Will Shays Leave Russo On The Beach? Plus: No Gusto Against Musto, And Thanks A Lot Jodi, Love Mike

Mark Smith, citing family issues, has dropped out of contention for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic State Senator Anthony Musto who represents Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe.

That leaves Trumbull GOP Town Councilman David Pia as the lone challenger to Musto. No Dems, of yet, have stepped up to challenge Musto. There’s a movement among Republican party regulars to persuade former Bridgeport State Senator Rob Russo, who’s seeking the GOP nomination for Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District, to run for his old seat. Russo’s not biting. He wants to stay in the Congressional race despite lack of money in a large GOP field looking to take on Democrat Jim Himes. Russo says the GOP challenger to Himes is a long way from being settled. Leading GOP candidates include Shelton State Senator Dan Debicella and Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann. Former Bridgeport GOP Town Chair Rick Torres is also in the race.

To Jodi, With Love

When you’re the lieutenant governor, especially a low profile one like Michael Fedele, what you propose can be scrutinized carefully. Why? Because the things Fedele proposes to do if elected governor lapsed under Republican Governor Jodi Rell. Mike, did you try to persuade Jodi to do this stuff? If so, why wasn’t it done? Gee, well, you know, ah, but … those damn Democrats, and I was locked in a friggin’ closet for four years! Then if you push too hard you can be seen as dissing a popular governor, even if she failed to do the things you want to do.

Do ya really think Jodi Rell took a hard line with government costs, union wages, department expenses, longevity bonuses? Although he hasn’t yet gotten super specific, it’s a lot easier for outsider Tom Foley, the leading GOP guber contender, to make Fedele’s claims. The best thing Jodi could have done is at least given Fedele a year on the job. But she chose to stay on and now is making him sweat for an official endorsement. Oh yes, says Jodi, Mikey is a nice boy. He’s wonderful. Has served the state well. Has a great immigrant story to tell. But I’m not ready to endorse him. Yikes!!!

It’s sorta like former Congressman Christopher Shays not coming out for Russo, a loyal supporter and former aide. It’s amazing how pols strand the peeps–that helped them–frying on the beach. Shays didn’t have any problem asking folks for help on his way to winning a GOP primary more than 20 years ago. In fact, there is no Chris Shays without former Fairfield First Selectman Jackie Durrell, and the operation of former Congressman Stewart McKinney supporting Shays. But now that Russo needs Shays’ help, well, oh, gee, do I know you? What’s your name? Yadda, yadda, yadda.

From the Fedele campaign:

Lt. Governor Michael Fedele Announces Plan For Affordable, Accountable and Responsible State Government

Fedele Outlines Bold, Decisive Actions to Cut Spending and Shrink Bureaucracy

Despite economists proclaiming the national recession is over, its debilitating effects continue to resonant throughout Connecticut. The state has lost more than 100,000 jobs since March 2008 and our employment rate is a staggering 9 percent, further evidence that Connecticut’s recovery – as has been the case after past downturns – continues to be a slow one.

Lt. Governor Michael Fedele today announced his plan to make Connecticut’s recovery one that will last and endure. The Lt. Governor’s plan will provide real and structural changes to state government by making it affordable and accountable to people who pay its bills – the Connecticut taxpayer. Fedele’s plan includes spending cuts, spending and borrowing reforms and changes to hiring practices and state employee salaries and benefits.

“The Democrats’ inability or outright refusal to reduce spending and instead opt for higher taxes is steering the state not down the road to recovery but toward the brink of bankruptcy,” Lt. Governor Fedele said. “The majority party cannot and will not make the sweeping changes and hard decisions needed. I will have the courage to make the tough decisions we need to cut the size and cost of government and to focus on government’s core responsibilities.”

Lt. Governor Fedele pointed out that as government costs have soared, Connecticut taxpayers are picking up more and more of the tab. He said in 2009 the men and women of Connecticut had to work 120 days – more than any state in the nation – to pay off state and federal taxes.

“As governor, I will bring the state employee bargaining units to the table for a discussion on reining in costs and I will represent our taxpayers at that table,” Lt. Governor Fedele said. “I am proposing long-term spending and hiring freezes, restructured salaries and pensions for state workers, a borrowing moratorium, reforming how we deliver services and much more.”

The highlights of Lt. Governor Fedele’s plan are:

• A four-year hiring and spending freeze

• Oversight of higher education hiring practices and salaries

• Two-year moratorium on borrowing

• Eliminate earmarks (local pork projects) and discretionary spending

• Restructure state employee salaries, pensions and benefits

• Consolidate state agencies

• Require cost sharing for some social services

“For the thousands of Connecticut families who lost a paycheck or even two over the past two years, the recession meant cutting back to make ends meet,” Lt. Governor Fedele said. “Their state government — mired in the same economic downturn — should have recognized reality and seized the opportunity to drastically cut spending.

