At the crucial moment, between the end of the first roll call and the switching of votes, it may have come down to the fact that Dan Malloy was there and John DeStefano wasn't.
Yes, there were other factors involved. Malloy had excellent people working the floor during that pivotal time. They flew around the room speaking with wavering delegates, desperately trying to scrounge up the handful of votes they needed. And they did it. DeStefano's people picked up a vote or two, but found that the votes they did have had slipped through their fingers.
This has been a constant throughout the gubernatorial campaign: Malloy has surrounded himself with experienced people who know how to play to the media and control a room. The DeStefano campaign, by contrast, only recently began to shake off its image of being an amateur production.
Perhaps DeStefano's game of promising the lieutenant governor slot to more than one person hurt him, as well. DeStefano had made a pretense of holding a place open for Malloy (although DeStefano wouldn't consider running as Malloy's LG should Malloy win), while Mayor Scott Slifka of West Hartford was already the campaign's choice. Audrey Blondin, another hopeful, was visibly upset after apparently being told that DeStefano had not chosen her.
But when the moment came, when votes were being traded and the convention was on the line, Dan Malloy was everywhere. He was up and down the aisles, talking to delegates, even jumping on a chair at one point with a plea for more votes, a trail of cameras and reporters struggling to keep up with him.
Where was John DeStefano? His absence was notable, especially compared with Malloy's manic activity. According to several people, he had left the room to declare victory as soon as the first vote was done. Then what? The New Haven Independent reports that he was behind a closed door in preparation for his acceptance speech!
When he finally did emerge, it was only to be told that Malloy had declared victory to supporters at around 4:00. Malloy had climbed onto a chair with a bullhorn, and whipped his supporters into a frenzy. DeStefano remarked that there were still votes to be counted.
But when the count came, DeStefano had lost by four votes.
Almost as an afterthought, DeStefano introduced his running mate, Scott Slifka of West Hartford, to the remaining media people (I actually just happened to catch this on my way out the door) following Malloy's acceptance speech. By then, it was too late. Malloy had captured the day.
There will still be a primary in August. DeStefano currently has more money and the support of organized labor, but it remains to be seen whether his campaign will find themselves outhustled by Malloy again.