When Jonathan Pelto announced he was exploring a third-party run for governor, comparisons were quickly drawn to former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Critics of Pelto say he could be a spoiler for the incumbent Governor Dan Malloy this November. Nader says it's the wrong way to think about third-party candidates.
"The real spoilers are the two parties who have spoiled our systems of government," Nader said on WNPR's Where We Live. "For example, I oppose Hillary Clinton, but I would never say, 'Hillary, do not run,' because running for office is an important, constitutionally-protected, three-part use of the First Amendment: speech, assembly, and petition. So I never say to anybody, do not run; you're a spoiler."
Nader explained four hurdles facing third-party candidates:
- Ballot access
- Not being invited to debates
- Campaign finance system
- Overall attitude towards third-party candidates
Listen below to more of Nader's conversation with WNPR's John Dankosky and Colin McEnroe:
In a recent appearance on Where We Live, Pelto expressed a similar sentiment. He said it's "offensive" that people immediately criticize third party candidates as spoilers.
"Part of the democratic system that we have is that people should be able to get onto the ballot," Pelto said. During Where We Live, several callers tried to dissuade him from running. "Please don't do it," said one.
The comments didn't affect Pelto's decision to formally explore a run for governor. He has since formed an exploratory committee.
Listen below to more of Pelto's comments from the show:
A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Malloy tied with Republican frontrunner Tom Foley. The poll was conducted before Pelto's name entered the discussion.