Kohut Chalkboards Governor’s Race, It’s Ganim Versus Walker–Fire Up Tent And Tickets!

David Walker
David Walker

Jeff Kohut, Bridgeport’s studious political nerd, offers this prediction for the November gubernatorial election, a battle between Bridgeport residents Joe Ganim and David Walker. As Kohut points out, “P.T. Barnum would have put it all under a tent and sold tickets.”

Ganim New Haven
Ganim versus Walker?

From Kohut:

The 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial contest is taking definite shape even as the ultimate definition of the contest begs to be acknowledged.

Reducing the analysis toward an elucidation of the most probable, November contest description requires an efficient elimination of improbable members from the present, hopeful cast of characters. In this regard it would appear logical to expose the hopelessly clueless, message-less Republican side of the contest for what it is.

In that regard, presently there is a large line-up of Republican candidates, including familiar names from past, failed gubernatorial, and lower-level campaigns, such as Mark Boughton, Mark Lauretti, Steve Obsitnik, Tim Herbst, David Walker, and Toni Boucher, as well as some new names and faces (new to the Connecticut gubernatorial/political arena), such as Mike Handler, Peter Lumaj, Bob Stefanowski, Prasad Srinivasan, and David Stemerman.

The main points that define the Republican field are: 1) The absence of any sort of comprehensive message or plan by any of the Republican candidates in regard to a carefully considered, interrelated set of policies and definite steps needed to create and sustain a prosperous, Twenty-first Century Connecticut (other than the obvious, cliché non-solution of “Cut spending. Cut taxes.”; 2) A prevalence of non-populist, suburbanite/small-city candidates; 3) A heavy presence of Gold Coast/Wall Street-Hedge Fund-Finance backgrounds that are predictive of detachment from the economic reality and indifference to the needs of 95% of the people of the state.

The above Republican candidate platform/background description, on the backdrop of a wobbly, gyrating, unfocused Connecticut Republican Party, describable in the raw terms of disorganization, disunity, and internecine warfare (note the Trumpian attitudes and antics of candidates Herbst and Lumaj) speak of an early write-off of the prospects of a Republican governor in 2018. Indeed; the residents of the urban and rural regions of the state should feel relief in this regard–especially in the context of the Supreme Court ruling against the Moukawsher Decision.

And, while former banker and Hartford-area Chamber of Commerce (Metro-Hartford Alliance) president, Oz Griebel, and his Newtown-attorney running mate present as a plausible, petitioning-candidate, gubernatorial-hopeful team, they are sorely lacking in statewide political presence, as well as essential resources, for a gubernatorial-level contest in 2018 Connecticut.

Thus, the on-going, out-of-the-gate, Republican gubernatorial-race melt-down, in the context of the contraindicated, independent political gambit of a failed, former Republican gubernatorial candidate (Griebel), would strongly suggest the need to look to the emerging form of the Democratic side of the contest for a glimpse at the probable, next governor of Connecticut.

Looking at the Democratic side of the gubernatorial contest heading toward the May convention and August 14 primary, there are currently eight candidates proceeding toward these decision points. Those candidates are: Bridgeport native and current (multi-term) mayor, Joseph Ganim; former Connecticut Secretary of State and multi-office candidate, Susan Bysiewicz; Malloy appointee and corporate lawyer, Sean Connolly; West Hartford resident, former State Senator, former Connecticut Commissioner of Consumer Protection, former State Deputy Treasurer, and former Executive Director of the State Democratic Party, Jonathan Harris; Greenwich resident, former Connecticut Democratic Party Vice-Chair, and former Wall Street trader, Dita Bhargava; Greenwich heir, businessman, and previous US Senate and Connecticut gubernatorial candidate, Ned Lamont; tobacco- and liquor-industry pitchman (and Bill Clinton publicist) Guy L. Smith IV of Greenwich; lifelong Greenwich resident, current Hartford mayor, and former, multi-position, state- and federal-level political appointee, Luke Bronin.

