Bill Curry, a former state comptroller and losing gubernatorial candidate in 2002, won't deny or confirm rumors that he plans to get into a primary.
After the rumors started late last year, Curry couldn't be reached for comment on the matter for months.
Last week, he admitted to me he has intentionally avoided talking about the topic. Asked why, he only said he could talk about it in a few days. A few days passed, and he hasn't returned follow up phone calls.
The general rule of thumb is that if a politician isn't strongly considering running for something, he'll just say no.
Curry wasn't considered all that strong against Gov. John G. Rowland in 2002, but if people had known then what they know now about Rowland's corrupt activities, the result could have been different.
This would further marginalize J. Paul Vance Jr., the president of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen. That's a high office in the district's largest city. But so far, Vance hardly gets noticed in his primary challenge.
Murphy is already the chosen primary candidate of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, so this might put Curry in an uncommon role. A former party nominee for the state's top office and former domestic policy adviser to President Clinton could run as an anti-establishment candidate in his party. (Lucas)
The Curry rumors have been around a while, and I haven't paid that much attention to them. But what if he did jump in? How would he do?
He might take the convention, and there's a chance he could win a primary against Murphy and Vance. Curry has won primaries as an upstart before, defeating the dull-as-dishwater John Larson in 1994. He could do the same to the equally colorless Murphy by appealing to liberals and the grassroots.
He'd face a serious general election battle, though. A quick look at the 2002 Gubernatorial Map shows that there was nowhere in the state where Curry did as badly as he did in the 5th District. He won one town: liberal-leaning Cornwall. That's it. Granted, that was a Republican year and Rowland was still a pretty popular governor, but it's hard to see a lot of those towns really getting behind Curry.
Then again, they wouldn't have to. If Curry could carry New Britain, Meriden, Waterbury, Danbury and a handful of other suburban towns by more than a few percentage points, he'd win. He may very well have a better shot than Murphy, who has no name recognition and would absolutely be attacked for moving into the district just last year.
Curry would have to scramble to raise money if he decided to get in, but he has so many contacts within the Democratic Party that that might not be a problem. He'd also be bucking the D.C. Democratic "establishment," such as it is, but with the track record those guys have that might be a real blessing.
He seems like he's getting ready to do something, although we'll have to wait and see what that actually is. For now, he's apparently still making up his mind.
Lucas, Fred. "Capitol Notebook." Danbury News-Times 19 February, 2006.