Secretary of the State Denise Merrill slams Tom Foley’s wacky suburban humor describing Bridgeport voter officials as complicit to fraud

tom1In the days after the 2010 gubernatorial election, when Bridgeport’s votes were finally counted amid a voter tidal wave generated by President Barack Obama’s appearance and a gross shortage of ballots for the city’s optical scanners, Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich declined a legal challenge to the tight, 6,404 loss to Democrat Dan Malloy. There wasn’t enough evidence of fraud, he admitted.

That didn’t stop him from attempting a joke at the city’s expense Monday night, during a GOP candidates’ forum in Fairfield that was sparsely attended by both Republicans and the media. Still, Hearst Connecticut Media was there to record and report. Here’s the run up and the quip in boldface italics:

“I’m a family man. I have a beautiful wife. I have two-and-a-half-year-old twins. It’s children that really make me the most-concerned and interested in running for office and leading this great state. I want to make sure that the future that we leave for our children is at least as good as the one that our parents left for us. I’ve been working on this race for a long time. We came very close in 2010 and I am very grateful for the support in this community. I’ve been working so hard actually, trying to find votes that I took my two-and-a-half-year-old twins down to Bridgeport last week and tried to register them to vote. I went up to the registrar’s desk and I was a little concerned. They’re not very big you know…She looked at them and said ‘boy, they’re pretty young. How old were they?’ I said two-and-a-half. She said ‘fine. So would you like to have four votes or eight votes?’ I said what’s the difference? She said ‘one hundred dollars….’  

So Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s top election official read this earlier in the day and sent a reaction: “Though he may have intended his comments as a joke, it is definitely not funny,” Merrill said in an email. “It is, however, an example of Tom Foley once again irresponsibly throwing out accusations without as much as a shred of proof. Comments like these have the potential to undermine public confidence in our election system, particularly at a time when we have done so much to improve voting and strengthening the integrity of our elections.”

At 6 p.m., Democratic State Chairman Nancy DiNardo piles on: “Not sure what’s more humorous, the fact that Tom Foley says he’ll appeal to voters in Connecticut cities when he’s against the state’s increase to the minimum wage, is actively courting the gun lobby, and even supported the Tea Party’s government shutdown… Or the fact that he repeatedly knocks Connecticut’s largest city in one breath, and then in the next says he’ll be the cities’ candidate.”