Poll shows promise for Herbst campaign

With primaries over, and the focus on November, Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst said he is in fighting shape for his state treasurer campaign, in more ways than one.

Herbst, a Republican will face off with 16-year incumbent Denise Nappier in the November election.

A recent poll of 440 registered voters in Connecticut shows some promise for the third-term first selectman. Gravis Marketing, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research firm, based in Florida, conducted a poll on Connecticut state and federal elections, using Internet panels and traditional telephone responses.

A question on the state treasurer race asked voters “If the election for Treasurer were held today and the candidates were Republican Tim Herbst, Democrat Denise Nappier and Green Rolf Maurer, whom would you vote for?

In the poll, Nappier received 39% of the vote, and Herbst had 28%. About 25% of voters said they were unsure.

“These poll numbers are incredibly encouraging,” Herbst’s Campaign Manager JR Romano said on TimforConnecticut.com. “Denise Nappier has run for statewide office in four elections and is the longest serving constitutional officer, yet she cannot break the 40% threshold. Once Tim Herbst takes to the airwaves making his case for a positive vision of reform, we know that this race will continue to tighten as voters seek new leaders who will turn Connecticut around.”

Herbst told The Times that the poll is encouraging but he doesn’t put too much faith in it.

“Denise Nappier has been on the ballot in four statewide elections and I have never run for office outside of the Town of Trumbull,” he said. “While we have qualified for our grant under the Citizens Election Program, we have not even begun to go up on television or send out direct mail to make our case to the voters.

“The general rule is when an incumbent’s re-election number is below 40% this is usually a sign that the incumbent is in trouble. This is a feeling of déjà vu for me, as I saw the same type of poll five years ago when I was running against another incumbent, Ray Baldwin,” he said of the former Democratic first selectman. “Ray had a 38-32 lead on me early in the campaign, but the pollsters told me that whenever an incumbent is below 40, they have problems. We ended up winning that race by a solid margin.”

Voters aren’t happy with Nappier’s performance, Herbst said,

“We have one of the most underfunded pensions systems in the country and the highest levels of debt per person of any state in the nation,” he said. “Connecticut residents feel this every day with an expensive cost of living that supports excessive borrowing, out-of-control spending and unfunded liabilities that are paid for with ever-increasing state taxes.”

Campaign shape

Herbst said that long hours of campaigning have made him more disciplined and he’s lost about 20 pounds.

“I start most mornings with a 6 a.m. workout and start with my first selectman duties around 7:15 a.m., usually catching up on emails and phone calls with department heads and constituents,” he said. “I’m usually at the office until 6 p.m. and when I don’t have an evening meeting in Trumbull I’m out on the campaign trail till 11 at night, sometimes even longer.”

He said it can be challenging schedule but is rewarding to see tremendous opportunity throughout the state.

“The people of our state, Democrats, Republicans and independents, are gravely concerned about the direction our state is heading in and if I can do something to help right our ship of state and be part of a productive dialogue to get Connecticut back on track, I welcome the opportunity,” he said.