SUNDAY TALK-TALK: SIMMONS, GARCIA, IMPRESS

The weekend before the biggest primary election in the state in decades featured a number of underdogs with impressive appearances on Sunday TV talk shows. Democratic secretary of state candidate Gerry Garcia, resurgent US Senate candidate Republican Rob Simmons and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Lisa Wilson-Foley are all expected to be defeated on Tuesday if one goes by the polls, party endorsements and conventional wisdom. But they don’t seem to mind the uphill battle and in a way, savor the position.

Former Congressman Simmons was sharp and on point in an interview with Laurie Perez on The Real Story (FOX-61). His decision to deactivate his campaign after chief rival Linda McMahon won the Republican party endorsement was either a stroke of genius or a case of having his bruised ego keep him from being the nominee. While he has avoided the wrath of TV ads that surely would have come from the deep-pocketed McMahon, his re-emergence may simply be too little, too late.

Former New Haven Alderman Gerry Garcia also shined in an interview with Perez and yours truly on The Real Story. He was convincing in his argument that new blood, new ideas and a youthful infusion of energy is needed in statewide offices as he fights a difficult battle with Democratic party-endorsed candidate Denise Merrill. Smart (undergraduate and MBA from Yale), personable, with a good sense of humor (playfully playing on his familiar sounding name), Garcia is very appealing.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is clearly the favorite for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. But successful businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley is still hanging in there, showcasing her multiple, thriving businesses on Channel 3’s Face The State. You may not agree with her positions (and The Shad doesn’t) on privatizing healthcare, but she makes her case fairly well.

Face The State’s host Dennis House was joined by regular political analysts Democrat Duby McDowell and Republican Brian Flaherty (two Shad favorites) as well as Tom Dudchik, a capitol old-timer who runs the very popular political blog, Capitol Report.

Unfortunately, Dudchik used a pretext of humor to trash US Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal. Dudchik said Blumenthal’s campaign was akin to “a bunch [former Gov. Bill] O’Neal-union-types sitting around a table making phone calls on corded phones.” Yeah, hilarious. But also dead wrong. Instead of yucking it up, someone on the panel should have called him on it beyond the tepid response from McDowell. Expect the Blumenthal campaign to kick up substantially after the primary.

Later in the interview, Dudchik curiously said Blumenthal needed “to catch” Republican McMahon should she win her primary Tuesday. Huh? Blumenthal’s lead in the polls has shrunk but he still leads by 10 points. By definition, she needs to catch him. Add a few awkward pauses between the three guests and you have segment that is below the very high standards of the consistently impressive Face The State.