Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quick Commentary on Wednesday's Events

There's a lot that was brought up in the open forum that is worth talking about. I'll be brief:

DeStefano Filing Mishap

This isn't even in the same league as Lisa Moody actions, for the simple reason that Moody knew what she was doing while Gaylord Bourne pretty obviously just screwed up. There was nothing to hide, and the DeStefano campaign was pretty forthcoming about it when the Journal-Inquirer caught the error.

Still, it diverts any attention that was still on Moody DeStefano's way, and makes the DeStefano campaign look like they aren't completely together. I'm a bit surprised that this story has as much traction as it does, especially for a violation that was uncovered months ago. The J-I had it on the front page today! It took them until two days after the Moody story broke to run something about that. Huh.

Wounded Knee

I'm impressed with Senator Dodd, who just had knee surgery, for making it down to Washington to vote on crucial bills, and to get made fun of by Ted Kennedy for using a walker.

I'm also pleased that the Senate stopped the amendment-laden defense appropriations bill from passing, and that a Patriot Act more attentive to civil liberties will eventually be worked out. It's good to know that the federal government has some sanity left in it.

Murphy Endorsements

National Democrats got behind Murphy early. Vance may have a shot if he can hang on until the primary, but he's got a steep hill to climb. 2008?

Things are starting to wind down for the holiday. Posting may drop off a bit over the weekend, and return next week. I'd like to do a couple of more posts about past gubernatorial elections, including the last really competitive race 1994. Any requests?


DeanFan84 said...

We might not always be on the same page, but thanks for the site, and all your hard work.

The EEC fines have more legs than they should because DeStefano has a few skeletons. Yet if I read things correctly, Moody could still get indicted!?! (Commissioners solicited underlings for donation--which is against the law-- after Moody pressured them to do so?)

Personally, I'd like to see Paul Vance as Waterbury's next mayor. Paul has a great deal of integrity, and Waterbury would benefit by his eventual ascendancy. My feeling is give Murphy a pair of runs at Johnson, and failing that, let Vance have his shot. The main thing is that Democrats have to get together if we are going to turn CT Blue.

Kudos to Dodd. But did Harry Reid push MoveOn to encourage their members to light up his phones? (I got my e-mail, and made my call!)

If you can cover something, would you cover Maloney v. Johnson in 2002? I am less familiar with CT-5 dynamics, and would like to hear the variety of opinions about that race. I'd also enjoy your take on the redistricting.

Does it make sense for you to shut down the site from Friday-Sunday? We could then re-convene post holidays. fwiw. Peace to all.

Dave Mooney said...

If the J-I was reluctant to publish a story critical of Rell, it wouldn't be the first time a media entity has given a popular pol a free pass.

DeanFan84 said...

Hey, Dave, go to bed!

Mr. Reality said...

At a time when everyone is watching your every step, there is no excuse for reporting errors. I'm sorry. You can say it was a simple mistake all you want but Democratic supporters would not be saying this if this was the Rell Campaign.

I do agree that the Moody case is a lot worse, especially since Rell made ethics her #1 issue. BUT at a time when "liberal" groups such as CCAG and Common Cause have been outspoken about there being no room for campaign finance violations, it's hard to say that this should just be passed over and viewed as an honest mistake.

Anonymous said...

As a conservative, I, too, root for Paul Vance's eventual ascendancy. Anyone endorsed for re-election to the board of Aldermen by the Rep-Am, as Vance was last month, is ok in my book.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. DF84 is handicapping the CD5 race and he knows nothing about the Maloney-Johnson Race dynamics or the redistricting (gerrymandering) that led to it. Sounds like Howard talking about Iraq without knowing where Mesopotamia was in history.

The Moody issue is nothing nor is the DeS issue. At least not right now. It's gonna be about who plays best before the voters since we know you all play games. My money's on Kevin Sullivan as the best to handle Rell and if he doesn't show up it's a goner for themDems.

Anonymous said...

The point on Dodd's knee is that he is a soldier and he respects the traditions of the US Senate. The question about the walker though is who paid for it. Medicare, his government health insurance, his campaign, his pocketbook or his office? or was it a gift or just a loan? Told ya this would be an issue in the next campaign.

Anonymous said...

The discourse on how to get everybody to work at the same time only just got going on the last thread so how's abou continuing it here. The stats on Fairfield County actually don't make them the worst in the country in gridlock but GenX in CT is very very impatient. Try living in NYC if you want to live near work or have superb mass transit although you may want to wait a week or two right now..but then you wouldn't like the schools for the kids Otherwise enjoy the suburbs with its private schools paid for by your property taxes and hope for a regime change at the DOT,DECD, the stae legislature and DPS sometime in the future. waving a magic wand just ain't gonna do it.

