Activist Ken Krayeske, best known for his arrest during Gov. M. Jodi Rell's inaugural parade and for tangling with UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun over his hefty salary, is running for Congress on the Green Party slate.
Krayeske, fresh out of University of Connecticut Law School, is a candidate in the 1st Congressional District, where he faces Democratic incumbent John Larson, Republican challenger Ann Brickley and Socialist Party candidate Chris Hutchinson.
"I want to help build the Green Party,'' Krayeske said Tuesday. "I'd like to win, but I'm a realist that the odds are stacked against minor-party candidates like myself.''
Krayeske says that Larson has grown too comfortable in the seat and is more intent on maintaining his leadership position within the House Democratic caucus than in discussing issues with the voters of the 1st District.
"Larson has done most of his campaigning out of state,'' Krayeske said. "He's able to do that because it's such a safe Democratic district. But I want him here telling us how he's going to end the war in Afghanistan. ... I want him here telling us how he's going to get us out of Iraq and how he's going to get federal funds to our school districts ... and end No Child Left Behind.''
Larson's campaign manager, Chris Barnes, disputes Krayeske's characterization that Larson is so busy crisscrossing the nation for Democratic candidates that he's ignored the folks at home.
"While he does an occasional out-of-state trip, his focus is Connecticut,'' Barnes said. "We're all Connecticut, all the time.''
Barnes ticked off a list of 1st District events that Larson has attended in the past week or so: a breakfast meeting with supporters Tuesday morning, the peach festival in Manchester, a small fundraiser in Glastonbury, a taping of community access television in Granby, a tour of a Coca-Cola plant in East Hartford. "The list is really pretty extensive,'' Barnes said.
Meanwhile, Green Party spokesman Tim McKee said that the party is thrilled to have an experienced and media-savvy activist on its congressional slate, which also includes Scott Deshefy, a retired environmental scientist running in the 2nd District, and Charles Pillsbury, a lawyer and the model for Gary Trudeau's comic strip character Mike Doonesbury running in the 3rd District.
Krayeske, a former journalist and blogger who graduated from UConn law school with honors this spring, was arrested at Rell's 2007 inaugural parade while he was taking pictures; the charges were later dropped. Krayeske has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the police; the suit is pending.
Larson has a massive war chest of well over $1 million; Krayeske said he hopes to raise $15,000 — a big number for a Green Party candidate, McKee said. Krayeske also intends to mobilize college students, who have proved to be a key voting bloc in several recent elections.
Krayeske already has a campaign headquarters on Park Street in Hartford and a website. He says he wants to prove that "you don't need a million dollars to run a congressional race."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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