Courant sports columnist Jeff Jacobs caught up with Ken Krayeske, the Green Party Congressional candidate and thorn in Jim Calhoun's side.
Here's an excerpt from Jacobs' Saturday column:
Ken Krayeske didn't spend a dime on his provocative internet campaign ad.
Not a dime, to quote the coach who berated Krayeske, the one who is featured in the ad, the one who spent Friday facing the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
"That ad," Krayeske said, "cost me zero dollars."
Activist, journalist, candidate, our state's biggest pain in the ass, Krayeske isn't going to win the House of Representatives election in the first district. He knows that.
"As a third party candidate I understand my chances of winning are very limited," Krayeske said. "But I want to use my candidacy to put ideas out into the public debate. And to me the wealth gap facing our country I think is disastrous to self-government.
"Linda McMahon makes $46 million a year. She can take half a year's salary and attempt to buy a senate seat. It sucks all the oxygen out of the room. I wanted to attempt to breathe some oxygen back into the room."
Of course when Krayeske breathes oxygen back into the room the results sometimes can be like the movie "Backdraft." Witness parts of the famous 2009 postgame exchange with UConn coach Jim Calhoun that Krayeske said he has used to deliver his larger message:
"Millionaires like Jim Calhoun are one percent of America's population, but control 42 percent of America's wealth."
In the ad are snippets of Calhoun asking Krayeske, "You're not that stupid are you?" And, "My best advice to you? Shut up." The exchange that day started when Krayeske, a Green Party candidate, asked Calhoun about giving up a percentage of his salary because of the state's financial crisis and Calhoun answered, "Not a dime back."
The original thought for the ad, Krayeske said, came from his father Jim.
"He's a retired football coach," he said. "I never saw him as a political consultant. He said you have an opportunity to use [the 2009 footage] and talk back.
"I knew I couldn't use it as it was because it would be gratuitous just to attack Calhoun. I went on opensecrets.org. I saw Calhoun was donating to John Larson [Jim and Pat donated $500 in 2009] and I said, 'OK, we have a connection.' ''
That connection, Krayeske asserts in the ad is, "Millionaires like Jim Calhoun donate to Congressional leaders like [incumbent] John Larson, whose policies have helped create the largest gap between the rich and poor in a century."
What you won't see is the ad appearing on television.
"I can't afford it," Krayeske said. "Four years ago, it was like $3,300 for 30 seconds on Channel 30. I can't imagine the prices have gone down."
He said his campaign has raised about $7,500 with about $2,000 remaining its treasury.
To eliminate cost, Krayeske took his own photos of Calhoun appearing at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, the yacht and the homeless men. He didn't have to pay any royalties. He borrowed a video camera from a friend to do the shot from the Supreme Court steps. Another friend put the commercial together for him. Didn't cost him a dime.
"The college basketball audience is massive, national and when ESPN.com puts my commercial on its blog -- about the one percent having 42 percent of the wealth -- this campaign is achieving its goals," Krayeske said.
One of the criticisms of the commercial -- among Calhoun supporters there is no shortage of criticism -- is the suggestion that Calhoun owns the pictured yacht.
"He doesn't own the yacht," Krayeske said, "but he does have a really nice beach house in Madison that's worth a million-plus. I didn't think it was appropriate or fair to put up a picture of his beach house. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to respect the man's privacy."
Read Jeff Jacobs' full column on this subject in the Saturday Courant
Jacobs: Ken Krayeske, Green Party Congressional Candidate And Thorn In Jim Calhoun's Side
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