House Speaker Chris Donovan has granted his first extended interview since the scandal broke that surrounds his campaign for congress in CT-5. Donovan came to WFSB for a taping of “Face the State,” which yesterday on Channel 3.
The interview came together quickly early Thursday evening, and was booked just a few minutes before I entered the studio for Eyewitness News at 5. Two reporters were at the station for the taping, Rick Green of the Hartford Courant, and Matt DeRienzo of the Torrington Register Citizen. Both had been booked in advance for a segment about the 5th district race and the Donovan controversy, and in response to the change in the the guest list, they then analyzed what Donovan said to say during his Face the State interview.
We knew going into the interview not to expect any new details about the federal investigation. Donovan has made it clear that he can’t talk about the investigation, a point he repeated during our conversation.
During our 15 minute interview I asked Donovan about his campaign operation, and how he is dealing with the pressure of a federal investigation. We talked about his involvement in the day to day operations of the campaign, and what has changed since his finance director was arrested by the feds. He responded to charges he is an incompetent manager, and how he could not have known something was up considering the campaign staff is so small.
DH: How involved are you in the day to day management of the campaign?
CD: I have a campaign manager. My job is to go out and meet the people.
Donovan told me he first learned about the federal investigation on television. I asked him who was the first person he called after hearing the news, but he declined to answer.
Donovan was also asked about Governor Dan Malloy and Congressman Chris Murphy. The two did not endorse him, even though he has been one of the most powerful people in government for years. He suggested it is because one of his opponents, Elizabeth Esty, is married to the commissioner of the DEEP. Donovan said since the scandal broke, he has heard from the governor, but not Murphy. The Speaker then quoted Harry Truman, by saying “if you want a friend, get a dog.” Two WFSB producers who watched the taping, felt that was a swipe at the man Donovan hopes to succeed.
Donovan talked at length about the support he has received from voters, even pulling out a letter from a constituent. He said he will win the primary and bristled when I asked what would happen if he should get arrested.
You can watch the entire interview right here:
Analysis from DeRienzo and Green here:
Read Matt DeRienzo’s report here:
Rick Green’s here:
Christine Stuart’s here: