Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rell Won't Attend GOP Fundraiser

Will Her Absence Hurt Her Next Year?

Governor Rell is going to skip the fundraising part of the Republican Governors' Association regional meeting next Monday in Boston:

Rell, who has given no hints about her plans for 2006, is attending the association's regional meeting next Monday in Boston. But she is leaving before the group's major piece of business: a big-ticket fundraiser. (Pazniokas)

Governors' associations have become serious fundraising machines, and can donate millions to state parties. If Gov. Rell is running next year, this is a can't-miss event, filled with rich executives and lobbyists. So why is she skipping it? There are two possibilities:

1. She isn't running. Why should she go to an event that has no significance for her? While this is certainly a possibility (she hasn't said a word one way or the other) I rather doubt it. My feeling is that she'll decide there's too much business left unfinished to walk away.

2. She doesn't like the company. Here's a description of what the fundraiser would entail:

The Boston Globe reported Monday that donations of up to $50,000 would buy lobbyists, business executives and others a day of "close, casual access" to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and five other Republican governors, culminating in an outing at Fenway Park for a Red Sox game. (Pazniokas)

Governor Rell, according to the Courant, hasn't met with lobbyists since becoming governor (a question: did she meet with them before becoming governor?). It could be that she wants to steer clear of these sorts of people to preserve her image as the prim, ethical, untainted reformer.

Then again, the idea of "close, casual access" time with business executives, lobbyists and other assorted scum may not be her cup of tea. Can't blame her. A schmoozer she ain't, unlike her predecessor, who thrived at events like these.

This, of course, leads to the question of how on earth she's planning to raise significant money if she's running next year. It's hard to imagine that she'll take in much money from traditional sources like, say, lobbyists and contractors--even if they contributed to her she would probably return the money.

This could be one of the unusual races in which a Democratic candidate actually outraises and outspends the Republican, since Democratic candidates (so far) seem to have no compunctions about where their money is coming from. A monetary advantage could either level the playing field and nullify the incumbent advantage--or sink the Democratic candidate entirely, depending on the public's mood. Either way, it isn't going to be a normal race.

Sources
Pazniokas, Mark. "Rell Skips GOP Governors' Fundraiser." Hartford Courant 21 June, 2005.

7 comments:

FrankS said...

Having been at Rowland's side for so many years, Rell can't simply run away from that association, but she is trying very hard too. While I believe she will run for Governor, it seems she is already pushing a different public focus on democrats while looking to distinguish herself on some issues from her opponents, DeStefano's refusal to decline certain campaign contribution played directly into this effort. She is maintaining a highly visible public profile, though her recent day after visit to the site of a fatal fire in Bridgeport borders on pandering, her poll numbers continue to remain high. With Sullivan and DeStefano already going negative on Rell's effort to preserve the submarine base, driving this area of the State to support Rell, she gains by making others appear less appealing.

Genghis Conn said...

FrankS,

You said:
"...she gains by making others appear less appealing".

This is the essence of Rell's victories over the Democrats. She wins by making them look terrible. With foes like Amann and Williams, it isn't hard to do.

Most people don't seem to make a connection between Rell and the Rowland Administration, probably because she was essentially invisible during it.

FrankS said...

Genghis,

Amann and Williams are unknowns and as the Q poll has shown, Blumenthal is the only real challenger, Dodd won't leave the Senate.

What interesting is watching Rell alter her conduct to co-opt Blumenthal. Making a connection to Rowland would probably wait until early 2006, his release date is in February.

stomv said...

I hope Rell runs and wins, and I'm a Dem. At the end of the day, keeping Rell in is OK for the Dems, since it prevents them from getting lazy and complacent, allowing them to keep the majorities in the state congress. Meanwhile, Rell is soooo moderate that she's not going to really stop the Dems from making CT more progressive legislatively. Sure, she might slow 'em down a bit, but that's fine. Sometimes good government must move slowly and surely, and I believe that's what happened in the first half of 2005 in CT. I hope it continues moving that way, and I believe Rell running the show will help CT grow more progressive in the long run.

Ebpie said...

The article in the Courant today gives the impression that she will run in '06. I think Rell will be able to raise a fair amount of money. That being said she probably won't have a huge advantage in campaign funds like Rowland did in '02.

Genghis Conn said...

The article does seem to suggest that. The fundraising issue was brought up, too, but I think you're right in that she'll be able to manage a decent haul.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of fundraising, I hear that mayor DeStefano has just hit the 2 million dollar mark. Did he not say he hit 2 million back in May? Does anyone know whats going on with this?