Friday, October 14, 2005

Blumenthal Fallout

Attorney General's Withdrawl Prompts Endorsements, Dropouts

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.

19 comments:

DeanFan84 said...

Genghis--

Please quit with the smearing of DeStefano. You are once again helping to make something out of nothing.

Nationally, candidates average about a 90% full disclosure rate. This is legal, and expected under the current "best efforts" legislation. (When checks come in with out disclosures, campaign committees are required to make best efforts to collect it from the donors.)

If you can't demonstrate that DeStefano's compliance rate is out of whack, you are out of line to refer to purported "campaign irregularities."

Why do I feel like this whole story has been fabricated and disseminated by the Malloy campaign? The only thing factually surprising is that Malloy's disclosures are so damn near perfect....

BDRubenstein888 said...

1st- any serious political operative would not believe anything a paid staffer says of any campiagn nor anyone who doesnt have the balls to post their real name to a comment.

2nd- While one will presume DeStefano is the PRESUMED frontrunner, remember, endorsements have little value. I am more concerned about his drop off of money raised and the obvious untrained and un-disciplined staff..it looks like amateur hour over there. and i like him over Malloy...but at this time i conceed Malloy has some positive momentum...

Quinn said...

Deanfan,
Nobody's smearing. It's news. It made the front page of the CT section of the Hartford Courant today. Besides all of that, Genghis is not accussing Destafano of anything based on his own analysis, but rather by the very real fact that the state elections commission felt that the numbers were so out of line as to warrant an investigation.

DeanFan84 said...

Quinn--

The question I am asking the blog is if this is really news. Is it?

News "stories" often get planted. Then repeated. (Remember Kerry's supposed "girlfriend"?)

The state election commission had no problems with the original filings. Now that the Hartford Courant has made a "story" out of it, of course they have to look into things.

What I found when I did my five minutes of googling, was that a 10-15% non-compliance rate is simply normal. There is no real news story here.

Isn't it up to sites like this to dig a little deeper and search for real truths?

DeanFan84 said...

BREAKING NEWS:

According to opensecrets.org, the Kerry campaign gave no, or less than full disclosures on a whopping 19.3% of all campaign contributions!

http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/scoffall.asp?cycle=2004

The Kerry campaign's disregard for election law is echoed by the Bush campaign, which collected full disclosures on 92.2% of its contributors.

A local blogger commented, "I'm not sure if the Kerry irregularities represent any actual wrongdoings, but they certainly are odd... Is the Kerry campaign hiding something?"

J. Greely said...

deanfan84,

You make a lot of bold assumptions and assertions. Before comparing Destefano's filings to Kerry's or Bush's you should compare the differences betweeen Federal and State election laws, and be prepared to present them in support of your argument. Lacking that your argument is really just whining.

And to suggest the competition is to blame when there is clear evidence of lack of organizational oversight is bordering on shameless. I'm sure, though, that you will attack me for saying what I see to be the truth. So be it. Show your true colors.

I'm inclined to agree with bdrubenstein888 - the undisciplined actions, excuse making, and blame shifting of the Destefano staff does not instill confidence in their ability to run the State some day.

Quinn said...

You're quite right. I knew about the disclosure rates of the Presidential campaigns. I personally don't think that the Destefano disclosure rates are terribly abnormal, and I don't think the investigation will end up turning up anything interesting. But when an investigation makes the news, it does present a problem, however small in the long-term, for the campaign.

Quinn said...

(my previous post was addressed to DeanFan and was in rare agreement with him, not with j. greely who posted at the same time, though J. Greely does indeed pick up on something important: the difference in law and enforcement between the Federal and State levels)

Aldon Hynes said...

Hi. SpinMaster, err, BlogMaster for the DeStefano campaign here....

We have always been expecting a Democratic Primary and we are still preparing for one. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

To the extent that Mayor DeStefano and Mayor Malloy hone their skills at challenging Rell over the coming months we will be better off.

To the extent that the Democrats chose the candidate that has the best vision and the best chance to defeat Rell, we are better off.

Perhaps most importantly, to the extent that we Democrats work together in challenging Rell instead of wasting time attacking one another, we will be better off.

I am currently working for DeStefano since I believe he has the best vision and the best chance of defeating Rell. If Mayor Malloy ends up being the Democratic Candidate, I will gladly work for him.