Quickly running through the list, we can see that six candidates can be eliminated, pre-primary. These candidates are: 1)Multi-office candidate Ned Lamont, who, having only held minor elective office–a Greenwich town council seat–for only one, two-year term, having failed in runs for federal office and statewide office (US Senate and Connecticut governor), and having been essentially absent from the state political scene for over seven years, Lamont, while financially viable and able to easily self-finance any statewide race, has slipped into the realm of political irrelevance and disregard by having failed to assert political and fiscal solutions during the Malloy meltdown years in our state. He will find himself staring at a lot of backs as he seeks 15% delegate support at the party convention in May. 2) Wall Street trader and local/state political dabbler Dita Bhargava, who, while known by Connecticut State Central Committee Dems and Gold Coast political enthusiasts, has no statewide name recognition or political record on which to assert her candidacy–and no time to establish either in time for the August primary. She will find very little support at the May convention and will be unlikely to receive anything near the necessary 15% delegate support to wage an August primary. 3) Jonathan Harris: Besides having very little name recognition outside of the Hartford area, when his lackluster service as State Consumer Protection Commissioner and Deputy State Treasurer are considered in the context of the rest of his lackluster political career, he’ll find himself looking at the same backs at the convention as Ned Lamont. 4) Susan Bysiewicz: Her mediocre record/tenure as Connecticut Secretary of State will not be able to redeem her reputation for career indecisiveness, per her zig-zag path from gubernatorial favorite to ineligible Connecticut Attorney General candidate in the 2010 Connecticut state election cycle (after an aborted candidacy for a slot in the 2006 governor’s race), proceeding from there to an electoral thrashing in the  US Senate, Democratic primary against Chris Murphy in 2012. 5) Sean Connolly, a Malloy appointee who has very little statewide name recognition, as well as the drag of his close ties to a failed, unpopular administration. 6) Guy L. Smith IV, who has a damning resume, per his background as a tobacco- and liquor-industry pitchman and Bill Clinton publicist/image cleaner. The professional baggage, carried in the dim light of his lacking political credentials and name recognition, will assure the sidelining of his candidacy pre-convention.

So on the Democratic side, things reduce to a probable Ganim-Bronin contest heading toward the primary. If the winner is Bronin; it is likely that there will be a Ganim, independent run and a three-candidate general election (Ganim, Bronin and David Walker, the latter of whom is the only truly qualified and capable Republican candidate). But when voters examine the political DNA of Bronin and trace his political lineage to the Clinton and Malloy, Democratic bloodlines (in the context of his non-meritorious federal- and state- appointment ascendancy (he served in the Obama Administration as a Treasury Department appointee, and afterward as Malloy’s General Counsel), voters will realize that Bronin will simply continue with the destructive, Malloy, “Stamford-Greenwich primacy,” state agenda. And, when voters are apprised of his intimate ties and support from Big Insurance, they’ll realize that a Bronin governorship is not what the Doctor ordered for Connecticut.

While some people might deride the prospects of a Ganim governorship, the voters of Connecticut will be forced to consider his platform and appreciate his story as they examine his candidacy and the candidacies of the other contestants seeking the chance to guide Connecticut back to fiscal stability and prosperity. Will Luke Bronin have the wherewithal to wage a political dogfight for elective office and commit to weathering a fiscal storm describable in Connecticut terms, as Governor, without a “godfather” to get him elected and hand him a bailout, per his pre-gubernatorial gifts from Godfather Dan? We’ll soon see, as he takes a few more steps out in the cold toward the May convention and August primary.

But to prognosticate just a little more: One must wonder what tactics might be used by Luke’s handlers in assuring the timely exit of his strongest, Democratic competition: Maybe there’s a way to get Ned and Susan another shot (each) at the US Senate–before retirement time. Maybe. If they’re willing to throw their support behind Luke at the May Convention. And maybe there’s a way to get Jonathan and Dita a shot at higher office in the fairly near future (say, the Governor’s Office–after Luke makes a bid for the White House. Or possibly the US Congress.) for a similar consideration. (And one must wonder if a couple or three, or four of the “D” candidates were encouraged to enter the race in order to siphon delegates away from the “real” competition.

In any event this will be an interesting political season in Connecticut, no doubt. But the Governor’s race will be pretty straightforward heading into the fall–Ganim vs. fellow Bridgeporter David Walker, or Bronin vs. Ganim vs. David Walker. (PT would have put it all under a tent and sold tickets.)

