Post-Conventions, Exactly What has Changed on Conn. Political Landscape? Not Much

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Besides a Republican candidate’s comeback from an embarrassing racial-accusation mini-scandal and about 100 silly Facebook pictures of people posing with elected officials or new nominees, things are pretty much exactly where we thought they would be before this past weekend’s state political conventions.

Both parties, particularly the Democrats, could have save a whole lot of money by codifying their nominees by mail or the Internet. There has been very little change from where we all expected to be. The GOP nominated 2010 nominee Tom Foley for a rematch with Gov. Dannel Malloy but challengers Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney qualified for a primary—no surprise there.

Dan Dibecella will run against Democratic incumbent Jim (4th congressional district) and the personally wealthy Mark Greenberg will challenge Elizabeth Esty (5nd CD). The other Democratic congressmen seem pretty secure.

So what did we learn from the conventions? Well for one thing, it doesn’t doom a candidate to make a racism charge against a rival candidate. Candidate for lieutenant governor Penny Bacchiochi basically called opponent David Walker a racist. Bacchiochi took it back, apologized and went on to win the nomination.

The only other mini-surprise was that gubernatorial candidate McKinney announced he was teaming up with Walker to form a “ticket” which in Connecticut means only that their fundraising efforts can be joined. Boughton already did it with candidate Lt. Gov. Heather Bond Somers. Beyond the efforts to qualify for public financing, the “teams” mean don’t mean anything because governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. Boughton could end up with Walker or McKinney with Somers—similar situations have happened before. Only the frontrunner Foley has not selected a running mate. He seems able to meet the public financing thresholds by himself.

Moving forward, we may now actually get to see the GOP gubernatorial candidates all together on stage. Foley had refused to participate in any debates or candidates forums until after the convention. Now he has no excuse not to join in the fun.

A big bummer—at least from a material-to-write-about standpoint—was the pre-convention departure of Martha Dean from the Republican race for governor. The heat-packin’ “truther” could have made for many an entry on The Hanging Shad.

Other than Gov. Malloy taking a combative tone, the Democratic Party convention (yawn) was little more than a formality. Malloy, Nancy Wyman (lt. gov.), George Jepsen (attorney general), Denise Merrill (secretary of state), Kevin Lembo (comptroller) and Denise Nappier (treasurer) are back looking for another four-year term.