POLITICAL EYES ON THE CONVENTIONS

After canvassing town committees looking for support and endorsements, candidates for office in the fall elections are now eyeing the nominating conventions as the next big step in the process. Delegates from across the state will gather in a couple of weeks to vote for candidates including those for governor. In the past, conventions have ranged from stately, pro forma affairs to outright nasty floor battles.

The Republicans will gather on the 22nd and unlike other years in which there were little to no contested nominations, this year could actually be exciting with battles for US Senate and governor up for grabs.

It seems one can’t turn on the TV without seeing Senate candidate and former pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon hitting the red button to stop the revolving door representing Washington, DC. The spots ran during many of the Sunday morning public affairs shows both local and national. McMahon’s chief rival, former Congressman Rob Simmons has yet to run any TV ads and seems to be relying on name recognition from being in congress and from past elections; or he simply decided to save his money. Simmons has said he would “respect the convention’s wishes.” It would seem to depend on the percentage of the vote he gets to determine whether he goes to a primary (assuming he gets the delegate support to qualify). McMahon seems to have “The Big Mo’” (momentum) with climbing poll numbers and increasing town committee endorsements. Nearly every RTC endorsement she gets mentions “the resources” she has, re: wheel-barrel full of cash available at a moment’s notice.

The Republican nomination for governor is also up for grabs. Businessman and former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley is running TV ads and leads in the polls but Lt. Governor Mike Fedele is still battling and economic development expert Nelson “Oz” Griebel is the wild card. Things got more intriguing over the weekend as Griebel picked up the endorsements of state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and popular state Senator Andrew Roraback. Roraback is also a candidate for attorney general. The Shad has downplayed the importance of endorsements to the voting public, but in this case, it could give Griebel some traction going into the convention.

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The Democrats are readying their forces for a possible floor fight for the nomination for governor between businessman Ned Lamont and former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy. Malloy has the advantage as his campaign successfully secured the nomination in 2006, beating out New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. DeStefano won the primary and then got whipped by Jodi Rell in the general (DeStefano last week endorsed Lamont). So Malloy’s people have been through this before and could win it on the first ballot. Lamont, however, leads in the polls and has that aforementioned wheel barrel of cash to roll out for a primary. Political junkies are waiting for this one which takes place on the 21st and 22nd.

The race for the Democrats’ nominations for attorney general and secretary of state are also contested. Now that Susan Bysiewicz has been ruled eligible for the office, she is the favorite but is being challenged by former state Senate Majority Leader and party chairman George Jepsen and state Rep. Cam Staples. Jepsen remains popular despite being out of the public eye for some time. Bysiewicz though, is known for her tenacity—some say ruthlessness—in seeking an office.

The office of secretary of state, being vacated by Bysiewicz after 11 years, is an interesting race with state Senator Jonathan Harris and state House Majority Leader Denise Merrill the main combatants. Harris, the former mayor of West Hartford, is extremely popular with those that know him as a tireless legislator and consensus builder. Harris is personally engaging and universally well-liked which plays an important role in securing the support of convention delegates.

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Most people pretty much freak out when they’re in a car accident. The freak out is in another stage if one hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But it’s a whole new level of panic when the person you run down is your lord and savior.

Such was the case in Northampton, Massachusetts when 20-year old Brittany Cantarella hit a man in a crosswalk. Police responded, helped the man, checked his identification and were surprised to learn his name was in fact, Lord Jesus Christ. No word on how Cantarella’s parents responded. She was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The Shad can only think that Lord Jesus Christ (who was OK) forgave her.