If average voters were asked how they would describe Ned Lamont’s candidacy for governor, you could get several answers: businessman, Democrat, independent, or some mixture of “all of the above.” But the point is, he keeps changing. And although he still leads in the Quinnipiac poll, the latest poll shows his lead slipping—down to single digits.

In The Shad’s opinion, Lamont’s problem is that he tries image-messaging, sees that it fails and changes it. First, he was the “I’m a businessman; I’ll run the state like a business” candidate—not exactly ideal for Democratic primary voters. Then, it was the “I scared Joe Lieberman last time” candidate. The problem there is despite claims he “changed the way things worked,” he lost that race. And there’s no evidence he changed anything. Lately, he’s taken the head-scratching, Lowell Weicker-plagiarizing, “Nobody’s man but yours,” stance for independence. Again, not exactly a vote-getter for a party primary.

Then there is the problem of the continuing debate-ducking backlash. Lamont bailed out of a schedule debate in New London. Many editorial boards whose newspapers usually sponsor these debates, have been hammering Lamont on the issue and rightly so.

Make no mistake. Lamont is still the frontrunner. But like a marathoner running out of gas, he’s looking over his shoulder.