Malloy on Newton, Rowland

May 22, 2012

In Bridgeport, Democrats have endorsed Ernest Newton for the state Senate seat he was forced to give up after being convicted of corruption charges. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Governor Dannel Malloy refused to endorse anyone in the race -- including the man who recently left prison. Newton spent 17 years in the legislature before serving a five-year term after pleading guilty in 2005 to accepting a $5,000 bribe, using campaign contributions for personal expenses and failing to report the improper income on his federal tax return.  He has apologized to his supporters and says he has paid a heavy price for his mistakes. In a press conference, the governor didn't endorse Newton or one of his challengers -- but he did say he believes in redemption.  "I've long been an advocate of a second-chance society, as a prosecutor, as a governor, as a mayor, I've advocated for second chances.  But ultimately, in the political arena, that's a decision for the public to make." Malloy also apparently made a reference to former Governor John Rowland, another felon who is back in the public arena with a radio talk show.  Newton, he said, isn't Rowland. "He's not on the radio with a radio show." That comment got some laughs from the press corps.  It also got a request for clarification. "You know, the thing about a radio show, is that you can decide not to listen -- which I can assure you I do." Both of Ernest Newton's opponents -- including incumbent Edwin Gomes -- have said they'll stay in the race. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.