Afternoon Update: See ya Chris Dodd. Hello Bloomer.
Connecticut’s senior senator, poll numbers sagging and Dem operatives suggesting quietly to step aside, has decided to do just that. This changes the whole political landscape. Attorney General Dick Blumenthal will run. And GOP sentries are pulling out the razor blades. With Dodd in they probably had it, with Bloomer ain’t so. Blumenthal is the most popular pol in the state and the GOP will need some magic to run a competitive race against him. Money helps, but only goes so far with Bloomer’s electoral history. The GOP candidate will need serendipity.
Meanwhile, this opens up Bloomer’s AG seat with a whole bunch of pols that may want it. Does Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz reverse course and run for AG instead of governor? Former State Dem Chair George Jepsen has always wanted it.
Statement from Mayor Finch re: Sen. Dodd’s decision not to seek re-election
“I first met Senator Dodd during my tenure as student government president at UConn in 1977. The Senator, who was then in his second term in the U.S House of Representatives, told me then that the ‘best social program is a good job.'” Those words still carry weight today, and I know the Senator believes deeply in that social contract.
“It saddens me that Senator Dodd will not be running again in the 2010 election. He has served the state and the City well during his tenure in Washington, and his voice on Capitol Hill will be missed.
“He has been a close friend, a mentor and an ally to me throughout my career. I expect we will be hearing more from him, even as he enjoys his retirement time with his family and friends. Both Connecticut, and the country, have lost a great leader and someone who has devoted his career to public service at the highest levels.”
Is the mayor really sad that Dodd’s not running? Why do I get the feeling hizzoner is saying privately good, great, now we’ll keep the seat! Bill is a big Blumenthal guy.
Ned Lamont statement:
STATEMENT BY NED LAMONT ON SENATOR DODD’S RETIREMENT
“For three decades, Chris has been Connecticut’s best friend, a powerful defender of the constitution and a tireless advocate for families and children. Chris, Jackie and their family deserve a short break, but I’m sure that there are many more chapters in Chris’ life of public service.
“This announcement does not change my own plans. I will continue to explore a run for Governor because I believe the stakes for Connecticut are too high and that we need innovative, entrepreneurial leadership to kickstart our economy, create new jobs, and honestly balance our budget.”
Dan Malloy statement:
Malloy Responds to Dodd Announcement
Potential candidate for Governor Dan Malloy, the former Mayor of Stamford, today released the following statement:
“In his long and distinguished career, Sen. Chris Dodd has been a leader and a champion on issues that affect so many Connecticut residents: health care, the environment, jobs, and much more. It’s my belief that any public servant should be judged by the impact their work will have not just on the lives of their constituents now, but also on the lives of future generations. In that regard, Sen. Dodd is without equal.
“I’m thankful for all that Chris Dodd has done for the state, and for the country.”
Letter from Merrick Alpert, Dem candidate for U.S. Senate to Blumenthal:
MERRICK ALPERT’S LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
Mr. Richard Blumenthal
Office of the Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
January 6, 2010
Congratulations, and welcome to the race. I am delighted that the contest to succeed Chris Dodd has opened up so that Connecticut Democrats can decide who they want to represent them in the U.S. Senate. You have been a remarkably active Attorney General, setting a new standard for the operation of that office. As we each campaign over the next seven months to the August primary, we need to keep focused on the important task before us: of making certain that Connecticut elects a Democrat as Senator come November.
As you know, I have been campaigning for the past eight months, focusing on private sector job creation for the citizens of our State, removing U.S. forces from Afghanistan, and promoting honest and transparent government. I expect that these will continue to be the central issues of our campaign, and I am interested to learn your position on them.
It is undeniable that if Linda McMahon is able to buy the Republican nomination, as she appears intent on doing, her stances on job creation, Afghanistan, and clean government will be unacceptable to the vast majority of Connecticut residents. Our mutual responsibility through the primary season is to make certain the Democratic Party runs the strongest possible candidate to defeat an anti-government, fear-based Republican platform.
I look forward to appearing with you, debating you, and spending time with you on the campaign trail.
With Best Wishes,
Rell’s 30 Days
Whoa! One thing you cannot say about Jodi Rell, as opposed to so many pig-headed pols, she’s reasonable.
Led by State Rep. Chris Caruso and Mayor Bill Finch, mayoral primary opponents in 2007 and possibly again in 2011, the governor pulled the Friday agenda item on the state Bond Commission earmarked to officially fund a juvenile detention center for girls in a residential section of the Upper East Side. Okay boys and girls, Jodi said you have one month to find a fitting alternate site in Bridgeport.
You know what? It would be easy for Rell, a Republican, to try to drive this down the city’s throat. She’s not running again. One year from now we’ll have a new governor. But she said okay, we’re going to do this in Bridgeport but you have 30 days to help me find another location so we can move on. Kudos to Rell. Maybe she felt she didn’t have all five Dems that sit on the Bond Commission to go along with her. Or maybe she’s actually showing compassion for a neighborhood that doesn’t want it. Either way, city and state officials have the opportunity to place it somewhere else, be it incorporation into the existing boys detention center on waterfront property downtown or something fitting in another area of the city.
