Quick Thoughts on the Governor's Race

I’m about to head off to North Carolina for a week, but as I was browsing this morning’s news I was struck by a few thoughts on the Governor’s race.

First, I think that the desire to avoid a “bruising primary” on the Democratic side is wrong-headed. I think the creed of all the Democratic campaign managers ought to be that anything that can raise the profile of the Democratic candidates is good for the eventual nominee. After all, in 2006 it wasn’t that DeStefano emerged from the primary too damaged so much as the fact that nobody had noticed that the primary had happened at all. It seems to me that the ideal field for the strict purpose of raising the profile of the candidates and eventual nominee would be Malloy, Bysiewicz, and Lamont.  Malloy’s wonkishness, Byseiwicz’s name recognition, and the media’s interest in Lamont would serve to make the race palatable enough to voters to at least give the candidates a hearing in the doldrums of summer of ’10.

Second, if the budget standoff drags on for very much longer I think that it diminishes Amann’s already admittedly minimal shot at the nomination. Having a Democratic candidate tied to the legislature seems a bit ill-advised in this climate. This fact, coupled with the fact that Amann hasn’t released his fundraising numbers yet, would seem to indicate that he may not be in the race for very much longer.

On the other side of the coin, though, if a perception solidifies that the Governor is dragging her feet in the budget negotiations, then she might come out all the more damaged by the process. Meanwhile, the Democrats would ideally have a candidate completely independent of such things.

Thoughts?

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11 responses to “Quick Thoughts on the Governor's Race

  1. Primaries are good, let the PEOPLE decide instead of party insider delegates.

    As far as

    On the other side of the coin, though, if a perception solidifies that the Governor is dragging her feet in the budget negotiations, then she might come out all the more damaged by the process.

    you can’t be serious!

    The budget of 2009 will be long forgotten by then and will be a non-issue in the 2010 state election. When’s the last time the “budget” was a major campaign issue? There were only two Democrat incumbents who lost in 1992 based on their flip-flop votes in the income tax, Marie Herbst and Kevin Knowles.

    If the Governor continues to hold her line against the Democrats proposed tax increases, she will AGAIN win in a landslide, just look at Chris’ “Governor 2006” map on this site. She will be a hero in the minds of a large majority the people, maybe not the liberal types but certainly by everyone else.

    The only way the Governor will damage herself is if she agrees to tax increases. If she does that, she’ll have to follow Weicker’s lead and not seek reelection and the Democrats can jump for joy win the Governor’s office and control everything. THEN we’ll see “real reform” right? Yeah, I’m looking forward to that! After that there will be no more blaming the big, bad Republicans for the myriad of problems that will come along with no one keeping the lefties in check.

  2. Primaries are good, let the PEOPLE decide instead of party insider delegates.

    Yeah right – Julie Belaga worked out sooo well for us in 86.

  3. The budget of 2009 will be long forgotten by then and will be a non-issue in the 2010 state election. When’s the last time the “budget” was a major campaign issue? There were only two Democrat incumbents who lost in 1992 based on their flip-flop votes in the income tax, Marie Herbst and Kevin Knowles.

    You may be right that it won’t be a primary issue of a campaign a year from now, but if the perception solidifies now, it’ll be easy for a Dem candidate to invoke it in a TV ad or something for a pop.

    She will be a hero in the minds of a large majority the people, maybe not the liberal types but certainly by everyone else.

    The image of Jodi Rell as hero is, I think, a pretty comprehensive misunderstand of the public’s perception of her. Her approval ratings are high precisely because she is neither a hero nor an antihero. She’s seen as levelheaded and staid. That’ll be the image for Democrats to crack and they haven’t even come close yet.

  4. Yeah right – Julie Belaga worked out sooo well for us in 86.

    It’s part of what brought you to where you are today.

    Alan Schlesinger (no primary) was deserted on the altar, but his lopsided defeat doesn’t contribute to any understanding of why the party is what it is in 2009.

    Clinton’s defeat taught Democrats something about what their primary voters think of that kind of war.

    And whatever it was that Belaga did wrong, it sounds like it’s still legendary in your ranks.

