Sen. Chris Dodd has announced he won’t be taking Ted Kennedy’s gavel in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, staying chair of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Said Dodd in a press release:
“As you all know, last winter, my friend Ted Kennedy asked me to lead his HELP Committee’s effort to reform our health care system. It was an honor to hold that gavel as we underwent the longest, most thorough markup in committee history, and passed historic legislation that cuts costs, protects patient choice, and guarantees every American access to affordable, quality care.
“We all had hoped that Teddy would be able to come back to see this through. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. But I intend to keep the promise I made. And so, I am pleased that I will able to continue the role he asked me to take on as the HELP Committee’s leader on health care reform.
“But we have important work to do on the Banking Committee, and I intend to see it through as chairman.
Sam Caligiuri seems to think that his campaign was in some way responsible for Dodd’s decision. I have my doubts.
Dodd’s other rivals took the opportunity to send out releases hammering him on his economic record.
With the focus shifting back to Washington, D.C. tonight for the President’s big health care reform speech, the contest for the Republican nomination has gotten a little less ink lately. But that hasn’t slowed the campaigns down a bit.
The Simmons for Senate campaign released the names of six more State Central Committee members who will be supporting Rob Simmons’ candidacy.
“Rob Simmons is the candidate who can lead a Republican Party resurgence in Connecticut and across the nation,” said Jerry Labriola, Jr. of Wallingford, the State Central Committee treasurer and an attorney at the Naugatuck-based law firm of Labriola and Labriola, LLC. “In this most important of election years, Rob is our Party’s best hope. His experience, vision and commitment to Republican principles will make him an outstanding nominee, and a first-rate senator.”
The endorsements bring Mr. Simmons’ list of supportive delegates up to thirty, including 26 of the available 81 State Central Committee Members.
But Simmons isn’t having all the fun. The Harwinton Republican Town Committee announced their endorsement of State Sen. Sam Caligiuri’s candidacy yesterday.
“As Chair of the Harwinton Republican Town Committee, I am pleased to announce that our Committee has voted to endorse State Senator Sam Caligiuri’s candidacy as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate race next year,” Candace Jones-Pacholski announced on Thursday. “We like what Sam is all about. His pledges to serve only two terms, to bring fiscal responsibility to the U.S. Senate, and his thoughtful approach are things we are all looking for in a candidate. And his outstanding record in the State Senate speaks for itself.”
It is impossible to calculate how many Convention votes the endorsement will yield Caligiuri as the delegate slates will not be chosen until next March. Notwithstanding the results from municipal elections, Harwinton will send a four-member delegation to the State Convention in Hartford next May.
Just two percent of the expected 1450 delegates to the State Convention have declared their allegiance at this point. But the Convention vote could easily knock one or more candidates out of the contest – making the endorsement chase a key test of organizational skill and likely support in the future.
Rep. Jim Himes’ health care town hall scheduled for 6:30 pm this evening in Bridgeport has been moved to the Klein Auditorium at 910 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport in anticipation of a big turnout.
Okay Tea Bagger Judy Aron it’s been posted on CTLP. No whining about being victim of a vast left-wing liberal conspiracy, now, ya hear?
State Senator Sam Caligiuri’s bid for the GOP Senate nomination has been viewed as a longshot from its beginning back in March. Questions were raised about how he would raise the funds necessary to compete and how he would expand his profile beyond his Waterbury-based State Senate District.
The 2nd Quarter financial filings seemed to confirm Sen. Caligiuri’s standing as a likely “also ran” candidate as he raised just over $125k compared to former Ambassador Tom Foley’s $530k and former Rep. Rob Simmons’ $750k haul.
But in recent weeks, Team Caligiuri seems to have found its footing. The candidate who was hesitant to criticize Sen. Dodd when questioned by Sean Hannity now is pounding away with a revamped message that received criticism for being too strident in recent days.
Further, the “Sam for US Senate” website has just gotten a fresh coat of paint, complete with far more rhetorical firepower:
Dodd fails to pass any financial services reforms
+ Dodd pleads with the President to “step up” on health care, admitting he cannot offer the leadership required
= Dodd is the right choice to lead health care reform?