Kudos also to Caruso and Finch, two guys who don’t exactly say prayers each night wishing each other electoral nirvana. The Big Wave and Birdie did what they had to do to buy time, one screaming publicly, the other working it politically, and both will come out of this thing in the high life with voters if a reasonable new site can be identified. But the burden of satisfying a new site is with Finch.
I love the comment made by Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily, a member of the Bond Commission, to my bud at the CT Post Ken Dixon:
“The simple fact is the state has a responsibility to these girls,” Senator Daily said. “They have been getting the short end of the stick for too long. They need a place where we can give them the help they need to turn their young lives around.”
Really? Gee senator, if you’re so worried about the girls getting the short end of the stick, stick the detention center in your district in eastern Connecticut.
Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti has a mighty fine story to share with Connecticut voters, leading an unassuming Naugatuck Valley town over the course of 20 years, building a grand list of taxable property that would make most mayors offer bribe money (did I say that?) to keep down the mil rate. This was Lauretti’s year to elevate his stature, be it Congress or governor, and he had been working the political system and building a public profile such as serving as Barnum Festival ringmaster a few years ago. But a federal investigation into his mayoralty, nipping at his heels like a chihuahua, has led to the federal tax conviction of James Botti, who federal authorities say greased prominent pols to win development approval.
Botti has denied the charges and faces another trial next month directly related to municipal corruption allegations. Lauretti has not been charged in the case. Botti has made the government’s case tougher by not folding. Meanwhile, Lauretti’s trying to figure out just what the feds have on him. These have been stressful times for the accomplished public official. It appears the feds are still trying to build a case against the mayor that they feel will stick, otherwise Lauretti’s lawyer would have notified his guy that he can sleep easier.
Lauretti has said screw it, this is my shot and I must go for it. So he’s talking about forming a campaign committee and giving it a crack even with this federal cloud poised possibly for a lightning storm. If, for some reason, the clouds clear, Lauretti would have a formidable gubernatorial story to share … attracting business, building a potent grand list, providing services while keeping taxes down with little state support. In fact, Lauretti has the most powerful message among the GOP guber hopefuls. But will he have a chance to share it?
Speaking of the federal probe, news release from CT U.S. Attorney
SHELTON BUILDING OFFICIAL ADMITS LYING TO GRAND JURY DURING PUBLIC CORRUPTION PROBE
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ELLIOTT WILSON, 66, of Shelton, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Charles S. Haight, Jr. in New Haven to one count of making a false declaration to a federal grand jury during a probe of public corruption concerning officials and developers in Shelton.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 1999 to 2009, WILSON was employed by the City of Shelton as the head building official, with responsibilities that included inspecting development projects and issuing certificates of occupancy. During that time period, WILSON received items of value from developers in Shelton who sought to influence him in connection with his official duties. These items included, but were not limited to, cash payments, building supplies, gift certificates and the opportunity to purchase a vehicle through a dealership at a price below the market value of the vehicle.
On February 23, 2009, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents interviewed WILSON. During that interview, WILSON falsely told agents that he had not received any items of value or cash from a specific Shelton developer (described in court filings as “Developer A”) other than the receipt of small cash payments at Christmas time. After being confronted with the fact that WILSON had received building supplies from Developer A, WILSON admitted that he did receive building supplies from the developer. However, WILSON maintained that, other than the building supplies and the small cash payments at Christmas time, he had not received any other benefit from Developer A. This statement was false, in that WILSON, while inspecting a location built by Developer A, had requested and thereafter received approximately $2,500 in cash from the developer.
On February 26, 2009, WILSON appeared before a federal grand jury in New Haven that was investigating allegations that public officials, developers and others engaged in acts of public corruption. After taking an oath to testify truthfully, WILSON knowingly provided materially false testimony to the grand jury regarding benefits he had received from developers. In particular, WILSON falsely testified that in approximately December 2008, he provided Developer A with $1,000 in cash to repay part of the $2,500 in cash provided to WILSON by the developer when, in fact, WILSON had not made any payment to the developer. WILSON also falsely testified that he had purchased a vehicle from a dealership that had previously been owned by a developer (described in court filings as “Developer B”) because WILSON wanted the dealership to provide him with a dealership warranty. However, the dealership did not provide WILSON with such a warranty, and the Government alleges that Developer B had arranged for WILSON to purchase a vehicle from the dealership at a price below the market value of the vehicle, and that Developer B was using the third-party dealership to conceal the benefit this developer was providing to WILSON.
“A public official who knowingly perjures himself before a federal grand jury about benefits he received while purportedly serving the public violates his duty of public trust and offends the administration of justice,” U.S. Attorney Dannehy stated.
A friend, a conservative Dem, sent me this:
My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. She has her food prepared for her. She can eat whenever she wants, 24/7/365. Her meals are provided at no cost to her. She visits the Dr. once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her. She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep. If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. She has her choice of luxurious places to sleep. She receives these accommodations absolutely free. She is living like a queen, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of her costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head, Holy SHIT, my dog is a Democrat!