The picture for the elections in November is much clearer this morning. After months of advertising (some of it nasty) and millions of dollars spent, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy rode the momentum of the last two months to the Democratic nomination for governor.
Of all the candidates, Malloy has the most momentum, trailing by three points in the last poll, Malloy—buoyed by an effective staff and successful strategic moves—crushed rival Ned Lamont, 58% to 42%. Malloy will now get another round of public financing. And he’ll need it. He now faces Greenwich multimillionaire and former ambassador Tom Foley who hung on to beat Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele and Oz Griebel.
Malloy is in a similar situation in the general election: Tested and experienced in government versus successful businessman with no elective experience. Lamont has pledged to help Malloy any way he can. However, it will be difficult to have any credibility to praise Malloy when you’ve spent the last three months implying he is a crook. Lamont should fade back into the private sector and hopefully not turn into a Billy Curry-like reminder of numerous unsuccessful runs who won’t just go away.
Malloy’s victory also raises the bigger question of whether there is a new breed of leadership taking over the Democratic party in Connecticut. Don’t forget, current leaders like state Senate President Don Williams, state Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano (who himself was on the losing end of this race in 2006) and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, all backed Lamont (I don’t have an answer as to why). Meanwhile, state Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney of New Haven, state Sens. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and Andrea Stillman of Waterford, state Reps. Chris Caruso and Jack Hennessey all went against the grain and backed Malloy. Changes coming?
For his part, Foley’s first task should be to get his own party in the fold. Getting only 42% of Republicans’ support in the primary, he needs to corral those who voted for Fedele and Griebel. Not getting at least 50% in a primary victory is not a good sign for Foley.
In the GOP primary for US Senate, Linda McMahon fulfilled expectations by beating Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff. Simmons will have to live with the question of whether he would have been the nominee had he not let his bruised ego get the better of him when he deactivated his campaign after failing to win the convention endorsement.
The McMahon-Richard Blumenthal race will be a nationally watched cage match with plenty of negative ads. Both have the financial resources to make this a real fight.
The Shad had all but one of the races pegged fairly well. I was surprised the margin of Malloy’s win but was totally wrong on the Martha Dean-Ross Garber race. I thought Garber would win. He got rocked 60% to 40%. Dean now meets Democrat George Jepsen, the former state senate majority and party chairman, There is quite a stark contrast between these two. Jepsen is a solid Democrat; Dean thinks the Second Amendment allows Connecticut to become a scene out of “Silverado.” And for goodness sake, don’t touch her lawn signs.
Congratulations are in order to the winners and those that fell short. Running for public office is an endeavor most people wouldn’t even consider.