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37 comments

  1. Jeff, you have no reason why David Walker should be the Republican candidate? At no time did you address the voters viewpoint and who they could support and why, remember David Walker is also a unknown political candidate.

  2. Jeff thanks for your interesting take on the ‘Big Race.’

    On the Democratic side, I would not count Ned Lemont out nor give him a low rate of probability just yet. On the Republican side, the same applies to Mark Boughton.

    Ned Lemont recently officially announced his entry into to the race and put out a youtube video where he covers much of his platform. His progressive platforms looks and sounds like it’s straight out of the Working Family Party as I commented here:

    http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/paging-all-ned-heads-lamont-15-minimum-wage-if-governor/

    Several weeks ago, the Republican held a debate and during that debate, Dave Walker stated that he would eliminate the State Income Tax and pointed out that such proposal is shared by Mark Boughton. According to Republican polling, Mark Boughton won that debate by 44%. The under-ticket is one important factor that Jeff didn’t cover.

    1. Joel,

      I called for tax relief and reform but not eliminating the income tax. Boughton and Boucher called for it without any credible plan to pay for it. The debate poll you referred to is bogus and not statistically valid.

  3. He’s extended his range!
    Jeff Kohut has always had a keen understanding of local politics but now he’s added the upcoming governor’s race to his journey because he predicts two Bridgeporters will be the candidates.
    I hope he’s right about David Walker for Governor because he’s our best chance to restructure, recapture and repurpose Connecticut’s future.

  4. Jeff only spoke about the candidates and nothing about the voters. Jeff today is Jan. 20, 2018 and if you are watching TV you will the second Women’s March” where women of all races marching against 45 and his policies. These women will determine the outcome of 2018 elections nationwide and in Connecticut. It doesn’t matter if 45 said shithole or shithouse voters will make Republicans pay the price of 45’s racist comments going all the way back to the Central Park Five. David Walker has absolutely no relationship or support from black females in Connecticut who will turnout to vote against anything 45 and Walker. Walker has not spoken out against any of 45’s racist comments. 2018 will be a huge wave for Democrats in Connecticut and in America plus there will a big wave of Hispanic women coming out to vote, Jeff just look at the recent elections in Virginia and Alabama where black females came out in bigger numbers than they did for Obama and the new Democratic governor is not a well known person.

  5. Ron: In answer to your explicit and implicit questions about David Walker as the probable Republican gubernatorial candidate, in the context of his background and voter preferences: David Walker has a deep knowledge of the workings of all levels of government, albeit (possibly) in the context of the emotional detachment characteristic of his trade — which leads to the dismissal (by Walker/Republicans) of the necessity of many of the functions of government essential in maintaining modern, stable societies… (This describes the classic weaknesses characteristic of the classic Republican agenda…

    David Walker, however, has established solid name-recognition and Connecticut Republican credentials, in the context of the recognition of his even-tempered personality, superior intellectual abilities, prodigious government/professional experience and accomplishment, and long-term Bridgeport/Connecticut residency — all while he maintains an air of “freshness” among Connecticut Republican voters (if not the Party Machine/hierarchy). He is no-longer an unknown among Connecticut Republicans or the general electorate — which puts him in the advantageous position of not being stale/tainted “old news,” as are candidates Boughton and Lauretti. The other Republican candidates present as “out-of-touch” Gold Coasters and suburbanites (and even “whack jobs” — per Herbst and Lumaj) while Walker straddles (and can claim identification across) all social strata In Connecticut — as a Bridgeport Black Rocker (affluent, distressed-urban-center resident…).

    Indeed; if Connecticut weren’t so Blue and distressed, Walker would hold an edge over all of the present candidates in both parties. But reality, and his conservative-Republican credentials, put him at a distinct disadvantage as a general-election gubernatorial candidate in 2018 Connecticut… (Personally, as a liberal, democratic Socialist, while I respect David Walker as a very decent, intelligent, capable man (and candidate), I cringe at the thought of his governance/economic philosophies being imposed on the moribund economy/government of Connecticut (almost as much as I fear a repeat of the Gold-Coast-centric years and contradictory policies of another Malloy (think Bronin, Lamont) Administration.

