2008 Year in Review: Part Two

The second part of two reviewing the year in Connecticut politics. Part one is here.

July

7/1 – Chris Dodd starts slipping a little in polls. A lot of people want to know more about his mortgage dealings. We’re still waiting for the paperwork to be released.

7/1 – Republicans call for another special session on fuel prices. At issue is the gross receipts tax, which goes up as fuel prices rise.

7/9 – The League of Women Voters twists itself into a knot trying not to hold a debate between Lee Whitnum and Jim Himes.

7/11 – Richard Blumenthal floats the idea of Chris Dodd as Obama’s running mate, as visions of senate seats opening up danced in his head.

7/15 – Republicans, hoping for a breakthrough, focus on energy issues, including expanding nuclear power.

7/16 – House Republicans propose that their staff be allowed to telecommute once a week, to sneers from Democrats.

7/21 – The WSJ pans Chris Dodd for, among many other things, deriding critics of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as alarmists. I’d laugh if it weren’t for the tragedy of the thing.

7/22 – CT-02, the closest race in the country in 2006, is rated safe for Democrats.

7/24 – Lee Whitnum misses a filing deadline. Geez!

7/25 – Democratic ranks swell with new voters.

7/25 – The Greenwich Time decides to be idiots.

7/29 – Lee Whitnum, at a debate with Jim Himes, says: “I say we give the Taliban back their country.” Everyone takes a moment to marvel at the statement.

7/30 – Laura Bush stops by to raise money for David Cappiello. …Washington outsider!

7/31 – Rumors swirl about Joe Lieberman being John McCain’s running mate. And how would things have changed if he had been?

August

8/4 – Republican Al Adinolfi uses a suspiciously familiar logo:

Classic.

8/6 – Lee Whitnum makes a campaign commercial. It’s not good.

8/12 – Primary Day. Results thread here. Whitnum, to her surprise, is annihilated by 60%. At least she sold some books, right? In general, endorsed candidates and incumbents tended to win.

8/14 – The budget surplus is said to be over $80 million. Ah, those were the days.

8/14 – Allegations of voter registration fraud in Bridgeport surface. Whatever happened to that story?

8/20 – The campaign on both sides of the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention draws financial support.

8/20 – It’s learned that Joe Lieberman will speak at the GOP convention. Everyone pretends to be surprised by this.

8/21 – Chris Shays speaks well of Obama in an ad.

8/22 – Special session on energy. Home heating aid passes both houses.

8/25 – Chris Shays shows up at a Himes press conference, and stands around looking angry. No, he really did.

8/26 – Rep. Rosa DeLauro reports from the Democratic convention in Denver.

8/30 – The political world explodes as John McCain picks Sarah Palin as his running mate. Jodi Rell initially likes the choice.

September

9/1 – The Connecticut delegation is attacked by protesters at the RNC.

9/2 – Joe Lieberman speaks at the RNC, sparking calls for retribution from Democrats. That retribution eventually boils down to losing a minor committee chair and a stern letter.

9/6 – John Larson delivers the Democratic radio address on energy issues.

9/8 – As the deficit for 2009 grows, Gov. Rell wants to focus on spending cuts to fix it, rather than tax increases.

9/9 – In a move that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads, longtime campaign manager Maura Keaney hires Dana Houle to replace her. Keaney remains with the Himes campaign.

9/12 – Gov. Rell steps into the judicial process as the GPS unit tracking the only criminal ever to be released from prison into a swanky suburb says he stepped outside his yard for fifteen minutes. It’s later determined that the unit malfunctioned, but not before Rell wrote a letter to the chief state’s attorney demanding his re-incarceration.

9/14 – Chris Shays suggests bringing home most troops from Iraq by the end of 2009. [checks date on post] Yup, September in an election year.

9/15 – Financial collapse. The campaign shifts from energy to economy as Wall Street collapses.

9/16 – Sean Sullivan steps in the same cow pie as John McCain by insisting that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. It turns out that they aren’t.

9/17 – Chris Dodd was apparently for the sale of Bear Sterns before he was against it.

9/21 – The Himes campaign releases an internal poll showing the race even.

9/23 – As the economic crisis continues, the state’s budget deficit grows.

9/24 – State Democrats table a motion to kick Joe Lieberman out of the party.

9/26 – A poll shows both Dodd and Lieberman with high unfavorable ratings.

9/26 – Gov. Rell endorses a constitutional convention.

9/28 – John Rowland supports Chris Murphy’s re-election bid.

9/29 – The bailout bill fails in the House. Joe Courtney is the lone member of the delegation to vote against it, citing the lack of any sort of useful plan for the money. He draws criticism for his vote, but it turns out he was right.

October

10/1 – New voter registrations continue to surge.

10/1 – Jim Himes continues to raise record sums.