As spending money is a strong sign that one has money, Caligiuri’s moves suggest that with the Legislative Session over, he has put his shoulder into fundraising and it has likely paid off.
These positive steps speak well of the still-nascent Caligiuri effort and make it likely that he will be anything but an “also ran” candidate.
The Courant has the story. The opinion is here in PDF format.
Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled that the Citizens’ Election Program is unconstitutional because it violates minor party candidates’ right to participate in the political process, laying out four compelling reasons for his decision:
- CEP grants funds that are beyond historic expenditure levels
- CEP strengthens major party candidates that otherwise would not have the public support or success to run for office
- CEP regulations for a qualifying minor party candidate are impossible
- CEP distribution formula discourages minor party candidates
This ruling creates turmoil for candidates running for office in 2010. Former Speaker Jim Amann, for example, whose campaign is already on life support, claimed that his weak fundraising totals were because he was raising CEP-qualifying contributions.
But he won’t be the only one. The biggest question mark of them all hangs over the head of Governor Jodi Rell. As the Governor who signed CEP into law, she was almost certainly going to participate in the program. What does the Governor do now? Is the change dramatic enough to keep her from running in 2010?
Update: According to the Courant piece, AG Dick Blumenthal is on the case. He indicated to reporters that he will seek a stay of the Judge’s decision and file an appeal.
And the field just gets more crowded. This morning, Dr. John Mertens, Chairman of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, announced that he, too, is going to be running for Senate in 2010.
West Hartford Resident John Mertens will publicly announce his candidacy for the 2010 U.S. Senate Race during a campaign kick-off event & press conference scheduled for September 9, 2009, 6:30 PM, at 271 Park Road, Hartford (the outdoor stage at Lena’s Pizzeria). The event will be followed by music and food.
Dr. Mertens is seeking the nominations of four political parties: the Independent Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party. Dr. Mertens was the Independent Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006. Dr. Mertens has been the chair of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party since March, 2008. (http://www.ctforlieberman.org/)
Accompanying Dr. Mertens at the event will be Mike Telesca, State Agent of the Independent Party, Stephen Fournier, State Co-Chair of the Green Party, and Richard Lion, State Chair of the Libertarian Party.
Hmmm. Wonder if he’ll get the endorsement of his party’s namesake? Oh wait, Joe’s already endorsed Chris Dodd.
The CT Sen 2010 race is where the action is at, apparently. It’s turning into a real free for all.
Speaking to the point I made yesterday in the comments, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
In other words, the day that someone passes away, whether you liked them or hated them, is a period when it’s best to remember what your mother (hopefully) taught you about if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. Allow family and friends time to mourn their loss. Show some respect. Have some class.
Clearly this message was lost on GOP State Sen. and Senate candidate Sam Caligiuri, who wasted no time yesterday trying to score political points against a visibly grieving Chris Dodd.
This from The Hill:
“I am calling on Senator Dodd to decline the position of the HELP Committee Chairman, if it is offered to him,” Caligiuri said in a statement. “He should be finishing the job he has barely started of fixing the financial sector problems that got us into this economic disaster in the first place, and not spending his time promoting ill advised health care legislation.”
“Only in Washington would someone who failed miserably at one crucial job be considered for taking the reins on another important front,” Caligiuri said. “In typical DC fashion, Senator Dodd is all politics all the time, hoping to secure this new post to dust his past failures under the rug and forge ahead with yet more bad legislation.”
Actually, despite not being in DC, it’s Mr. Caligiuri who appears to “all politics all the time”. Because here’s what Senator Dodd actually said in a teleconference earlier yesterday according to a Bloomberg report:
“I’ll wait for a later date to make a decision on which direction to go … I haven’t given that a second worth of thought.”
Politics is an ugly business, and unfortunately it seems to be getting uglier by the day. This is probably a naive hope, but can’t we all make an effort to show a little more class and respect? Ultimately we all love our country and want what is best for it. Unfortunately we disagree, often quite vehemently, about a) what that “best is and b) how to achieve it. But we can choose how to express that disagreement. I’m deeply disturbed by the increasingly hate-filled rhetoric on the airwaves and on the Internet – because words matter. Words can inspire but they can also incite. So please – let’s try to do our part to show more civility on CTLP.