We’re 18 months from a potential Democratic gubernatorial primary featuring Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and former House Speaker, Bridgeport native, Jimmy Amann who will officially announce his candidacy tonight at the Klein.
Do you have a horse? Or would you rather saddle up with someone else? The latest poll by Quinnipiac shows Republican Governor Jodi Rell in solid shape with the electorate despite the economic madness. Jodi is the Tooth Fairy of state politics. A little whiskey on those gums and all is forgiven. (For now.)
Speaking of the governor she was in Bridgeport today encouraging Mayor Bill Finch to support her budget. Dealing with a super majority Democratic legislature has the governor reaching out to Democratic municipal leaders that support her call for eliminating unfunded state mandates. Finch said all the right things today at his press event with the governor. Never hurts to have a decent relationship with the state’s chief executive.
Right now SuBy’s polling numbers match up the best against Rell because of her name recognition. She’s also a relentless campaigner who’s not afraid to kick an opponent in the groin.
The poll’s results revealed miserable news for Senator Chris Dodd. Voters think he’s doing a sucky job. He gets a mortgage deal while they’re trying to hold on to their house. But you cannot beat someone with nothing, can you? So, what GOP candidate will step up to challenge Connecticut’s senior senator?
Chris Shays could give him a run, but the former Republican Congressman, who’s not a man of wealth, is up to his eyes trying to raise money to retire a $200K campaign debt caused, he says, by his former campaign manager’s personal spending habits.
A candidate to give Dodd a run must be out there soon raising money and moving around the state because Dodd, by virtue of his banking chairmanship, will have a major fundraising advantage. So, has Dodd shit the bed, or will you give him another chance?
My friend Marsha Pitera took the stand in her own defense on Tuesday in what I believe is an over-the-top government prosecution. I was not in the courtroom Tuesday, but relatives and friends who were there say CT Post reporter Dan Tepfer has a strong account of what occurred:
Pitera denies driving drunk
By DANIEL TEPFER
Posted: 02/10/2009 04:42:15 PM EST
BRIDGEPORT — Sobbing into a crumpled tissue, Marsha Pitera told a Superior Court jury Tuesday she wasn’t driving drunk when her sports-utility vehicle crashed head on into a van on Main Street in Stratford a year and a half ago, killing two of her three young children.
That drunk-driving charge was also called into question by a forensic pathologist, testifying for the defense earlier in the day, who said that Bridgeport Hospital employees may have made a mistake in determining that Pitera’s blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.
The 38-year-old Shelton woman went on to testify that the crash occurred as she was desperately trying to rebuckle her 9-year-old son’s unfastened seatbelt.
“I prayed so hard that I could change it somehow, but I couldn’t,” she sobbed on the witness stand.
Three female jurors wiped tears from their eyes as Pitera related the last moments leading up to the death of two of her children and the nearly fatal injuries to the third.
Pitera is charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle and three counts each of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and risk of injury to a minor.
According to earlier testimony, Pitera was driving a 2007 Nissan Murano on Main Street, also known as Route 110, in Stratford with her two young daughters and son when she crossed over the yellow line and struck a van head-on shortly before 9 p.m. July 4, 2007.
Pitera had a blood-alcohol content of 0.123, exceeding the legal limit of 0.08, police said.
Two of her children, Morgan, 6, and John, 9, died in the crash; her 7-year-old daughter, Haley, was injured, but survived.
Pitera was called to the witness stand Tuesday afternoon by her lawyer, Norm Pattis.
Dressed in a tan sweater and brown pants, her long brown hair loose about her shoulders, Pitera clutched a wad of tissues in her left hand as she sat in the witness box.
Pattis asked her right from the start if she had five or six alcohol drinks prior to the crash as alleged by a state expert.
“No,” she replied, shaking her head.
During a July 4 party at her ex-husband’s house in Stratford, Pitera claimed she had one mixed drink and half a beer, but no other alcohol.
As the weather turned nasty, she decided to leave the party.
“I remember gathering up the kids and saying, ‘Let’s get going you have camp tomorrow.’ ” Her two daughters were sitting in the back seat of the Nissan Murano and her son was in the front passenger seat.
“There is no question in my mind they had their seatbelts on,” she added.
It was raining hard as they approached the Sikorsky plant on Main Street in Stratford.
“I was telling the children a story. Sikorsky has this big street light and I was telling the kids that when we lived on Soundview Avenue I used to turn my chair toward the window when it rained because I liked to watch the rain in the street light,” she testified.
She was driving through the blinking traffic light in front of the plant when she said her son John unfastened his seatbelt.
“I hollered at him to put it back on, but he defied me. I unclicked my seatbelt and reached over to him and tried to put his seatbelt back on. I got my hand on him and then I saw headlights in my face,” she sobbed.
The next thing Pitera said she remembers is waking up in a hospital room. “My children didn’t make it,” she cried, covering her eyes with a tissue.
Dr. Michael Baden, a pathologist for the New York State Police, who also helped investigate the O.J. Simpson case and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, testified that the injuries Pitera suffered in the crash could have resulted in a “false positive” for alcohol levels in her blood.
“The amount is seriously interfered with and it should have been confirmed by another test that was not done,” he said. “That test should have been done differently and in my opinion the test was not reliable.”