Eyewitness News has learned embattled Mayor Eddie Perez will endorse Ned Lamont in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. A source close to the mayor told us Perez will pledge his support as a delegate to Lamont.
When I contacted the Lamont campaign they told me to their knowledge Perez was still uncommitted. When I asked if they would welcome the endorsement of Mayor Perez, campaign spokesman Justine Sessions had this to say:
“Ned’s proud of the support he’s received from leaders across the state – Mayor Finch, Mayor DeStefano, and First Selectman Marconi, among others. He welcomes the support of all Connecticut voters.”
Hmmm. No mention of Perez. All of the campaigns routinely send us press releases crowing about their endorsements. It is standard procedure. It will be interesting to see if the Lamont campaign issues a statement thanking a defendant in a corruption case for his support.
The Lamont campaign is in a difficult position, as is the entire state Democratic party. Pay close attention to the convention this weekend at the Connecticut Expo Center. It is tradition that the host mayor goes to the dais and welcomes the delegates to his city. Mayor Perez has done this at past conventions. Does the party want him up there this year? Will party leaders pose with him for pictures? Remember in 2004 when then Governor Rowland was accused of corruption how his fellow party members ran the other way?
I can tell you Ned Lamont is a smart, savvy politician who will make sure he is not photographed with Mayor Perez. It is one of the lessons he learned from 2006. He knows if Perez is found guilty, Lamont’s opponents would love to use a picture of him with a convicted felon, sort of the way he used a picture of Senator Joe Lieberman and then President George Bush.