Ted Kennedy Jr. disappointed Mayor Bill Finch Tuesday night. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of his uncle John Kennedy at a legacy dinner at Testo’s Restaurant, the son of the late liberal lion Ted Kennedy told reporters he’ll not be a candidate in 2012 for Joe Lieberman’s U.S. Senate seat. Joe’s packing it in.
Kennedy, a resident of Branford, said he may run for something someday but prefers spending more time with his family. He runs a financial services firm in New York. I chatted with the mayor the other day about Kennedy’s potential entry into the race. Mention Kennedy (Bill usually mentions it before you) and Bill lights up like a full moon. JFK is the mayor’s political hero. He considers him the greatest president ever even though he served less than three years. Idolatry can sway emotions. But to Finch’s way of thinking, a Kennedy in the Senate again would have brought instant prestige and clout to Connecticut.
Finch is feeling melancholy about the recent departure of Chris Dodd and next year Joe Lieberman from the Senate. He says they were good for the state despite the dimming glow of their popularity in recent years. What can freshman Dick Blumenthal deliver so soon? And Lieberman’s replacement?
Yes indeed, Dodd and Lieberman had been highly coveted endorsements, robo calls, photo opportunities for Finch’s State Senate runs. But by the time Finch had become a candidate for mayor war hawk Lieberman’s polling numbers had plummeted and Dodd was making plans to move to Iowa for his failed presidential caucus run. Blumenthal emerged as the most popular Democrat in the state and then he took his hit as well, albeit surviving his Vietnam service gaffe. Goes to show ya that popularity can crater quickly.