Or maybe everybody could be issued a George Jetsonmobile..RutRo!

Blue in CD2 said...

I woke up to a nice little Holiday greeting from the Destefano camp this morning. The choicest morsel-

this week's revelations of unethical political fundraising in the governor's office have shown us all that the job of cleaning up Connecticut's government is not done. I was among the first to call on Governor Rell to suspend her chief of staff, return tainted contributions, and fully disclose the details of her and others' involvement in these activities. The Governor continues to stonewall in providing information on this matter, and most importantly she is failing to provide the leadership Connecticut needs.

Meanwhile, I'm also going to continue to fight for priorities that have been neglected for too long under the Rowland-Rell administration.


unethical political fundraising ... return tainted contributions ... priorities that have been neglected ... failing to provide the leadership Connecticut needs

The similarities between New Haven and Hartford are increasing daily.

Oh, and IMO non-compliant contributions are un-ethical.

Blue in CD2 said...


Sorry, I meant to say "for a campaign to deposit a non-complaint contribution is un-ethical"

Anonymous said...

Hey Genghis on the right here at the links you spelt fourth wrong in Fouth Congressional District Watch

Anonymous said...

Good Thursday morning - I know there are many of us who read this blog who worked on the Maloney/Johnson Campaign in 2002. I am sure that once the questions start coming - we will be able to answer.

I will provide one piece of intel from that campaign - Johnson won that race exactly four years ago today - when the Republicans stood firm together, with help at the redistricting table from NRCC and RNC staffers - and they cut a deal that fundamentally stripped Maloney of his base (the Naugatuck Valley) and gave him a district that was very difficult to win.

The real outcome of the redistricting battle was that Maloney was chosen by fellow Dems to run against Johnson. There were obviously other choices - DeLauro versus Simmons and Larson versus Simmons, with both DeLauro and Larson holding their urban centers (New Haven and Hartford, respectively).

So on December 22nd, when the map was ratified by the so-called bipartisan committee in the State House, Maloney's fate was sealed. Had the others run, they would have outraised Simmons (there is no way Maloney could outraise NJ because of her Ways and Means seat).

In the end, DeLauro and Larson were rewarded with even safer seats, Maloney lost his, and now Connecticut, is the only state in New England with more Republicans than Dems in Congress.

This little exercise happened across the country and is the reason - no matter what the political climate - that Dems cannot retake the House of Reps until after the next round of redistricting.

There are just not enough competitive seats available to pick up the House and the other New England states have done their part - how many Congressional Republicans are there in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island - that would be two, one less than we have here in CT.

I like both Vance and Murphy but lets be clear - Nancy is sitting with $2 million Cash on Hand, Murphy may have at the most $350K COH, this ratio will continue up until next summer when Nancy goes up and takes care of the race. If you were the DCCC, would you invest in this race (and I mean TV and radio ads like they did on behalf of Maloney, not endorsements which don't allow you to buy TV spots) where the cash disparity is so huge or do they look elsewhere to try to pick up a seat.

Proud Moderate dem said...

I agree that the Destefano filing issue is not nearly as large as an offense as moodygate, but it is equally a sign of an amatuer hour campaign. any seasoned candidate proofs these reports line by line before they are submitted, therefor this should not be blamed on anyone else but JD. the buck stops with the candidate. and the bottom line is that he either knew the rules and didnt follow them, or didnt know the rules. in which case, its hard to beleive that he could effectively run an entire state. i am still an undecided dem in this race but the Destafano camp needs to get itself ready for Primetime.

Aldon Hynes said...

Random thoughts:

I’m off with my family to get my Christmas Tree. (See, I’m on the front lines of the War on Christmas). A note to Indepedent1, yesterday was my extended family’s Christmas party. Today, I am going out with my nuclear family (yes, the nuclear option) to get a Christmas tree. We had to wait until my eldest daughter was back from college. Tomorrow is my father-in-law’s birthday. Then, on Saturday, I will start my Christmas shopping.

Blue in CD2, your outrage sure sounds like that of a Christmas Warrior, including the misrepresentations. There was nothing unethical about the contributions. If you can prove otherwise, go ahead, but the Commission didn’t them unethical. There were filing errors. If it is unethical to make filing mistakes, I would suggest that we are all unethical.

Proud Moderate Dem is more on the mark. The filing errors were sloppy and a sign of amateurness. However, he is also missing an important point. In the 2002 cycle, I believe, all the filings were done on paper. In this cycle, they are done electronically. You will note that Connecticut’s campaign reporting does not get high marks. The DeStefano campaign doesn’t get high marks for how they dealt with the new system, but they are learning from it and addressing the underlying problems.

