It’s 17 months before the 2016 presidential election but some high-profile Democrats in the Connecticut—including Gov. Dannel Malloy—are already endorsing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Even before the 1:00 p.m. event, the state party was out with a fundraising appeal based on the endorsement. It’s seems premature to publically back any candidate particularly one who has so much baggage, one with damage that might be insurmountable in the long run.
It’s strange that Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto and others would use what was billed as “2015 municipal campaign kickoff event” to endorse a presidential candidate.
A more logical use for the press conference, held in Hartford, would be to endorse Democratic municipal candidates. When asked about the marquee Democratic municipal contest—Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s bid for reelection against fellow Democrat Luke Bronin—party spokesman Leigh Appleby simply said Clinton would be the only endorsement made by Malloy Sunday.
(Interestingly, Bronin was Malloy’s chief counsel before leaving to run for mayor. A Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, Bronin is a bright and energetic attorney and formidable candidate.)
Regardless of one’s political views, it’s hard not to conclude that Clinton has more than one albatross around her neck. In fact, she has an entire flock. For many Democrats, the whole email/private server situation is enough to question their support for the presumed nominee.
Others are not satisfied with the answers (such as they are) as to what exactly happened in Benghazi. And others still are growing increasingly frustrated with Clinton refusal to engage in open questioning either by the press or by average voters. Perhaps most unsettling for Democrats is the incestuous relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton state department.
Add all those together and you have a damaged candidate who can still almost surely win the nomination (assuming there aren’t more problems to come) but may not be able to win a general election.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting big crowds and at least some attention with his unscripted, spoken approach—almost the anti-Hillary. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb might very well be hanging around not just as alternatives but also in case Clinton implodes.
In an event, it seems quite early for Connecticut Democratic leaders to all-in with Hillary Clinton.