However, a Republican candidate has finally popped up in Cheshire. The registrar of voters of that town, former race car driver Richard Abbate, has declared his candidacy for Secretary of the State. His platform?
The former race car driver is about to run on a we-know-what-running-an-election-really-entails platform. He feels that Susan Bysiewicz, the current secretary of the state, doesn't know what it's like to run a local election, and that the office needs someone with his experience. (Porter)
Interesting. Actual policies to follow, I assume. However, he's counting on a big boost from Governor Rell to help him out, and is a bit hesitant to run if she isn't leading the ticket:
Technically, Abbate hasn't filed papers with the secretary of the state's office, yet. He's waiting for Gov. M. Jodi Rell to officially declare her candidacy, which he expects will happen next month. He doesn't want to be a "lone ranger" candidate.
"If in fact Jodi decided not to run, I'd have to take a look at who is going to be at the top of the ticket," Abbate said. "I'm not interested in being Don Quixote tilting at windmills. I suspect it will be Governor Rell." (Porter)
I wonder if that sense of doom about the possibility of Rell not running is pervasive in the state party? I can't blame them for that, either, I suppose. They have an extremely short bench, and no statewide elected officials other than Rell herself. But what Abbate said here speaks volumes about the weakness of the state Republicans.
So far Abbate has the Republican field all to himself, in contrast with a very crowded Democratic side. I wouldn't be surprised if no other challengers emerged. The last Republican Secretary of the State was Pauline Kezer, who ran for governor in 1994 (she was defeated in the primary by John Rowland) and left office in January 1995. Before that, Democrats held the post from 1959, when Ella Grasso took that office, to 1991, when Julia Tashjian left it (for reference, there's a nice list on the Secretary of the State's site). Abbate faces a very steep uphill climb, indeed.
Porter, Caroline D. "Abbate ready to enter race for secretary of the state." Meriden Record-Journal 19 July, 2005.