Statewide political observers may be dismissing Joe Ganim for governor, but they’re not ignoring him. Perhaps it’s the fascination of audacity–Joe certainly does not lack for that–or maybe it’s the dearth of the field, on the Democratic side, at least. Whatever, Ganim engineered what he wanted, a lot of attention, following his announcement for governor. Yes, the roll-out would’ve been better without his hot-footed driver. Now what, for Joe?
Ganim needs a campaign spokesman. Outside of government. Wanna place pressure on the government payroll? Let them keep responding to reporters’ questions about the campaign. That’s asking for a lot of trouble.
Now that Ganim’s officially in the race for governor, whether he’s considered top-tier or not, in the current environment factoring in his history, he’s a sitting duck for scrutiny. Especially after his campaign driver, a city police officer who the mayor asserts was volunteering his time, was pulled over by a state trooper doing 87, considered reckless driving blistering most of us a mega fine. Actually, it would’ve been better had the trooper issued a ticket rather than a verbal warning to a brother-in-arms.
But none of us would have known this without Hearst Media reporter Neil Vigdor in the back seat, taking all this in. Allowing Viggy shadow access was the correct move in light of Ganim trying to rehabilitate his relationship to a statewide audience on the day of his announcement. There are risks also. Such as a police officer behind a wheel disconnected from a scribe doing his job. Viggy will give Joe the benefit of the doubt, but not when, in his view, the driver is doing 100 and was pulled over at 87. If Viggy doesn’t write about it, it’s his ass. He did the right thing.
Ganim’s chance at being governor is a super long-shot. Everything, and everything, must break right for him to get in play, irrespective of his strong retail political skills. In his 2015 comeback for mayor, I thought Ganim could take out incumbent Bill Finch given the environment, Ganim’s connection with voters and Finch’s disconnection with voters. Ganim still had a lot of goodwill out there.
Playing on a statewide level, however, is different world from where Joe must rise.
But one thing he can do clearly, to avoid ominous headlines, is rescue government employees from high-profile positions in his campaign. That means a separate political operation paid for by campaign cash, so government employees avoid the blurry lines of Joe’s ambition.
That doesn’t mean government employees cannot volunteer for Ganim’s campaign. Just don’t put them in a position where it seems like it’s something else.