However, this gets to a more important issue. To the extent that we are searching for infallible candidates with infallible staffs, then we are bound to either fail, or perhaps more likely, be deceived. Instead of searching for infallibility, we need to search for candidates and campaigns that will address mistakes as soon as they are discovered and learn from their mistakes. Both Mayor DeStefano and Mayor Malloy, when questions came up with their campaigns, immediately addressed the issues. Rell dragged her feet.

So, in closing, let me hope that we all can follow the example of the DeStefano campaign and admit our mistakes and learn from them, instead of pretending to by holier than thou.

Anonymous said...

Maloney was screwed by his fellow 'party' people in Hartford and Washington.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Both Mayor DeStefano and Mayor Malloy, when questions came up with their campaigns, immediately addressed the issues. Rell dragged her feet.

Immediately? DeStefano's campaign refiled the list - still missing some donor info, according to the Journal Inquirer - but took no other action until the Elections Enforcement Commission fined it $4,000 - two months later.

So, in closing, let me hope that we all can follow the example of the DeStefano campaign and admit our mistakes and learn from them, instead of pretending to by holier than thou.

"Governor Rell still doesn’t get it. Yesterday, I called on the Governor to take a number of steps to restore public trust in her office. While I am glad that she heeded my call and suspended her chief of staff, more must be done." - DeStefano news release, December 17

The Courant says the agreement with DeStefano's campaign was reached December 8 and the fine paid the next day. DeStefano had a hell of a lot to say about Rell and Moody, given that he knew his campaign was already being fined for its own cock-ups.

Who's holier than who, Aldon?

All together now: Hypocrisy sucks.

Blue in CD2 said...

If it is unethical to make filing mistakes, I would suggest that we are all unethical.

Aldon, when will you understand that you DID NOT make a filing mistake.

If you had the information on hand and did not include it in your filings, that would constitute a filing mistake.

But thats not what happened. You did not include the info. on your filing because you never had it in the first place! Only after this was pointed out did your camp go back and fix your mistakes.

Of course it is'nt unethical to make a filing mistake, but then again you didnt make a filing mistake in the first place. The person doing the filing, IMO, KNOWINGLY did not include the info. That, sir, IS unethical.

And you are right, the Commission didnt call the actions of your staff unethical, but they did say that is consituted serious neglect.

Tomato - Tomahto?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 10:38,

It is particularly telling that you mention that you worked on the Maloney race, then blame his loss on the redistricting. Take some responsibility - that campaign was poorly run relying on tons of outside people from their "campaign-in-a-box" consultant. I personally worked with dozens of these so-called staffers and found exactly ONE to be competent. By the time election day rolled around, people were so disenfranchised that they seemed to care less whether Maloney won or not.

Also, not a single RNC nor RSCC staffer had a seat at the table. The district was clearly a swing district, winnable by either - Maloney and his campaign was weaker, plain and simple.

Hacks blame others, professionals learn from their mistakes. Which are you?

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Anon 1:25, your harshness is only outdone by your lack of political knowledge. let me remind you that the maloney campaign was the last dem to defeat an incumbent republican when he beat franks and also the last dem to win a targeted race when he beat nielsen in back to back top 5 races. winning the last nielsen race by 10points. the new 5th may prove to be a swing district in the future but as long as nancy is on ways in means it is a republican lock. even if maloney ran a perfect campaign, the johnson fundraising faucet decided that race before it started. so instead of a 3-2 democratic delagation we have a 3-2 repub delegation.

Anonymous said...

Proud Mod Dem:

The Nielsen race was a very well run race by the Maloney campaign, also a very differently run than the Johnson race - I was there for both.

And your comment about my lack of political knowledge is only dismissed by your apparent belief that knowing the history of a candidate relates to political knowledge. Different races, different times, different campaigns and different campaign staffs.

Also, are you saying that no one in the majority on any major committee can ever be be beaten? That's absurd! As anyone who has ever worked for caucuses in both the minority and in the majority or done any significant amount of opposition research knows, it is much easier to build a case against an incumbent in the majority.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Anon, don't think thats what i said. think what i said was that as long as nancy johnson is on ways and means, which will give her access to a virtual fundraising faucet every campaign, then CT-5 is a Republican lock. beleive me, i hope to be proven wrong, i truly do, but when you do the math it will take a miracle for her to be beaten with the amount of money she has and with the cash on hand advantage that the RNC and RNCC have over the democratic equivelants. i wish campaigns werent decided by fundraising advanatges bc maloney would be our congressman, but sadly they are. further, if you check out the campaign finance expenditures the maloney 2000 staff is very similar to the maloney 2002 staff. the major difference that johnson was able to set the agenda bc of her money advantage whereas in 2000 maloney was able to set the agenda with his money advantage.

Chris MC said...

