Two days after a new poll showed Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy the least favored Democratic governor in the country, the two-term governor decided to stop the crazy talk about him seeking a third-term. Malloy admitted the writing is on the wall, or in this case, hugely spray-painted on the Capitol gold dome—he won’t run.
I’ll leave the Malloy legacy analysis to others. Suffice it to say The Shad had mixed reviews of the Malloy administration through the years. One lesson that potential successors would be smart to learn is that arrogance catches up to you. Surround yourself with people who are thin-skinned and can’t take criticism and eventually the governed will tire of you.
Let’s look at potential Democratic nominees to succeed Malloy:
• Dan Drew. The Middletown mayor is the only Democrat not to be intimidated by Malloyalists. He didn’t wait for Thursday’s announcement. He didn’t dance along the edges with whimpering of “If Malloy doesn’t run…” Drew piled up success after success in his city and jumped in the race with both feet.
Drew is young, has a beautiful family and is among the most responsive and accessible municipal leaders in the state. Being the only chief executive to form an exploratory committee brings with it some pros and cons. He isn’t a part of the mess made by the Democratic-controlled legislature. But after eight years of Malloy, the voters may be hesitant to elect another mayor. (Malloy was mayor of Stamford.)
• Kevin Lembo. Personally likable, brilliant and accomplished, Lembo has been able to tip toe the line between disagreeing with Malloy on fiscal issues without offending the Malloyists. He distinguished himself as the state health care advocate and work in the comptroller’s office before becoming state comptroller himself.
It would seem natural for Lembo to run now. There really is no need to wait. He has better name recognition than Drew and is respected across party lines. Some bigoted national groups have tried to attack his “family values” as he is openly gay, married and has a beautiful family as well. In progressive Connecticut, any outside attacks on Lembo for anything that doesn’t pertain to his fiscal stewardship of the state works in his favor.
• Ted Kennedy, Jr. Speculation that Kennedy would run for the corner office at the state capital was fueled by a feature article in the Boston Globe about a renaissance among the next generation of the Kennedy political family.
It’s unclear on what issues Kennedy would run other than his name. I’m not of the opinion that the Kennedy name disqualifies one of them but nor does hit qualify anyone. Ted, Jr. is likely to face a barrage of questions of the financing of his last state Senate campaign. Other than that, what’s to highlight?
• Toni Harp. Well, you never know. The New Haven mayor has the only combination of extensive legislative and executive experience having served for years in the state Senate.
She is facing a tougher challenge in her reelection bid in New Haven (the last one could have been run by a robot) but if she wins big, she might consider it.