10/3 – The bailout passes. Joe Courtney still votes no. He’s still right. David Cappiello releases an ad hitting Chris Murphy for supporting the bailout.

10/6 – John Larson and Joe Visconti hold a very enlightening debate. Chris Dodd takes some hits, as is the case in many debates which don’t directly involve him.

10/7 – Lesson to campaign spokesmen: Never post unflattering things about your candidate or the state you’re running in on a publicly-available Twitter feed.

10/10 – Connecticut’s Supreme Court rules that gay couples be allowed to marry. For a brief moment, there are three states that allow same-sex marriage. The reaction to the decision is a resounding “we have bigger fish to fry.”

10/12 – Jim Amann doesn’t see the need for a special session to deal with the deficit. He changes his tune later.

10/14 – 53% support the decision to allow same-sex marriage.

10/14 – Chris Shays gets testy at his debates with Jim Himes. It’s clear he doesn’t really like his opponent.

10/16 – SUSA shows Himes pulling ahead of Shays.

10/16 – When asked if he was planning to make his mortgage documents public any time soon, Chris Dodd says no.

10/17 – Sean Sullivan releases a TV ad. It has a nautical theme and is awful.

10/18 – Someone leaves documents with the Torrington Register-Citizen showing that Rep. George Wilber (D) settled a sex abuse lawsuit. A furor erupts, as do calls for Wilber to resign.

10/20 – Wilber resigns.

10/21 – Sullivan and Courtney (and a Green Party candidate) debate in Enfield. Sullivan does all right at the debates, but can’t save his sinking campaign.

10/22 – Chris Dodd says he isn’t hiding anything by keeping his mortgage documents under wraps, but is only waiting for the Senate ethics committee to finish its investigation.

10/22 – Sullivan releases a radio ad with a foghorn sound in it!

10/23 – Larry Sabato changes CT-04 to “leans Dem.”

10/29 – Gov. Rell asks for help from the public to solve the budget crisis. Whatever happened to this? It was a great idea. Did she ever use any of the suggestions people gave her?

10/29 – Lieberman and Dodd continue to sink in polls.

10/29 – Himes loans money to his campaign.

10/30 – A poll finds strong support for a constitutional convention. …Yeah.

November

11/1 – Rep. Wilber is replaced by a write-in candidate on the ballot, and that candidate is endorsed by the Torrington paper.

11/3 – Record numbers of new voters.

11/4 – ELECTION DAY! At last. Turnout is heavy, though it never gets to the 90% the SOTS predicts.

Barack Obama wins Connecticut, and the presidency.

Chris Shays loses a narrow race to Jim Himes.

Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney both win big (Courtney wins every town in his district).

The constitutional convention is soundly defeated.

Democrats increase their majority in the House and Senate. The supermajority returns.

11/5 – Chris Shays says he’s done with politics. We’ll see.

11/7 – Chris Donovan will be the next speaker.

11/8 – John Larson moves up in the House leadership. He’ll become the highest-ranked House member from Connecticut since the 1930s.

11/10 – Barack Obama helps save Joe Lieberman from losing his committee chairmanship.

11/11 – It’s learned that the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald could shut down in January if a buyer is not found.

11/12 – Same-sex couples in Connecticut may start to marry.

11/12 – Huge budget problems loom for 2010-11.

11/17 – Dan Malloy will run for governor, unless Richard Blumenthal does. And maybe even then.

11/18 – Lieberman keeps his chairmanship as many Democrats fume.

11/23 – Ned Lamont for governor? You never know.

11/23 – Special session. Bottle deposits are an issue, but the bill dies. The General Assembly cut a little teeny bit from the budget, and went home satisfied.

Not cut: Rob Simmons. But only just.

11/25 – Now Joe Lieberman thinks Barack Obama is great.

11/30 – Malloy announces he’ll run for mayor again in Stamford.

December

12/2 – Chris Dodd lags behind other Senate Democrats in fundraising.

12/3 – Gov. Rell has a bad press day as one story alleges that she’s an absentee governor, while another exposes a rift between the governor and the state GOP.

12/8 – John DeStefano thinks about 2010. Maybe he should think again.

12/10 – Chris Shays’ campaign manager is suspected of fraud. Hey, did he ever come back from Bhutan?

12/13 – Following the Blagojevich scandal, John Rowland gives Blago some advice on pal Mike Huckabee’s TV show.

12/17 – Gov. Rell wants a special session for January 2nd.

12/17 – Democrats send Joe Lieberman a stern letter as punishment for his crimes.

12/18 – Jim Himes pushes Chris Shays for head of the Peace Corps.

12/18 – Rosa DeLauro’s name is floated for Secretary of Labor. She doesn’t get it.

12/20 – Rob Simmons leaves state government. Is he getting ready for something else?

12/29 – Nope, no special session in January!

And that’s just about it. It’s been a great year for political junkies. Up soon: predictions for the new year!

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