Lieutenant governor foes “call” each other out

In a race filled with fireworks, this is the grand finale.

Heather Bond Somers and Dave Walker, vying for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, are calling each other out in the final day of what has been a bitter primary race with dueling robo calls.

Looking to cast doubts about Walker’s Republican DNA with primary voters, Somers turned to former state Sen. and conservative firebrand Tom Scott for an 11th-hour robo call that attempts to lump Walker in with GOP defector and former Gov. Lowell Weicker Jr.

“Lowell Weicker is once again trashing the Republican Party,” Scott said in the call. “Now his pal Dave Walker is running for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary. Walker teamed up with Weicker to lecture Republicans about how to govern our state. This is from the man who gave us the income tax.”

Scott warned Republicans on the receiving end of the robo call that it was the lieutenant governor who cast the tie-breaking vote when Connecticut instituted the state income tax under Weicker.

“Dave Walker, a career Washington bureaucrat, recently moved to Connecticut and switched parties to run for office,” Scott said. “Dave Walker has publicly advocated for tax hikes.  Now he asks Republicans to trust him to be a heartbeat away from the governor.”

Walker, the U.S. comptroller general under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, condemned the ad in an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Monday.

“It’s filled with lies,” said Walker, a Bridgeport resident.

Walker said he never met Weicker until he moved to Connecticut in 2009 and that the two have had limited engagement, participating in a July 2011 No Labels Connecticut forum in Hartford where they were on separate panels.

A rebuttal robo call is expected to go out this evening from Walker, who contends that he first became a Republican in 1976 and then switched to unaffiliated status while he was comptroller general.

Walker and Somers, a Groton town council member and former mayor, are competing against state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, R-Stafford Springs, the party’s endorsed candidate, for the nomination.

“I was a Republican before Heather and Penny were eligible to vote,” Walker said.

Walker disputed that he has supported tax increases, saying that during a NPR interview he once warned that taxes would go up if the nation did not address the insolvency of its entitlement programs.

“That doesn’t mean I’m advocating it. It’s just simple math,” Walker said. “It’s a desperation attempt by someone who’s in third place.”

Neil Vigdor