    So, Ron: I see David Walker, with his solid Republican credentials and reputation — in the context of a well-funded campaign and having distance in philosophical and state-presence terms from the rest of the dysfunctional, chaotic Republican Party — as having the best shot at winning the Republican Primary. He will get his 15% delegate support at the convention (maybe just barley, because of the Trump reach and insider/old-line machinations) and handily win the Republican Primary popular vote in the primary in August…

    Joel: (Thanks for your expression of appreciation my efforts…) Lamont’s video presents (indeed!), as a Working Family’s Party GOTV mailer. It makes all of the right points toward getting the attention of distressed, apprehensive Connecticut working/unemployed people. (While it does little to reassure disabled, retired, and stable, middle-class citizens of the ability to comfortably count-on, or plan for a future in Connecticut.)
    In this context, we must keep in mind that Connecticut’s voters have become desensitized to promises that have no associated economic foundation or roadmap associated with their implementation. Lamont offers no plan for the revitalization of the Connecticut economy. He talks about “high-tech” training programs aimed at jobs creation. We already have plenty of that – in terms of fodder for a rebuilding of a Connecticut economy based on the high-tech sectors and jobs of the future. Indeed, we’ve had this capability for quite a long time. Where is the resultant creation of desperately-needed urban tax-base? Where are the jobs?! As is true of the present, failed governor, Lamont has no well-considered plan, targeting specific, appropriate, high-tech sector/jobs (much less actual companies/products) that would indicate the probable creation of jobs/tax-base to allow for any implementable agenda benefitting the working-class/middle-class prosperity for which Lamont pretends advocacy. (Malloy’s “First Five” was a Stamford-heavy, vote-purchasing, non-plan that only served to exacerbate Connecticut’s deficit and unemployment rates – by misapplying scarce resources to already-prosperous geographic areas of the state, to economic sectors offering little, short- or long-term economic benefit to the state as a whole…

    Indeed, this “waste of scarce resources probably helped to trigger relocation decisions by several, important Connecticut companies…)
    Just as Malloy – who promised the whole state “the world”, but only in terms of, and delivered only to Stamford-Greenwich/the Gold Coast (and protégé Luke Bronin’s Hartford, albeit only thinly, and otherwise only with promises) – Greenwich-Gold Coaster, Lamont, will protect his home turf and attempt to woo and placate the rest of the state with an empty WFP (unimplementable) agenda… And ditto, for fellow Greenwichite, current (“Malloy-appointed”) Hartford Mayor, Luke Bronin…

    So, in this writer’s estimation, there we have it for a Ganim-Walker race in November. Ganim has a story and record (no pun intended) on which to garner the popular Democratic Primary and general-election vote in November. There is nothing that can neutralize the Malloy-Gold Coast taint of candidates Lamont and Bronin. Connecticut voters know that there are no Lowell Weickers remaining in that part of the state. And, indeed, even Lowell Weicker avoided taking any real, effective steps toward any true, economic revitalization/re-empowerment of Bridgeport or Connecticut’s other (non-Stamford) urban centers…

    Joe Ganim can claim economic movement for his city, as well as identity credentials with the disenfranchised, under-dogs, and struggling/anxious masses of the state – especially in the urban, rural, and inner-ring suburban areas. No other candidate can claim that kind of relationship – or name recognition – with the voters of the state. The 2018 election is Ganim’s to lose. He will do that only if fails to create and present a detailed, solid, economic redevelopment plan for the state in time for the Primary vote. Ganim will raise enough money – from a wide variety of legitimate/legal sources that will allow him to wage a competitive primary race… So will David Walker. 2018 will prove to be an historic election-year in Connecticut…

  6. Please pardon a couple of run-on paragraphs, above; the OIB “editor” didn’t completely follow my WORD instructions… (Shouldn’t influence the “read” very much…

    1. Jeff, I can agree with you but the name of the game is to get your people to the polls and to expand your base, well, Walker has not done that, he’s stuck on Republicans and the leader of his party, 45, will bring voters out to vote against Republicans and Walker. What are Walker’s polls telling him about his standing in Bridgeport with all voters? Again Jeff, you are not talking about those who will vote.

      1. Ron, you seem to be ignoring the fact that at this point, Walker is working to appeal to Republicans only as Democrats can’t vote in Republican primary. Jeff Kohut’s analysis is not one to take for granted or ignored. By no means assume that just because you don’t like Dave Walker, every Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc., feels the same.