“That did not happen because the Democrats chose to saddle hard-pressed taxpayers with more taxes to pay for a bureaucracy that has grown bloated from special interest and pork barrel spending and employee wages and benefits far more generous than most segments of the private sector,” Fedele said. “Only by controlling costs can we protect and enhance government’s core missions, especially when it comes to providing services to the needy. This is the heart of state government.”

Tom Foley responds:

“Mike Fedele has been Lieutenant Governor for more than three years and until now he has offered no plan to steer the state out of its current fiscal crisis.”

“I put forward a plan back in January that called for an immediate reduction in state spending of $1 billion. As Lieutenant Governor he is in position to make a difference now and yet it has taken the pressure of an election campaign and outside voices from his own party to force him into producing a plan.”

“Never has it been more evident that Connecticut needs someone from outside the current political system to solve the state’s fiscal problems and begin creating jobs.”

Herbst endorses Foley, from the Foley campaign:

Tom Foley Receives The Endorsement of Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst

Tom Foley, Republican candidate for Governor, received the endorsement of Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst today.

“As a municipal Chief Executive, I have seen firsthand how poor decision-making by the Hartford bureaucrats has hurt towns and cities across Connecticut. In light of our current challenges, the people of Connecticut are facing a critical choice this November.” said Tim. “Connecticut needs a Governor who is a Hartford outsider, determined to fundamentally change the culture of our state government. It is for these reasons that I am proud to endorse Tom Foley for Governor.”

“Whether in the public or private sector, Tom Foley has a proven track record of reform. As Governor, I know Tom will pursue an agenda committed to cutting taxes and reducing spending. Further, Tom will create an environment here in Connecticut where business can grow and thrive.”

“I am confident that Tom Foley is the type of leader that can get Connecticut moving again and lead us to better days. I’m proud to endorse him and I will do everything I can to see that he is elected.”

Tom appreciates Tim’s support and added, “The way to move Connecticut forward is with the help of leaders like Tim. I will make working with our cities and towns a priority by ending burdensome mandates on local governments, reducing state spending, and supporting businesses to create jobs.”



  1. *** Another one bites the dust with no real competition left for Musto. Wish either Russo or Torres would change their minds & run against Musto; I think their chances would be much better towards winning than against Himes who seems so far to be doing a fair job as a freshman rep. *** As for the queen of the WWE, she has business savvy & big money but what else would make her a good Gov? Malloy who has years of political experience as the Mayor of an urban city seems to me if for no other reason the logical voter’s pick in this narrow field of wannabes! Though I need to hear more info from all these candidates before actually voting for Malloy in the primary. *** As for Shays, he’s just waiting to see what things start looking like & unfolding in politics & “$” wise as a whole, before committing to anyone. ***

  2. Mojo–The Ring Queen is running in the GOP Primary for U.S. Senate! I know with all these candidates you need a scorecard.

    An endangered species in Bridgeport, a Republican, was seen marching in the Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Consumer Protection guru Jerry Farrell, and a Republican running for Secretary of State walked the fine green line.


    1. *** Thanks for the political reminder, it’s a bit confusing as well as easy to forget with some of the on-going changes of candidates either throwing in their hats, switching, or dropping out completely! *** Voting numbers & campaign “$” will dictate some of these close races in the primaries. So the good candidates who are limited in “$” need to push for & fight the battle in home-town political debates across the state or districts they would represent to hopefully even some of the poll rates. *** The luck of the celtic stars made it a nice day & great St. Pats parade for everyone! Thanks to all those that helped make the “Wear Green day” celebration a success this year after a long winter, a round & toast of Irish whiskey to you all! “Salute!” ***

  3. Yes Mojo is correct Himes is doing a decent Job for a freshman congressman and I will cast my ballot for him. As for Malloy he looks great on paper but as of now I am supporting Lamont but that could easily change because Malloy is an appealing candidate but I need to know more about him. This race should be a interesting one for many reasons. Let’s see how Malloy and Lamont perform in heavily Democratic turnout areas in August such as Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Norwalk, New Britain. These 6 cities out of more than 150 towns in CT will tell us how this race is going to end up because these 6 cities have huge Democratic turnouts during primaries. Remember in 2006 both Lamont and Malloy lost Bridgeport but by a small margin. I think Lamont needs to work the city of Bridgeport very hard and see if he could possibly get 2000 more votes than Malloy because when you pull off numbers like that when only 300,000 votes will be cast that is a good margin because I have a feeling margins for both candidates will be just a few hundred votes in 150 towns but you can run up the numbers in the urban areas. This race will be interesting and I can’t wait to cast my vote at Black Rock school.

    1. Nose, where ya been?

      Where’s the loyalty in politics? Let’s assume Russo’s run a crappy race. Okay, did Russo throw Shays under the bus when he was in trouble? Did he stop supporting Shays when he proclaimed incredulously that ‘the fundamentals of the economy are strong … no one can argue with that.’

      When Shays was looking for guidance on returning to public service it was Russo he leaned on for help.

  4. Here is my pick of the day: how many Russo mailings in his Senate races featured Shays vs. how many featured Jodi Rell? Just saying.

    Shays weighing in, in an active way, would definitely make this a different race. Period.


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