SEN. JOAN HARTLEY AS DAN MALLOY’S RUNNING MATE?

As The Hanging Shad as mentioned before, speculation is a favorite game for political junkies. As with many things, when a rumor rushes around the state Capitol and in certain political circles, there is usually at least something to it. The latest is the possibility that Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy may turn to state Sen. Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) as his running mate in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. If such preliminary discussions have not been had (and the Malloy folks insist they haven’t), Malloy would be wise to eventually have them. Malloy is, of course, assumed to running for governor although he has not formally declared. Such is also the case with Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, state Sen. Gary LeBeau (D-East Hartford) and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi. Former House Speaker Jim Amann (D-Milford) is the only formally declared candidate.

For Malloy, such speculation would give new meaning to word “premature.” He has not even formally declared and is still Stamford’s busy mayor. Clearly there are other attractive names out there to kick around. But Hartley makes infinite sense. As people who have been in the rooms in campaigns know, names are routinely discussed, if informally.

Hartley is a five-term state senator and is extremely popular in her part of the state—the Waterbury, Middlebury area. She is a moderate Democratic (like many of the voters in the state). In the Senate Democratic caucus, she often goes against the grain and votes with Republicans. That gives caucus leadership and staff headaches but her positions are likely to be popular statewide (again, full disclosure: The author of the HS worked with Sen. Hartley for a number of years). The traditional head-butting with her caucus matters not when it comes to a statewide election. This is not to imply she isn’t well-liked among her peers. She very much so is; and respected by everyone at the Capitol. What matters is whether she can sell statewide and complement Malloy. And the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Despite what some people who need to get out the Capitol now and again think, Hartley would be a great choice particularly if Gov. Rell decides to run again. She is not disdained—she’s even admired—by many Republicans and would be an easy sell to independents. Smart and independent herself, she would be comforting to those who may think Malloy a bit too liberal. Hartley herself couldn’t be reached yesterday but it is easy to assume she certainly isn’t seeking the position.
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Dautrich-gate update: Yesterday’s HS categorized Rell administration spokesman Rich Harris as “clamming up” when it came to explaining new evidence uncovered by The Day’s ace reporter Ted Mann that shows UConn professor Ken Dautrich used graduate students to conduct two additional focus groups for Gov. Rell’s political benefit. The governor herself has insisted only one such exercise was undertaken and no mention of students. There is still no explanation on that.

Mann also reported that the governor’s office did not fully comply with initial requests for public records. Missing were a handful of e-mails from Rell Chief of Staff Lisa Moody to Dautrich. Harris didn’t “clam up” on that. He said that the Moody e-mails had been withheld inadvertently because the governor’s staff had not correctly used the “Find” function in the Outlook e-mail program when complying.

Yeah, and the kid was in the balloon.
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Republican US Senate candidate Linda McMahon launches a TV ad blitz today just as President Barak Obama hits our fine state to help out the re-election bid of US Sen. Chris Dodd. The spot can be seen at Christine Stuart’s popular site, www.ctnewsjunkie.com . Ironically, WWE Friday Night Smackdown airs tonight at 8 pm, locally on WCTX-TV. Your cable guide will tell that the participants “scheme, plot and battle”— on the wrestling show that is.