This has been a week of shifting ground in Connecticut politics. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal began the week Tuesday with his not altogether unexpected announcement that he would be staying out of the race for governor next year.
The week will be framed by Jodi Rell's announcement later today that she will seek a full term. In between, Democrats have been reacting to the new political reality that Blumenthal will run to retain his seat as AG.
First came several dropouts. Rep. Evelyn Mantilla and John Nussbaum both announced that they would be withdrawing from the Secretary of the State race. They probably remained in the race up to now hoping that current SOTS Susan Bysiewicz, who withdrew from the governor's race last month, would run for AG should Blumenthal run for governor. Unfortunately for them, it looks like Bysiewicz and Blumenthal will stay right where they are.
Today, Democrats are starting to line up behind the two remaining gubernatorial candidates: specifically, behind John DeStefano. According to a press release from the DeStefano campaign, the following Democrats are backing their man:
Endorsing DeStefano today are Ansonia Mayor James Dellavolpe, Derby Mayor Marc Garofalo, East Hartford Mayor Tim Larson, Westbrook Mayor Tony Palermo, and Bethany First Selectwoman Derrylyn Gorski.
Add Rosa DeLauro, the mayor of Manchester and two unions to this list, and it's obvious that DeStefano is still the front runner-presumptive. Malloy, who has recieved relatively few endorsements up to this point, has a climb in front of him.
All is not rosy for the DeStefano campaign, however. News of some filing irregularities, which are being investigated, and a fiscal quarter in which they were outraised by Dan Malloy means that they still have a fight ahead of them. A protracted primary struggle could be in the works for the first time since 1994, when Bill Curry defeated John Larson for the nomination.
Blumenthal had the potential to be an overwhelming consensus candidate. A DeStefano/Malloy primary could leave the Democrats divided heading into the last two months of the election. We'll see if either John DeStefano or Dan Malloy unite Democrats the way Richard Blumenthal would have. As it stands, Jodi Rell enters the race tonight against a Democratic Party that has the potential to be divided, and whose strongest candidate is not running against her. It's not a bad position to be in.