Connecticut Politics Today

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been receiving all kinds of comments about the Democratic races shaping up in Connecticut this year. The announcements by Dodd and Blumenthal yesterday changed the dynamics a lot. With that let me review who the players are, my relationship to some of them, and share some thoughts about what things might look like in the coming days.

The Governor’s Race

Currently, there are seven Democrats that have declared an interest in running for Governor, Jim Amann, Susan Bysiewicz, Mary Glassman, Ned Lamont, Gary LeBeau, Dan Malloy and Rudy Marconi. Prior to moving to Woodbridge, we lived in Stamford, and we got to know Dan Malloy quite well. In 2005, I was asked to work on John DeStefano’s campaign, and much to the chagrin of my Stamford friends, I took the job. I stay friends with Mayor Malloy, and to the chagrin of my friends on the DeStefano campaign, lobbied hard against Mayor DeStefano attacking Mayor Malloy. I believed we would be best served saving our attacks for the Republicans. Back in December, Mayor Malloy called into Fiona’s Radio Show to talk about his possible Gubernatorial bid. On January 17th, Rudy Marconi is scheduled to call into Fiona’s show.

I should also mention that my wife and I both worked for Ned Lamont’s Senate bid in 2006. I was the technology coordinator and my wife was Ned’s scheduler.

The Citizen’s Election Program

Now, my wife is a Senior Organizer for Common Cause in Connecticut. One of their key issues has been the Citizen’s Election Program. Last year, during budget mitigation talks, she was constantly urging people to protect the funds in the program. While there might have been enough funds for a small election, what would happen if there ended up being seven candidates for governor on one ticket, and a few on the Republican ticket, as well as a couple wealthy candidates opting out of the system? Compound this with competitive races for Attorney General and Secretary of State. Some thought that this was a ridiculous scenario, but it is the situation we find ourselves in at the moment.

With this, and the current lawsuit about the Citizen’s Election Program, CEP has become an interesting issue in the Democratic Gubernatorial campaign. Rudy Marconi started off with a brilliant YouTube ad

This was followed up by a press release by Dan Malloy urging Ned Lamont to support public financing in the Democratic Primary for Governor

Taking it one step further, the Bysiewicz exploratory committee, Friends of Susan 2010, filed an amicus curiae brief in the lawsuit filed by Connecticut’s Green and Libertarian Parties.

Oral arguments will be heard at the Second Circuit in Manhattan next Wednesday.

The Other Races

With Secretary of State Bysiewicz currently running for Governor, her seat is now open and there are currently four candidates vying for that position, Gerry Garcia, West Harford State Senator and Chief Assistant Majority Leader Jonathon Harris, Mansfield State Representative and House Majority Leader Denise Merrill and State Representative and co-chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee
Jamie Spalone from Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

Now, with Attorney General Blumenthal running for Attorney General, that race is opening up. State Representative David McCluskey mentioned on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio yesterday that State Senator Jonathon Harris may be considering running for Attorney General now, instead of Secretary of State. In addition, some have speculated that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz might be considering a similar move. The New Haven Independent reports that former Democratic Party Leader George Jepsen declared his intentions to run for Attorney General soon after Attorney General Blumenthal’s announcement.

What now?

So, where do things go from here? Well, Rudy Marconi will be a guest on Fiona’s radio show on the 17th. Any other candidate that wishes to call in should contact me and I’ll try to arrange a time. In addition, Kim and I have discussed the idea of a public, open scheduling system. There are many opportunities for the candidates to go out and meet the voters in Connecticut. DFA, OFA, the Shoreline Progressive Forum, the Shoreline League of Democratic Women and other groups meet regularly and would be glad to hear from candidates. On the 14th, there will be a ‘Jubilee Action Party’ at The School Sisters of Notre Dame in Wilton, where activists focused on third world debt will be meeting. While third world debt is not an issue that most of the candidates will need to grapple with, a brief appearance is a good way of reaching out to activists. Other events coming up, like the 20th annual Hebron Maple Festival on March 13th and 14th should be on every candidate’s schedule.

2010 is shaping up to be an exciting year for electoral politics in Connecticut. Hopefully, with the Citizen’s Election Program, we will see a greater level of involvement in clean elections. So, how are you going to be involved?

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