Friday, June 17, 2005

Sullivan (Most of the Way) In

As Ebpie noticed in the Open Forum, there is an article in today's Courant about Lt. Gov. Sullivan gingerly dipping his toe into the governor's race. Ebpie is also correct that Sullivan is far behind the other three declared candidates in fundraising, and may have difficulty catching up.

That's putting it mildly. I don't think there are many Democrats out there who are excited about the prospect of Sullivan running for governor. He did little to endear himself to Democratic voters when he was President Pro Tem of the Senate, and he's been something of a nonentity since being consigned to the Lt. Governorship, popping up only once in a while to criticize the governor before vanishing again. When Jodi Rell was Lt. Gov., she at least had that public access cable show.

Here are some choice tidbits from the article:

"What this means is I have an absolutely clear deck," Sullivan said Thursday of his ability to run for governor. "I am leaning very strongly in that direction."
...
"If Dick Blumenthal runs, that's going to define the race," Sullivan said. "Everyone goes away if it's Dick Blumenthal." (Pazniokas)

He's the only candidate to admit that Blumenthal, if he were to run, would have a huge advantage over other candidates. Right now Blumenthal is the elephant (donkey?) in the room for everybody else.

Rell, who turned 59 on Thursday, said she is not likely to announce her plans until after a vacation in July. The governor is hugely popular, but she has yet to assemble a campaign team or otherwise signal her intentions. (Pazniokas)

In this she kind of reminds me of George Bush the Elder, who was also loathe to assemble a campaign team or even think about the 1992 election because he wanted to focus on governing (see James Carville and Mary Matalin's book All's Fair : Love, War, and Running for President). Of course, his reluctance to focus on campaigning and his inability to campaign effectively cost him the election. I could see Rell being similarly uncomfortable with the concept of a long campaign, but she has a knack with the media and the public that George Sr. lacked.

As for Sullivan... right now his chances don't look good. One gets the feeling that he's running because he really isn't sure what else to do.

Source
Pazniokas, Mark. "Sullivan Clears Way To Run For Governor." Hartford Courant 17 June, 2005.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it is true but I've heard that Blumenthal will be announcing for Governor in early July. Personally,I will be shocked if he actually runs.

Genghis Conn said...

Same here, anonymous!

Becky DeStefano for CT said...

Hey - Mayor DeStefano has commented on the article over on his blog - CHECK IT OUT!
www.destefanoforct.com

UConnHuskies07 said...

Honestly, what else is more obvious than the blatant opportunistic actions of Kevin Sullivan and Dick Blumenthal. I mean, by now, we know the 3 Democrats that actually want to run for Governor: Susan Bysiewicz, John DeStefano and Dan Malloy. Despite the differences between these 3, they actually all want the job. For an ineffective Lieutenant Governor who no one really knows anything about to throw his name in the ring right now is just a sign of his opportunistic tendencies. Kevin Sullivan wants to be Governor because he wants to be Governor. He doesn't want to be Governor to make lives better for the people of Connecticut.

I checked Mayor DeStefano's blog, and he just posted an entry himself talking about this issue. I think he makes a good point about the "finger in the wind" politicians, such as Kevin Sullivan, who run for their own ambitions rather than for Connecticut's future. People should really think about that. If someone really wants the job, they should've gotten in the race a long time ago.

That goes the same for you, too, Mr. Blumenthal.

FrankS said...

Genghis, I thought Perot's involvement drew enough support from Bush to give Clinton the advantage, but other events like Bush's lip reading offer and the economy played into Clinton campaign and Bush's defeat.

I wonder, if Blumenthal doesn't run and Sullivan gains the committment of likely Hartford area delegates he may well attempt to broker an endorsement for an office in 2006. Sullivan is stating the obvious in his comments about Blumenthal, he seems to be involved in so many issues around the state.

DeStefano may well be the better candidate amoung the declared people, but he can little afford reporting like last weeks article on return of campaign money to identify him in areas of the state where he is unknown.

It should make for an interesting summer.

Genghis Conn said...

FrankS,

Perot was able to draw off that much support because Bush was such an awful and reluctant campaigner, really. I mean, the guy had a 90% approval rating or something like it immediately following the First Gulf War, but he lost it all within eighteen months.

Bush Sr. was stilted and awkward during debates, couldn't handle the media, seemed disconnected from real life at times, and led an unfocused campaign at best. The death of Lee Atwater threw the Bush camp into chaos (and shows just how important Atwater was in 1988), and they never really recovered.

Steve said...

The thing about Blumenthal as a candidate is that he has little or no interest in actually being governor. He simply wants the job so he can put it on his resume and then move on to other things. The job of governor should never be a "consolation prize." Instead, it should be a job held by someone who truly believes he (or she) can change the state and help attain the level of national leadership that is so close within our grasp. Dick Blumethal doesn't want to be governor, Dick Blumenthal wants to be on the Circuit court or Dodd/Lieberman's job.

Genghis Conn said...

Steve,

Agreed about Blumenthal.

I wonder if we take it for granted that he'd do well in an actual political contest... He has high name recognition and seems popular, but would he hold up in a real race?

FranksS said...

Genghis,

Bush in 1988 was still living off the Regan years and yes he was popular during the Gulf War, when there was little disagreement on supporting that effort, but in the 1992 election, Perot received 19% of the popular vote (but no electoral votes), making him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt. Perot managed to finish ahead of one of the two major party candidates in two states: In Maine, a Bush homestate, Perot received 30.44% of the vote to Bush's 30.39% (Clinton won Maine with 38.77%); In Utah, Perot received 27.34% of the vote to Clinton's 24.65% (Bush won Utah with 43.36%). These results are more that just a bad campaign by Bush. It was Nader's affect on Gore in reverse, but in more than one state.

I maybe wrong, but hasn't Blumenthal had the highest voter support of all candiates in recent elections.