and strategist,  has counseled and managed numerous successful  federal and local political campaigns and candidates.  His two decades of government and political service include service as Chief of Staff to Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, as an aide to U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and as Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C..

“Tremont Public Advisors is perfectly positioned to assist corporations and organizations that wish to influence and shape the debate on public policy issues that impact their bottom line.  Tremont Public Advisors, with its partners, is the first Connecticut firm that has the unique combination and breadth of necessary skills honed in hundreds of successful campaigns to develop and execute effective and comprehensive public advocacy programs for private industry. There has been a sea change in the scope of regulation being proposed and implemented by government. Firms looking to navigate this environment need to pursue new strategies and tactics to make their voice heard.” Hennessy stated.

Today’s announcement brought praise from a number of government leaders:

"I have known Matt for twenty years and really appreciate all the smart, insightful, and effective support and counsel he has given me in matters of both public policy and politics."  United States Senator Joseph I. Lieberman stated.

Connecticut State Comptroller Nancy Wyman echoed the praise "Matt is known for getting results at all levels of government. He is an effective advocate who understands the details of the policy making process."

“Matt has a deep understanding of how the General Assembly works and knows how to shape the debate on important issues in ways that get results.”  State Representative Kelvin Roldan Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee stated.

Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez added his words of support: “Matt is one of the best political and policy strategists I know. Not only does he understand the details of the political landscape, he knows how to align public opinion with public policy to generate support for fundamental change. He has proven time and time again that he can successfully advance an agenda where many others have failed.”

Tremont Public Advisors, with its partners, provides a comprehensive suite of services to assist clients with influencing and focusing the public debate on issues that impact their bottom line.  Services include: polling, modeling of voter behavior, issue advertising, grassroots advocacy, writing, strategic communications, coalition management and government affairs.
“Tremont Public Advisors has brought to together a unique combination of leading national public affairs practitioners and deeply respected Connecticut firms to provide clients with a ‘best in class’ approach to every facet of a public advocacy campaign.  Tremont Public Advisors  provide firms and organizations facing difficult public policy challenges with the ability to nimbly deploy a broad range of effective tactics and strategies on a proper scale.  This is an exciting new approach for public affairs in our state and I am thrilled to be leading Tremont Public Advisors in this endeavor.” Hennessy stated.  Tremont will be publically announcing its strategic partners within the next thirty days.

Matt Hennessy is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government where he was a Wasserman Fellow. Matt also holds degrees from the Catholic University of America and Trinity College in Hartford.


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