Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rell Planning a Run

No surprise here.

Rell convened a series of strategy sessions this week and offered at least one operative a role in a campaign for governor in 2006, the first concrete signs that Rell will seek election to the office she assumed July 1, 2004, upon the resignation of John G. Rowland.

On Friday afternoon after a speech in Stamford, Rell told reporters for the first time that her mind is set about 2006 - though she declined to elaborate. (Pazniokas)

Put those two together, and we should have an announcement some time next week.

That's when the questions will begin, such as:

1. How will she raise enough money, considering the head start her Democratic opponent will have? Does she have to raise a lot of money to win?

2. What is her economic plan for the state? Is there one?

3. Will hard core conservatives accept her? Will it matter?

4. Will the national party campaign for her? Will we see her alongside President Bush?

5. Will public perception of her change now that she is actually running for something? How will Governor Rell be different from Candidate Rell?

And so on. I think we can assume at this point that Richard Blumenthal and Kevin Sullivan are not running, and that Gov. Rell's likely opponent will either be Dan Malloy or John DeStefano. DeStefano looks like the front-runner at this point, but that could change.

It will be interesting to see what form the announcement will take, when it comes. It will also be interesting to see what sort of web presence she will establish.

The most pressing question for the governor at present is whether she'll be able to translate her current high approval ratings into votes next November. She begins in excellent position, but thirteen and a half months are an awful lot of time for that to change.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Rell's Eye Is On The Prize." Hartford Courant 24 September, 2005.


Moderate Republican said...

Genghis-- as usual, great questions. Here are my answers:

1) She does have to raise a lot of money, and it will come easily. She is an incumbent, popular governor-- people will be lining up to give. Even without any special interest money, there are enough wealthy Republicans out there who can write $2,000 checks.

2) You have hit on her key weakness. Rell needs to define WHY she wants to be Governor. Her popularity stems from WHO she is, not any vision for the state. If she doesn't lay one out, she opens the door for a DeStefano to define the campaign. If she does, I think she is a shoo-win.

3) Social conservatives will accept her-- they have come to accept the fact that the far right just can't win in CT. It's the economic conservatives-- particularly Fairfield County ones-- who might be angry. I have heard they are mad about the estate tax, and might hit on their hands this election. (Hence potentially complicating what should be an easy fundriasing season).

4) National party will stay out of CT, except for maybe some $$ behind the scenes if race appears close. Bush would hurt her more than help her in the state.

5) Her poll ratings can only go down, but that is ok. You only need to win with 51%, not 80%.

Genghis Conn said...

Moderate Republican,

I do wonder what her overall theme for her run will be. "Stay the course?" A sense of economic crisis could undermine something like that.

The two branches of the hard right very much dislike her, not only for her social stances (i.e., she signed the civil unions bill) but for the way she has raised taxes and spent money. However, strong support from independents, which currently exists, would easily counterbalance that.

Ideologically, Rell will try to stake out the vast middle ground, pushing DeStefano (assuming he is the nominee) to the left. DeStefano will be strong on the left and try to convince the center to move his way, isolating Rell on the right.

A Malloy-Rell fight would see both camps trying to take up as much of the middle as possible.

Moderate Republican said...

The religious righters I know say they will still support her despite civil unions....they thing if a Dem gets in there we will have full-blown gay marraige. They all wish they lived (at least politically) in Alabama, but since they live in CT they accept political reality.

Also, the religious right is a tiny sliver of the CT electorate, whereas I would venture to say the true hard-core economic right is up to 10% of the people actually voting.

I agree with your analysis of positioning on the "left-right" spectrum.

Franks said...

Rell will raise more money than her opponent, but I doubt that money will be the deciding factor in 2006.

Rell's best option, wouold involve Malloy and DeStefano engaging in an aggressive campaign against each other and weaken their appeal to identify themselves to voters.

Blumenthal has not declined, so should not be counted out, unless Rell begins a major fundraising efforts.