Sometimes one sees a headline and thinks, “That can’t be right,” or “I’m reading that wrong.” But when Tim Herbst is included, it’s not so far-fetched. The half-a-wack job former first selectman of Trumull has a good conspiracy theory going now: former MetroHartford Alliance CEO Oz Griebel is running for governor as an independent to throw the election to Democratic candidate Luke Bronin, the mayor of Hartford.
On its face, it’s just kind of silly—a rather elaborate ruse to make the young Bronin, a protégé of Gov. Dannel Malloy, governor. However, in a deeper sense, it’s highly insulting to Griebel, a respected, former Republican candidate for governor.
Herbst evidence is as thin as his skin. “I could never believe that [Bronin and Griebel] did not have conversations about this,” Herbst told Hearst Connecticut Media. “Oz has given campaign donations to Luke. He has heaped effusive praise on him. This is a coordinated attempt to try to stop a Republican from becoming governor.” Yeah, okay.
Griebel is a legitimate candidate for governor, even as an independent. He could be well-positioned to pull off an upset. The people of the state have severe Malloy fatigue (which doesn’t bode well for Bronin). Democrats, particularly in the state Senate, took a beating last time around and Republicans could be poised to make more inroads if not take control of the state legislature. There are plenty of Republicans willing to work with Griebel.
The Democratic field has no favorite: Middletown Mayor Dan Drew’s missteps still plague him; Bronin is two years into a term trying to salvage a sinking capital city and is anchored (in a bad way) by Malloy; former West Hartford Mayor, state Senator and DCP commissioner Jonathan Harris has the resume but is low-profile; Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is a crook; and former candidate for everything Susan Bysiewicz and “No Mas Ned” Lamont are retreads.
Herbst has his own issues so maybe should avoid hunting a political sasquatch. Yes, he impressed last time around with his near upset of enigmatic state Treasurer Denise Nappier. But since then he has been less than notable. He problems start in his own family with a story worthy of the National Enquirer.
Herbst was also behind the nasty and unsuccessful attacks on a group of Democratic state legislative candidates in 2016. The Hartford Courant described the ads as being “reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad of 1988.” Swell. Just what Connecticut needs—a guy who operates like Lee Atwater.
There are plenty of other reasons why Herbst should concentrate on his own party and avoid seeing boogeymen out to sabotage him. He could start with these: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Stamford Director of Administration Mike Handler, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, former nominee for Secretary of State
Peter Lumaj, businessman and former congressional candidate Stephen Obsitnik, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, businessman Bob Stefanowski, and former United States Comptroller General David Walker. This crew presents various strengths and challenges, not all of them good.
Herbst is not going to be governor so in that sense, chasing ghosts doesn’t really matter. However, when he drags someone the caliber of Griebel into his crazy world, it can be damaging. It needs to stop.