The primary campaign is very nearly over. There will be a final flurry of campaigning this weekend and Monday all across the state (Malloy, for example, will be in Enfield tonight at the Italian Festival), and then Tuesday arrives.
At this point, expectations are that Lamont will win, and that he will win by a considerable margin. But even a close victory will be enough, obviously, and any victory will look to everyone like David taking out an aging Goliath.
What happens if and when Lamont wins?
First, the liberal blogosphere will explode. This is a campaign that has been bound up with the progressive netroots in a way that no other campaign ever has--and for the first time, a high-profile candidate that they support will actually win. That's going to change their perception of their own influence, and also the way blogs and bloggers are perceived by campaigns and the media. I suspect that the change won't all be good. Still, this campaign will be studied for years as the one in which blogs and other new media were used most effectively. Personally, I'm hoping we'll all get book deals (publishers--call me!).
Secondly, and more immediately, the Lieberman campaign will be forced to drop a huge stack of petitions off at Susan Bysiewicz's office, and hope that they have enough to qualify for the ballot. They probably will. But it's going to be humiliating.
Third, Lieberman's campaign staff is going to undergo a radical change. Morale isn't so great, over there. Those staff who aren't fired may simply melt away when faced with the prospect of running against the Democratic nominee. Lieberman will be the de facto Republican candidate (Schlesinger is a non-entity at this point), and I suspect that a lot of his new staff will have ties to the GOP.
Lastly, the Lamont campaign is going to have to figure out how to operate for the general election. It's one thing to get Democrats excited. It's another to convince skeptical independents to vote for you.
The Mayors McCheese
There will be one fewer mayor in the gubernatorial campaign after Tuesday. Which of the two it will be is up in the air. Neither campaign, in more than two years of trying, has managed to arouse much in the way of public interest. This is why there's a dead heat--neither candidate has managed to define himself in a way that attracts a big group of voters. In that respect, both campaigns are failures. The distraction of the Lamont campaign is no excuse for their own shortcomings and lack of clear definition. A smart campaign would have latched on to Lamont's rising star, but both stayed away.
At this point, both campaigns have gone negative: perhaps in the hopes that, in the absence of anything to vote for, Democrats will vote against their opponent. Malloy's "dress" ad was a strange, if effective, new low. If Malloy wins, political observers will remember that ad.
Whoever does finally emerge will be wounded and broke from the primary, and in terrible shape to face a popular incumbent. That *clink* you just heard was champagne glasses tapping together at Rell HQ.
In the meantime, there's plenty of campaigning left to do as the four candidates try to meet as many voters as possible--before Tuesday erases at least one of them.