Dunne rolls up sleeves for tough fight with Duff

Norwalk Republican Bill Dunne receives applause after getting the nomination to take on state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) Monday at the Norwalk Inn.
Norwalk Republican Bill Dunne receives applause after getting the nomination to take on state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) Monday at the Norwalk Inn.

NORWALK, Conn. – Bill Dunne invoked the wisdom of the “great political scientist Groucho Marx” Monday night as he accepted the Republican nomination to attempt to unseat entrenched five-term state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25).

“’Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding trouble everywhere, misdiagnosing the problem and applying the wrong remedies,’” Dunne quoted Marx as saying. “So I thought that was a funny thing to read just before this meeting – made me wonder why Pete Torrano thought I was the perfect guy for this mission. But it is what it is.”

Dunne said the “clincher” after he got over the shock of being asked to run about a month ago was the likelihood that Duff will become Senate majority leader if he wins re-election, which he would obviously do if no one runs against him.

“Think about that,” he said to a room crowded with about 20 Republicans, who seemed united in the belief that Duff says one thing to Norwalk and Darien, then goes to the statehouse to do the bidding of state leadership, to the detriment of the locals.

This, on top of the terrible state the state is in, they said.

“The palpable feelings of concern on the part of our citizens for their future, for their families’ future, and to the future of our state have never, and I mean never, been more in the forefront than at this very moment,” said Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano. “Our citizens, at least those of us who have not left the state and stay hoping for better from our government, are seeking change, seeking a better direction and demanding accountability from our elected leaders.”

Duff has betrayed his constituents, Torrano said.

“One of those leaders who has consistently voted with the Hartford Democrats against the wishes and demands of his constituency is Bob Duff. Bob has voted in the past for the largest tax increase in history and most recently voted for a budget that, at best, can be called a fantasy budget put together with smoke and mirrors and not just a little bit of magic,” he said.

Darien Republican Town Committee member and 25th District State Central member Laurie Williamson seconded the nomination, acknowledging that the battle to replace the five-time incumbent Duff will be tough.

“When I asked Bill this afternoon why, really, he thought that he would be committed to take on a very uphill challenge like this, he without hesitation responded that he is very much a believer in grass roots participation and not being an observer, that he is a longtime student of economics and he sees the freedom of markets as the greatest engine to assist working families to improve themselves and to exceed any boundaries of poverty” she said. “He continued, again without hesitation, that he believes firmly in smaller and more efficient and effective government, with a preference for local control wherever possible, and that, if elected, he will work very hard to roll back the pernicious regulations that have been strangling job growth in our area.”

“Some people seem to think he’s got some magical grip on that seat,” Dunne said. “No, he does not. In my opinion it’s been just a combination of luck and a real talent for not letting his constituents in on what he’s really doing up there in Hartford, when he’s doing anything at all.”

Dunne’s “uphill battle” begins with the need to raise $15,000 in donations that do not exceed $100 in order to qualify for a $94,690 state grant through the Citizens Election Program.  Campaign treasurer Ellen Wink will form a committee to begin accepting checks, 25th District State Central member Art Scialabba said.

Dunne pointed out that there were 175 days to the election. His campaign manager, Peter Nolin, said Dunne would overcome the late start with “hard work” and “the right message.”

Dunne said he regarded Nolin as the “Karl Rove of Norwalk.” He also said “goombah” David McCarthy will help with social media and a website. The campaign will be run by volunteers, and has the benefit of the “wisdom” of state Rep. Gail Lavielle and outgoing state Rep. Larry Cafero, he said.

Dunne began by criticizing Duff for voting to spend $600 million on a 10-mile “bus highway,” and to spend “$600 million on a new train line between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.”

“Those are just two of many such votes,” Dunne said. “Much of that money, of course, comes from us here in Norwalk and Darien, and he cast those votes even as the state is careening towards another humungous budget deficit. Why? Well, that’s apparently just the way Dan Malloy and his party leaders told him to vote. That’s why I think the voters here will not look kindly on another term for Mr. Duff. He has a record. The record clearly shows that his primary allegiance is not to the people of Darien and Norwalk. His primary allegiance is to his party’s leadership in Hartford. We know too well what they want — higher taxes, more spending and growing the size of the state government at the expense of local governments, all to the detriment of a healthy economy and private sector jobs.

So my campaign will make sure that voters are reminded again and again that Bob Duff is part of the explanation for that astonishing new Gallup poll we saw recently,” Dunne said, “that suggested that half the people in the state would just as soon move to some other state.”


8 responses to “Dunne rolls up sleeves for tough fight with Duff”

  1. anonymous

    Go for it Bill Dunne.

    Think about how Norwalk gets shafted by Hartford, and the Hartford pols want Duff for majority leader? That is an indictment. Norwalk gets Duff’s photo ops, Hartford gets his votes.

  2. Norewalk Lifer

    goombah? enough

  3. EDR

    It is urban slang derived from a southern Italian dialect that generally translates to my old wise friend – a BFF as it were- enough already. Mr. Dunne will make this interesting because he gets it. For the second day in a row I am standing on a train platform with a delayed tran yet again because not only are Senator Duff and his colleagues sucking tax dollars at a high rate out of our region they pay lip service to keeping the trains running properly. Instead they fund boondoggles like bus and tran service no one is gong to use anyway because of the lovely interstates in that part f the state. You remember our commuter trains?They are the very thing that sends tens of thousands of commuters into NYC everyday to their high paying jobs to be heavily taxed to pay for stuff that we get little benefit for so we have to have even higher local taxes. For once I wish we would have someone in Hartford that we elect represent us. Just saying

  4. EveT

    The national average is 33% who’d like to move to another state. So what? Even in Hawaii, 23% would like to move to another state. The poll results, along with a map, are available here

  5. Oyster

    This is hysterical. Attacks from the left and the right. Sen. Duff, keep right on doing the great job you are doing. The people of Norwalk and Darien know better than to listen to naysayers.

  6. LWitherspoon

    @Bill Dunne
    If elected, will you promise to tweet I-95 traffic updates and weekend weather forecasts, as Sen. Duff (or more likely his staff) currently do? I could not live without a State Senator who does not tweet this important information, indeed it may be the most valuable service we receive from the good Senator.

  7. Piberman

    Since Senator Duff consistently and enthusiastically endorsed the Governors’ tax and spend policies that have CT low Norwalk voters will have an alternative to stemming CT’s unprecedented decline in jobs, firms and people. The Duff Dunne contest may well be a vote on the Governors’ policies and rule of the Democratic super-majority that have labelled CT as the national poster child for fiscal mismanagement. Then again this is a City no stranger to fiscal mismanagement happily giving its employees the highest salaries of any city in CT and just as happily paying the punitive taxes funding those hefty salaries. So it could be interesting. Norwalk voters might actually vote for continuing fiscal mismanagement with Mr Duff. Norwalk and CT together and inseparable. Count on Mr Dunne to be a feisty opponent. He brings a sharp intelligence and deep knowledge of state economic and fiscal affairs to the table.

  8. Oldtimer

    The Bill Dunnes of politics love to cite this poll, however, they never quote this line from it. “In most states, it is not possible to view these answers because there are TOO FEW RESPONDENTS, but in each of the 11 states with the highest percentages wanting to leave, roughly 100 answered the question” With Connecticut’s population and this small a sample of people answering questions about likely to move, where CT tied for 12th place, the poll has little or no statistical value.

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