The last couple of days have not been kind to Republican candidate for governor Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. His “running mate” Heather Bond Somers bailed on him when it became clear she might be able to qualify for public campaign funds on her own. (What that says about Somers, we’ll get to in a minute). Boughton didn’t miss a beat (what that says about him we’ll also get to) and is now teamed up with popular Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti. Lauretti decided to drop his bid for governor in favor of trying for the second spot.
This kind of scrambling is not uncommon because in Connecticut, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor don’t run as “tickets” in the primary. The result is a sometimes awkward pairing going into the general election. The only real reason for declaring running mates is to pool the funds raised to qualify for public financing. Why the pooling of funds is allowed doesn’t make a lot of sense to The Shad but the state Supreme Court has ruled on the issue. So the silliness ensues.
The partnership was designed to bring the Boughton campaign geographic and gender balance and most importantly, some needed funding toward qualifying for public financing. For Somers, it brought some notoriety. She may be a household name in Groton but certainly not the rest of the state. She didn’t have any problem soaking up the exposure that came with teaming with Boughton (and it still won’t be enough to beat Penny Bacchiochi who is well known through her years in the legsilature). But when it became clear she could qualify on her own, she bailed.
It may be a pragmatic and politically expedient move on Somers’ part but if she can’t even honor a commitment she made in the campaign, with a fellow Republican, voters should take pause to think about what else she would pitch overboard in favor of ambition. Can we believe anything she says now?
As for Boughton, his quick move to team with Lauretti shows he doesn’t sit and sulk when adversity hits. He moves on and tries to solve the problem. He continues to be the alternative to frontrunner Tom Foley. His “blue collar,” working person’s appeal contrasts nicely with the blue blood Foley who is likely to be tagged as a combination of Linda McMahon and Mitt Romney when Malloy’s people start focusing on him.
All of this jockeying may seem minor and “inside baseball.” But it does say something important about both Boughton and Somers.