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Ganim Attacks Lamont Over Restrictive Club Membership

Jessica Hill
Democratic candidates for governor Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, right, debates with Ned Lamont in a Democratic gubernatorial primary in New Haven last week. Lamont is the party's endorsed candidate, while Ganim petitioned his way onto the ballot.

The Connecticut Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for governor, Ned Lamont, is once again having to deal with an issue that first came up in 2006 during his unsuccessful campaign to unseat former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. The issue was raised at a Democratic gubernatorial forum at the Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven Sunday.

At issue is the fact that Lamont, a wealthy businessman, had for 16 years belonged to an exclusive all-white country club in his hometown of Greenwich. Questioned about that at the New Haven forum, Lamont said he had dropped his membership in the club in 2006 because he had not wanted the club’s lack of diversity to be a distraction in his campaign to unseat Lieberman.

Following Sunday’s forum, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, Lamont’s opponent in the upcoming August 14th Democratic Party primary, pounced on Lamont’s answer.

“Why for decades did you belong to and pay dues to an exclusive all-white country club in Greenwich? And only when it became a distraction for your campaign in 2006 did you exit that club? So this shows an insensitivity in my view and it was raised before and it’s being raised again.”

When asked about that, Lamont gave this response.

“He’s bringing up 15-year-old stories. He never talks about where he wants to take the state of Connecticut. He talks constantly about himself or attacks on me. I think it’s time he talks about where he wants to take the state of Connecticut.”

Ganim, the only major party gubernatorial candidate yet to run a television ad, appears to be trying to use every campaign appearance to push the argument that Lamont is out of touch with the Connecticut Democratic Party primary voter. It’s yet to be seen how successful that will be.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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