  7. Connecticut needs a Governor who can govern.
    Let’s hope Jeff Kohut is correct because one candidate has a story to tell while the other candidate has a story to hide.

    1. We Republican candidates in Connecticut who don’t have the moral courage to speak out against 45 for his shitholes or shithouse remarks about Africans and people of Haiti. Republican candidates who don’t talk and listen to people of color, in fact they can’t even find a black candidate to run for any of the other statewide position. Hey Dave Walker try talking and listening to blacks in your own city.

      1. Ron you have away of twisting facts to fit your narrative Trump never said those works about the PEOPLE of these countries . He stated that the countries are shit holes. Ron you have never been to these countries except o your TV at least get the facts right

        1. Andy, I’ve been to Haiti. Andy spin it anyway you want but 45 made it clear that he wants white people to come to America and not black people and his policies tell the story.

          1. Show me one quote where he said he wanted whites instead of blacks. BTW Ron Haiti is a shithole as are many African countries, Are you going to say thats trumps fault. You are all over Trump but not a word about Obama who spent a clueless 8 years in office. Same ols shit Ron

        2. According to several people that were in the room (including a few Republicans) Trump DID say those things, Andy. His racism and bigotry are common knowledge. It’s obvious you support Der Fuhrer because you agree with his opinions of women and minorities.

          1. He did say that about the countries not about the people. Would a racist spend his own money to finance a group of doctors that went to Haiti and did 200 eye operations I think not

          2. He did indicate he wants more immigration from Norway, a Scandinavian country with a population that is 99.1% Caucasian.

            As for the eye doctors… He wouldn’t have written the check unless there was a tax write off. It sin’t as if he walked on water to perform the surgeries himself.

            Face it, Andy. Donald Trump does not like black people, Hispanics, independent women… No one that diesn’t fit in to his bigotted chauvinistic world view.

          1. Dick Durbin is one of the biggest liars in congress beside how many times do I have to say I agree he said those countries are shitholes, he did not say that about the people

  8. The Republican agenda doesn’t make sense, not in any practical way. The doddering old guard on Capitol Hil is still touting “trickle down” economic theory even though it has proved wrong. (Indeed, at least on large corporation stated they would be directing the corporate windfall toward dividends, not investment and job creation.)

    Ned Lamont is an old school Reaganite that would make life better for the hedge finders in lower Fairfield County much as Donld Trump has done for other fat cats.

    Walker is a cypher.

    1. Sorry Ron the Pastor is wearing blinders. Other than a few countries the majority of countries in africa are ruled by vicious dictators. This continent sterilizes young girls against their will, Genocide is rampant. So I would have to say the pastor is full of it and his speech was disrespectful to the VP who was invited to that church. That speech did a lot to help race relations. Your pastor is a racist with blinders on

        1. they will not listen to me or the pastor. People know the pastor is going where the money is. Look at all the minister here in Bridgeport, what have they done. Nothing , nada , zikch. With a city 80 minority they can not get a candidate to be nominated and we aall know we have never had a minority mayor. Ron you cant blame this one on the whites.!!!!!

      1. Andy, here’s another liar:

        by Asher Stockler

        Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist preacher Billy Graham, spoke out in defense of President Trump’s “Christian values” on Saturday after reports surfaced earlier in the week alleging a prior romance between Trump and adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

  9. Africa followed the lead of your America Andy. Coerced sterilization is a shameful part of America’s history, and one doesn’t have to go too far back to find examples of it. Used as a means of controlling “undesirable” populations – immigrants, people of color, poor people, unmarried mothers, the disabled, the mentally ill – federally-funded sterilization programs took place in 32 states throughout the 20th century.

    Beginning in 1909 and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent. Approximately 20,000 sterilizations took place in state institutions, comprising one-third of the total number performed in the 32 states where such action was legal. Your America Andy is the biggest purveyor of human rights violations the world has ever seen.

  10. Day you are fucking right its my America. May I suggest that you take your sorry ass out of america and tell me how great your new country is. You and your running mate just dont get it but I guess when you are a professional racist you have to be like you 2.

    1. That’s right. Long as Donald can keep them people from shithole countries out of the USA. Keeping America safe for truth, justice and redneck firemen…

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