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Sunday, August 1, 2010

08/01/10 CT PRIMARY CANDIDATE ROUNDUPS: State Comptroller

Photo: Kevin Lembo On The Campaign trail

Lembo And Jarjura Battle In The Democratic State Comptroller Primary

A week from Tuesday, Aug. 10, registered Democrats will go to the polls to narrow the field in a number of contested races, but even after that, there are so many contenders in so many races that it's really hard to keep track.

People shouldn't complain about their elected representatives if they don't at least cast an educated ballot first.

Do a little homework first. Visit the candidates' websites and study their positions on issues that you care about.

The battle to be comptroller, is very important given the state's nearly $3 billion deficit.

Many wonder why this seat is contested in such hard times. One would think that it would be more fun to be the money person when the state is flush rather than broke. But this hasn't deterred Democrats Kevin Lembo and Michael Jarjura from battling for the democratic nod.

The winner of that race will face Republican Jack Orchulli and Green candidate Colin Bennett.

Democrat Kevin Lembo, who served as assistant state comptroller to Nancy Wyman, is the party-endorsed candidate running against Michael Jarjura for the state comptroller seat.

Lembo is nationally recognized for his expertise in
health care systems and consumer protection, according to his campaign website. He currently leads the Office of the Healthcare Advocate for the state. He lives in Guilford with his wife; they have three children.

Today the Harwinton Democratic Town Committee is hosting a meet and greet so voters can meet candidates. The event will be held at the Harwinton Senior Center, 209 Weingart Road, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Mr. Lembo has confirmed that he will attend.

Mike Jarjura is the mayor of Waterbury. He worked as a state representative in the 1990s and as an assistant
attorney general. He has a B.S. in management from Post College and a J.D. from the University of Bridgeport School of Law.

This weekenday, with Waterbury Mayor Jarjura was on the ropes after Lembo came out with three body blows.

First, a YouTube video surfaced of the Democrat speaking at a Tea Party rally.

"We needed a spark, and you're the spark that is going to be the change. So don't give up. Don't get discouraged because this country is worth fighting for and you're fighting for it," Jarjura said at the rally in Waterbury last September.

Jarjura, a Democrat, defended his attendance at the ultra-conservative rally.

Jarjura claimed he was there at the request of Waterbury citizens and he wasn't there to advocate for any political group," he said. "Every one is trying to do a 'gotcha' in these campaigns and manipulate things to something you don't even represent."

Lembo isn't buying it.

"It's an odd choice for a Democratic mayor to be attending a Tea Party rally," he told the press.

The second blow to Jarjura's campaign was the Waterbury teachers union endorsing Lembo, following the lead one week ago of the local police union.

Jarjura's response: it's backlash from the tough contract negotiations between the city and the unions as a result of the tight economy.

Finally, Lembo launched a television advertisement attacking Jarjura for hiring former Gov. John Rowland, a Republican forced to resign by a corruption scandal.

"Jarjura hired Rowland to a $100,000 dollar a year job after he got out of prison -- calling him the best governor Connecticut has ever had," the 30-second advertisement says.

Jarjura backed the hiring of John Rowland, the disgraced former Republican governor, in an economic development job partly funded with city money.

Jarjura has responded with mailings touting his negative web site, called Lembo Lies, and filed a lawsuit attempting to block Lembo's ability to spend public financing money.

Jarjura's mailer to registered Democrats, accusing Lembo of being a secret conservative. The mailer directed Democrats to a web site created by Jarjura's campaign.

“Some of my opponents’ claims are just bizarre. But let me be clear – I have never ever lied to the people of Connecticut or distorted my record," Lembo said.

The Lembo campaign responded by saying that Jarjura is a cultural conservative who opposes abortion rights.

A Superior Court judge Tuesday rejected Michael Jarjura's effort to block Kevin Lembo from using public financing in their Democratic contest for state comptroller.

The terse order by Judge James T. Graham frees Lembo to begin spending the $375,000 awarded to him last week for his Aug. 10 primary with Jarjura, the mayor of Waterbury.

Jarjura, who also has received $375,000 in public financing.

This legal challenge is the second of two attempts by Jarjura to deny public financing to Lembo.

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