The criticism of the Maloney campaign is not without merit, Anon 1:25, but you know perfectly well that the redistricting put Maloney in a virtually impossible situation.

A careful study of the current district reveals an important fact: Johnson's base towns in the current district - based on voter performance, not registration - are from the old fifth, towns like Middlebury, Southbury, Brookfield, New Fairfield. Plus she kept Simsbury, Avon, and Farmington. it is on the whole more Republican in its voting performance than the Fourth.

Geographically, the district is predominantly the old sixth.

The current Fifth includes DeLuca's Senate District, which is perhaps the most Republican Senate District in the State. A friend of mind, considering a run against DeLuca, looked at the numbers and joked that he didn't think Dodd could beat DeLuca there.

Waterbury and Danbury are two of the three or four most Republican urban municipalities in the state.

Add to that the fact that John Rowland was the then very popular and unindicted Governor from Waterbury publicly supporting Johnson, and I defy anybody to make those numbers work. I know, because I've been trying to.

I refuse to accept that Johnson's re-election is assured. She genuinely deserves to be tossed out on her ear. But it is a tall order.

So, friends, let's not bog ourselves down in a bunch of nonsensical bickering when the facts and numbers are knowable and known, and the issues and our opportunity to make an impact on the national scene is so clear.

Genghis Conn said...

Let's also not forget what a terrible year 2002 was in state and in general for the Democrats, but in the whole the argument that redistricting was what ultimately doomed Maloney is, in the main, the correct one. The new fifth district was created to protect Nancy Johnson--why else would it include the Farmington Valley and New Britain (Johnson's hometown) but not Bristol or Torrington?

A while ago, we were tossing around ideas on fairer redistricting, and eventually came up with this, which is a map of possible realignment of the first and fifth district boundaries. Striped towns could go either way.

All academic, of course, until we can take redistricting away from the legislature.

David Boomer said...

Regarding the CT05 race in 2002, I viewed the district map as being essentially a jump ball. Maloney represented just 10 towns and cities, but they contained 51 percent of the population of the new district. Nancy, on the other hand, represented 31 towns, primarily in the Farmington Valley and Litchfield County,but had a lower population share, 49 percent. Behaviorally, Johnson had an advantage: 53% of the historical turnout in an off-year election came from towns she had represented. But voter registration in the redrawn district swung Maloney's way: U=42%, D=31%, R=27%. The legislators set out to create a "fair fight" district, and I believe they did just that. Now as to the race,I believe it came down to the following: Johnson had a lock on her portion of the district (old 6th)largely because people knew and liked her from her 20 years of service there. I believe most of the towns' residents have personally met and talked with her--a huge advantage since she is so good with people. There simply was nothing Jim Maloney could do to pry her support away in the Old 6th. (She won 60% of the vote in those towns in Nov.) Given that fact, Nancy's campaign was able to concentrate for months in getting her known and IDing voters in Maloney's portion of the district (Old 5th). It worked--she tied him there and won the full district by 11%. From the Johnson campaign's perspective (and I ran it) that was the essential dynamic. Everything else TV, issues, earned media) was secondary. But, it was a hell of a race.

Chris MC said...

GC, I gotta go right now, but I just want to chip in that I attended a panel discussion of the redistricting process at the LOB this summer, and in brief, Connecticut ain't Texas.

No time to elaborate, but there are people who read this blog who can explain how it is set up and why, what its strengths and shortcomings are, and so on... I hope they will.

Hey boomer thanks for the post!

Substance matters.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

David, must say you did do a good job during that 2002 race. knowing that you also ran a portion of the nielsen 2000 race in which maloney had the money advantage and won by 10 points, do you mean to say that a candidate having a great money advantage and therefor setting the paid media agenda plays a secondary role?

MikeCT said...

More on Moodygate, which makes it harder to believe that Moody's violation was not deliberate:

The governor's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, violated an employee policy that she distributed, and signed herself, when she handed out invitations to a campaign fundraiser for Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

A May 2 memo from Moody to staff, obtained by The Associated Press, states that employees "shall not solicit political contributions from other employees" "nor shall they encourage others to attend fundraising events."
Rell reiterated on Thursday that she believes Moody made a mistake and unintentionally broke the rules by handing out the invitations.

Um, right.

Anonymous said...

Given they are 7 miles apart, New Britain and Hartford should be in the same district. New Britain has more in common in Hartford than the NW corner, which actually fit well as a community of interest with the Farmington Valley

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Genghis, if anyone is interested, Joe Musante wrote a thoughtful analysis of the actual race (not the redist part) for campaigns and elections magazine. admittingly i am an idiot and still dont know how to imbed (and i dont want to piss off gabe by putting url) so if you think people are interested you can check it it and imbed.