Malloy's victory tour rolls into New London

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, laughs as Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, not pictured, cracks a joke during a meeting Monday with supporters and other members of the community at Muddy Waters Café in New London.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, laughs as Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, not pictured, cracks a joke during a meeting Monday with supporters and other members of the community at Muddy Waters Café in New London.

New London - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman launched a thank-you tour around Connecticut Monday night by visiting a packed Muddy Waters Cafe to acknowledge the people who helped bring them to victory in last month's election - by a more comfortable margin than in 2010, when Democrats also held a celebration at the downtown restaurant.

"That was a close election," Malloy said of the 2010 campaign, when he won by only about 6,400 votes.

"This one was a landslide," he smiled, though the 25,000-vote victory this year was only about 2 percentage points ahead of repeat Republican challenger Tom Foley's total.

Malloy said in a brief interview on Bank Street as he attempted to visit a shuttered Berry's Ice Cream & Candy Bar that he didn't take the 2nd Congressional District this time around, but he did significantly better than in 2010, particularly in Groton, New London, Norwich and Montville.

"You did it, you accomplished it," he told about 150 supporters at the rally. "This is your victory. ... We felt you all would bring this home for us."

Malloy ascribed his victory to being "clear about who we were and who we were working for" - working men and women throughout the state - and said Connecticut's decision to raise the minimum wage and roll out the Affordable Care Act in a nationally recognized transition helped put him over the top.

"We're very flattered that you came down to Muddy Waters," restaurant co-owner Barry Neistat said to Malloy in front of about 150 invited guests. "We hope you feel comfortable here."

"If he hadn't stopped here, he wouldn't have won," said Lt. Gov. Wyman. "Muddy Waters is part of our home."

The restaurant isn't normally open so late at night, but Neistat and wife Susan Devlin received a request from the governor's office to host the celebration.

Among the guests were Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and his announced challenger City Councilor Michael Passero, both Democrats. Groton Mayor Marian Galbraith, Montville Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel, state Reps. Ernie Hewett, Kevin Ryan and Elissa Wright and state Sen. Catherine Osten were among the Democrats on hand, while state Sen.-elect Paul Formica appeared to be the only Republican official in the room, and was congratulated by New London Democratic Town Chairman Bill Satti on his victory.

Malloy was more than a half hour late to the 5:30 p.m. event, but elicited a big cheer as he walked in the door. The governor shook nearly every hand in the place as he made his way through the cramped quarters.

"Remember the Public Library of New London," said Daneen Roth, president of the library's board of trustees, as she greeted Malloy.

"I like libraries," he shot back.

Though Malloy declined an opportunity to discuss his economic-development initiatives for the coming term, Wyman assured the crowd that he would continue to fight for the best interests of Connecticut.

"With the help of the legislature, we can get thing done," she said. "We're going to accomplish more and more for the state of Connecticut because of the guy you elected governor."

"Eastern Connecticut is important to him," Sen. Osten, who is also Democratic first selectman of Sprague, said as she left the rally. "It's like his second home."

l.howard@theday.com

Twitter: @ KingstonLeeHow

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