Who’s your guber horse? What saddle is that, you say? Your horse for governor.
The gubernatorial campaign is headed for the earliest start that I can recall. Former House Speaker Jammin’ Jim Amann, less the $120K advisory role the new House Speaker Chris Donovan had offered then pulled back following a media spew, will announce his candidacy next week in the city of his birth at The Klein.
It appears that Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy who lost a tight Democratic gubernatorial primary to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano in 2006 is not far behind.
They’ve been waiting on Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to complete his insufferable gubernatorial strip tease again. Dick does this every cycle. But now that Barack is president it has opened up options for Dick for the federal bench and who knows, if U.S. Senator Chris Dodd continues his public hemorrhaging and goes away, perhaps Dick runs for Dodd’s seat. Then there’s always Joe Liebermaniacal in 2012.
Where will the liberals’ liberals line up such as OIB friends John from Black Rock and Jon Kantrowitz? My guess is Malloy, although he’s not cut to the far left such as former gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry.
Amann is also more centrist than most Democratic candidates for governor. Liberal Dems such as Curry, two-time nominee, two-time general election loser, perform great when the unions, progressives and serial primary voters turn out. Then the general comes around and it’s a different story, they fail to appeal to a broader audience without betraying promises to liberal interests.
And you wonder why a Democrat has not been elected governor since Bill O’Neill, conservative as Dems go, since 1986? Yup, it’s been that long. Independent Lowell Weicker 1990, Republican John Rowland in 1994, 1998 and 2002 and Republican Jodi Rell in 2006.
Rell, still popular with the electorate, is poised for another run. But her popularity could drift in this messy budget cycle. Rell is a funny pol. The electorate likes her, but Republican pols do not. She doesn’t reach out to party regulars the way Rowland did. And Jodi never pushes the party brand. She prefers to transcend the party, and that certainly helped her when she croaked DeStefano in 2006 while tanking Alan Schlessinger, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, to help Lieberman’s reelection. Can you hear me sticking fingers down my throat. And, yeah, Amann supported Lieberman as well.
But the party cannot ditch her so they’re stuck with Rell and her Chief of Staff Lisa Moody, who’s like the dragon protecting the castle. You want Jodi? You gotta go through Lisa.
Malloy is an interesting candidate. Gregarious, smart and successful managing the largest grand list in the state. (Wish Bridgeport had Stamford’s corporate-rich taxable property.)
Then, there’s always Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, a relentless self-promoter and fundraiser. Maybe SuBy jumps into it.
They’ll all be making the rounds schmoozing party regulars from far-off towns in the state, and all likely to participate in the state’s public financing: $1.250 million spending cap for a primary, $3 million for a general election for governor.
And how will they all juggle the labyrinth that is Bridgeport Democratic politics? How to schmooze this one without pissing off that one? Former Dem Chair John Stafstrom was a Malloy guy in 2006, and John still has a segment of the party behind him including Mayor Bill Finch. Candidates will also court Mario Testa, the man that dethroned Stafstrom. Is Mario winking early? One thing’s for sure, they had better learn the protocol: do not call Mario’s restaurant during his nap time generally between 1:30 and 4:30. Next time they visit he might plant a cleaver in their skull.
Another variable to the Dem guber race and potential primary locally in 2010 is Probate Judge Paul Ganim’s seat. Does City Council President Tom McCarthy look at a primary? State Rep. Auden Grogins? Mary-Jane Foster who knows all about foster care as OIB friend Tommy Kelly says? Who will get the party endorsement? Stay tuned.