State House Minority Leader Larry Cafero is on his heels (or worse). Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is on his toes (but still part of the legislature). 2010 nominee Tom Foley seems a bit clueless about legislation in general. So who is the big political leader in the fallout from the recent Hartford follies? Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton—just by not being there.
Republicans Cafero, McKinney, Foley and Boughton are all considered contenders for the chance to take on Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy next year. The first three have fumbled the ball while Boughton remains wildly popular in his city and is gaining name recognition across the state.
In the trial of Robert Braddock, finance director for the scandal-plagued congressional campaign of former House Speaker Chris Donovan, one self-proclaimed influential union insider claimed he dropped $5,000 into Cafero’s office fridge like a pound of cube steak. Cafero of course, denied it. But the very fact that he had to deny it and explain what “really” happened irrevocably damages his gubernatorial chances—assuming he had any to begin with. It also led to a nasty hit piece in the Hartford Courant by a fellow Republican. Lights out, Larry. You’re toast.
Foley, on the other hand, may have been on the right track in calling for tougher ethics standards for legislators. But he went about it all wrong and his proposal would have basically purged half the part-time legislature of all its members except the independently wealthy, like, say, Tom Foley. He managed to hack off his own party even if he might have scored some points with the public. Get some experts to write the legislation next time.
McKinney scored some points by calling out Malloy about a trip he made to the White House Correspondence’s Dinner (WHCD) paid for by People magazine. McKinney eventually shamed Malloy into writing a personal check to cover the costs but then continued to try to milk the situation by calling for investigations after the fact.
It is true that Malloy at times tends to have a penchant for Washington, Morning Joe and in this case, Amy Poehler. But in the big scheme of things, is it really that big a deal?
Which leaves us with the aforementioned Mark Boughton. He’s flown above all of this nonsense and can position himself as a Hartford outsider above the fray. The affable mayor has delighted followers with his witty tweets and Facebook posts. But make no mistake, he is a serious policy guy who is also a “people person”—a rare combination.