  5. Yeah right – Julie Belaga worked out sooo well for us in 86.

    Primary or no primary, the Republicans were NOT going to defeat O’Neill in 1986.

    C’mon Doug, even you know that!

  6. The image of Jodi Rell as hero is, I think, a pretty comprehensive misunderstand of the public’s perception of her. Her approval ratings are high precisely because she is neither a hero nor an antihero. She’s seen as levelheaded and staid. That’ll be the image for Democrats to crack and they haven’t even come close yet.

    Excellent point. I agree that “hero” was probably not the best word to use. I would also add that I believe her approval ratings are high because she’s perceived as not doing anything “wrong.” It seems to me that when any politician is an incumbent and people are relatively happy, they’ll respond positively when asked if they approve or disapprove of the “leader.” However, if there is a cloud of controversy surrounding them (like Chris Dodd) “approval ratings” are severely affected.

    Up until now, Chris Dodd hadn’t really done anything “wrong” and he enjoyed widespread support in the approval rating polls and could not be defeated. That’s no longer the case.

  7. Primary or no primary, the Republicans were NOT going to defeat O’Neill in 1986.

    1. I don’t agree.
    (O’Neill was however an honest decent man.)

    2. Regardless of what happened in November, we would have fared better in many assembly and senate seats had Belaga received just 3 less votes at the convention (she only exceeded the minimum number to force a primary by 2 votes).

    3. Those of us loyal to the original nominee remain largely cohesive and *quiet* – however we have politically dispatched a reasonable number of those responsible for the 1986 disaster.

  8. Just a reminder… the GOP took the Governor’s mansion in 1994 with a plurality – not a majority – of the vote. (Groark, Scott, Zsondzyk & Curry all on the ticket)

    Republicans have been running as the incumbent ever since. Generally, you need a reason to fire an incumbent… and the one time it happened, it was mid-election cycle. The courts acted, so the voters didn’t need to act.

    And another thought crossed my mind. Our AG-4-life may actually be waiting to see how the budget plays out. If Jodi’s numbers drop and Dodd’s improve… for him to wait until Q4 09 to make an announcement could look brilliant.

    Personally, I don’t see both Jodi dropping greatly (possible) and Dodd improving greatly (next to impossible)… but hey… HRC was “inevitable.”

  9. And whatever it was that Belaga did wrong, it sounds like it’s still legendary in your ranks.

    Among other things she promoted bigoted ethnic-based rumors.

    She was amazed when she offered one of her opponents staffers (my 1st wife) a job at a wild pay level, by the staffer’s response which included specific directions to a much warmer climate and exactly how to get there.

    Most active Republicans in central Connecticut voted for O’Neill in 1986.
    Bill wasn’t prone to being shrill; and while we generally disagreed with him he was by no means disgusting pond scum.

    Most Belaga supporters were bigoted scum bags of the worst sort and not worthy of association with decent upright people.
    Not *all* – some were simply confused idiots.

  10. 2. we would have fared better in many assembly and senate seats had Belaga received just 3 less votes at the convention (she only exceeded the minimum number to force a primary by 2 votes).

    I completely disagree Doug. The party lever was still on the machines in 1986 and I still strongly believe that O’Neill was going to win big that year no matter who the Republicans ran for Governor.

    Again, with the party lever still on the machines in 1986 and O’Neill winning big, the Republican legislators were dead men walking. The Senate went from 24-12 to 12-24 in 1986 and the only reason it was 24-12 was from the Reagan landslide in 1984. Back in those days, the PARTY LEVER determined the fate of almost all of the Legislative seats. Back then, they were at the very end of the ballot after Attorney General.

  11. I completely disagree Doug. The party lever was still on the machines in 1986 and I still strongly believe that O’Neill was going to win big that year no matter who the Republicans ran for Governor.

    Clearly you weren’t involved in any campaigns in central CT at the time.

    I can’t tell you how many times I heard this sentiment:
    If he’s not good enough for the Republican Party..they’re not good enough for me, I’m voting straight Democratic……”

    There is no question we would have held the 16th senate seat that year had the top of the ticket not changed on September 9th 1986 – one of the darkest days in the history of the Connecticut Republican Party.

    Set us back with the Italian vote for a decade.

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