The issues of who has the most money, the most endorsements or the most clerical errors in their filings are fun to talk about, but what is important to talk about is how Connecticut is last in job creation and we are losing the quality of life that makes Connecticut special.

I like Mayor DeStefano's vision for a better Connecticut. Some of you may prefer Mayor Malloy's vision for a better Connecticut. Whichever vision you like better, let's work together to help make Connecticut better.

Blue in CD2 said...

^ Deanfan,

As im sure you already know, just because the most campaigns adhere to the "industry standard" of 90% disclosure doesnt mean we as constituents and contributors should accept any less than 100% disclosure.

No matter what side of the aisle you stand on, I would have to assume you are in favor of transparency and accountability in state and federal government.

I understand that most of the legislation has adopted a "best efforts" approach to financial disclosure. But hey, these arent men and women who want to give any of there money back so I wouldnt expect them to force each other to do so.

So lets take a look at the actual rules of campaign finance and the state disclosure policy. As I understand it:

- Any individual who contributes more than $1000.01 to a campaign must tell the campaign 3 things, 1) employer, 2)occupation, 3)if they have a state contract.

- If the individual does not provide this info, the campaign CANNOT deposit the contribution into their coffers. If it is not in the bank, it CANNOT appear in their financial filings.

- If the campaign does not recieve the info from the individual within 2 days of recieving the contribution, it MUST send a certified letter requesting the info. If the campaign still has the check after 7 days, and the info is still not recieved, it MUST RETURN the check.

With these guidlines it makes you wonder how any campaign even has a single non-compliant contribution on their filings.

And getting back to the "industry standard" that has been been so non-chalantly accepted by what seems to be most people. I estimate the 2 Gov. candidates will finish up with between 2.6 - 3.8 million in the bank each. If we assume that each candidate has a 95% compliance rate(higher than the current "standard") thats between $130,000 - $361,000 in dollars that have unkown origin and connection with the candidate.

I refuse to accept any more corruption in this state, and any candidate who embraces the concept of this bogus "industry standard" is either crooked, or has staff members who skirt guidlines and policy. Either way, that is not a candidate that I can support.

Anonymous said...

Did you know 83% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

Blue in CD2 said...

^

That still leaves a 17% chance that they are well researched and factual.

:)

Plus they can always be proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Blue in CD2.

Conn-Tiki said...

I think A.G. is where Blumenthal does his best work, and he should probably stay there. There *has* to be some other Democrat in the whole state who could do the job of Governor.

Unless Joe Lieberman decides to run for Governor and Senator at the same time. In which case, I'm moving to Long Island.

Anonymous said...

Yes, little Democrats fight, fight, fight. A nasty primary will lead to an overwhelming Rell victory.

Delicious.

superD said...

Just two other quick points on the DeStefano alleged filing irregularies -- if they complied with campaign finance statutes and made "best efforts" then they will have the receipts from all of the certified letters they sent those who didn't provide the required information and second, DeStefano was non-compliant, Malloy had one non-complaint (although a campaign staffer attempted to explain that away) Bysiewiecz (and I checked) was 100% compliant. It can be done, we should expect no less from those running for office -- particulary those, like DeStefano and Malloy who publicly are carrying the banner for campaign finance reform. The rules are the rules, and if you can't follow them, you should get out of the game.

DeanFan84 said...

Blue in CD2--

If what you are saying about state law is true, and I'll presume it is, I apologize. You are right, and I am quite wrong.

I tried to find out what the state law was through the CT SOTS office. I couldn't find the precise law, so I presumed it was more or less the equivalent of federal practices. Clearly, it is not, and I am glad that CT state law holds our candidates to a higher level.

Thanks for the sharing the info.

Anonymous said...

I find it astonishing that on a blog about Rell announcing all the dems can do is throw potshots at each other! Let's talk about what we expect from the republican camp over the next year instead of trying to smear Destefano and Malloy. Like it or not, one of these guys is going to be "our" guy so lets focus the negative on Rell, at least on this blog.

DemNow said...

I fully disagree!

We should not just "focus on Rell" (although that is absolutely necessary). We want the best candidate possible to take back the Governor's mansion.

Malloy was put through the ringer last year on ethics charges. He came out fine.

Let's put DeStefano through the same.

I would rather we vet our candidates in the primary rather than have the Republicans do it for us.

Looks like DeStefano made a clerical error...big whoop.

But let's keep the debate going....whether Malloy or DeStefano emerge victorious, they will be stronger for the fight.