STATE GOP—IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, GET ‘EM OFF THE BALLOT

It would have been nice to start this morning’s edition of The Hanging Shad with, “Now that the dust has cleared….” But that’s not going to happen because the dust is by no means clear. In fact, it may be thicker than ever after a day that had even the most grizzled political veterans in the state shaking their heads.

As The Shad exited the new NBC Connecticut television studios after an appearance on the 5:30 pm newscast, a moment of clarity hit as I tried to sum up the crazy day in politics in a single thought. I was left with this: If the Republicans spent a fraction of the time running successful campaigns and candidates as they do trying to get opponents off the ballot, we’d have some interesting races.

To be sure, Richard Blumenthal’s wounds are self-inflicted. He admitted as much in a nationally televised news conference at which he also said he regrets misspeaking but stands on his record. Republican state party chair Chris Healy has started a petition drive to get Blumenthal to quit. If you can’t beat ‘em…. Blumenthal isn’t going anywhere and he’ll likely win the seat.

Early yesterday, the campaign of Republican US Senate candidate Linda McMahon boasted on its website that they were responsible for getting the damaging evidence on Blumenthal to the New York Times. The campaign later took down the claim. That bit of information came from none other than the campaign of Rob Simmons who is competing with McMahon for the GOP nomination.

McMahon’s role in all of this is a bit ironic given the fact that the closest she’s ever been to the military is Sergeant Slaughter. Her campaign leaked the dirt on Blumenthal and then couldn’t decide whether they wanted credit for it.

*

As if the Blumenthal circus wasn’t enough, the state Supreme Court late yesterday came out with its decision in the case of Susan Bysiewicz who has spent nearly all of her time in this election cycle simply trying to get on the ballot for attorney general.

In a unanimous decision, the Court reversed a lower court judge and ruled Bysiewicz is not eligible for the office which requires 10 years of “active practice” in the law. She is therefore, off the ballot. The appeal to the higher court came from the state Republican party. If you can’t beat ‘em…. Ah, but what will they do about popular and capable former state Senate Majority Leader George Jepson? He has been running hard for AG, building support and getting his name out. He will likely breeze to the nomination at the convention this weekend.

And how’s this for an added twist? Now that Bysiewicz is out, well-known Republican and attorney Ross Garber might be in. He is Bysiewicz’ brother- in-law! We know he has the 10 years (his clients have included John Rowland). It will make for some interesting holidays.