Monday, July 31, 2006

Creating a Ground Game From Scratch in Eight Days? Priceless.

Or about $240,000 per day. Whatever.

Smith said they now have between 200 and 300 volunteers and paid staff, to canvass daily. Democratic workers in New Haven said the campaign told them it hopes to hire up to 4,000 workers by Election Day.
...
[New Haven Alderwoman Jacqueline James, D-3,] estimated 56 young people were hired out of about 500 people who showed up, attracted by the $60 a day fee, or about $800 for the duration.


Thats a nice chunk of change. Imagine how much more effective it would be if it wasn't created from whole cloth about 10 hours ago, didn't depend on a strategy from another state, and involved people who were passionate about the candidate instead of about the 60 bucks. In other words, kind of like Ned Lamont's ground campaign.

Oh, and:
She said LGS does not know the demographics of the city at all. James suggested that they match inexperienced teens with more savvy workers, but this was rejected.

"They kept saying this is how we do it in New Jersey. I kept telling them, ‘This is not New Jersey,’" said James, who no longer volunteers for Lieberman.

(emphasis added)

Sweet. Maybe if she were a little younger...

Before the Anonymice come out in force in the Comments to claim that Lamont is buying the election, he is still being outspent 2 to 1. And he isn't picking up a hundred large a day from out of state corporate donors. And he isn't threatining to use a Millionaires' Amendment to increase the amount those donors can give to $12,600 (although I am still pretty sure he can't do that).

You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

Sources:

Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register, Lieberman tries a 'younger' pitch, July 31, 2006.

David Lightman, Hartford Courant, Big List Of Big Givers Bolsters Lieberman, July 29, 2006.

More Senate Campaign News

According to the official Lamont blog, Joe Lieberman had agreed to debate Ned Lamont this Sunday on WTNH with Mark Davis, but then backed out.

Fortunately, I have a visual of what I believe the debate would have looked like. I leave it to you to determine which is which.

Also, the Lieberman campaign has been distributing racially charged fliers in and around black churches.

Voters are also switching from unaffiliated to Democrat in droves. I'm not sure who that's good for.

One more week to go, folks.

Pictures from the Campaign Trail

Frank Gerrantana sends us these pictures from the taping of a Lamont commercial in New Britain this weekend:


Do you have pictures of the closing days of the primary campaign? Send them in! Click on "about" for my email address.

Lamont Campaign Snafu Again

Wasn't it just a few short weeks ago that the Lamont campaign suffered the embarrassment of failing to file FEC paperwork correctly? Why, yes, and they do it again. Here's the link to the FEC letter. OF course it was the Lieberman staff that sent out a press release on the subject, so it goes without saying that their position is that FEC SLAMS LAMONT FOR HIDING NAMES OF PAID STAFF. They also remind us that Lamont has failed to provide the past 5 years in income tax returns. Could it be that some not so Liberal expense show up in itemized schedules? Who knows. Perhaps time to lay off the Guinness, Lamont staff.

Gubernatorial Endorsement

We've made our choice for the Democratic nomination for governor: Dan Malloy.

How this works: The team members of the site voted on the candidate they supported, and the candidate with more support was endorsed. An endorsement and a dissent were written and posted.

Why we're doing this: Endorsing candidates allows us to express our opinion on the candidates. Since we have such a wide variety of opinion among team members and readers, we also thought it was important to publish a dissent from the endorsement.

Tomorrow: Our U.S. Senate endorsement.

Links:

Malloy: A Slightly Better Choice
DeStefano Dissent

Malloy: A Slightly Better Choice

It must be frustrating to be either Dan Malloy or John DeStefano. The race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination has been going on for something like two years, now, and the media consensus that has developed boils down to “Flip a coin.” Democrats who go to the polls on August 8th will almost certainly know whether they’re going to vote for Lieberman or Lamont. They’ve probably known for months. The choice there is pretty clear. It’s less so with DeStefano and Malloy.

Each man offers a universal health care scheme. Each promises a better transportation plan, and property tax relief. Each says he wants to turn Connecticut’s lackluster economy around, and each points to the record in his city as proof that he can do just that.

But Dan Malloy has done a better job of communicating his message, and this is a major part of what makes him the superior candidate.

Malloy is the better public speaker: he tends to favor concise bluntness over the more wordy style of his rival. DeStefano likes to take time to explain his positions and the theories behind them, a noble effort which often gets bogged down or wanders off onto other paths.

Malloy’s proposals also seem a little more concrete than DeStefano’s. Malloy’s plans are usually richly detailed and often more realistic than DeStefano’s, which seem sparse by comparison. Malloy’s ideas are also more business-friendly, which is desperately important to a state that is losing jobs. Lastly, Malloy’s plan to uncouple property taxes from education seems a lot clearer than DeStefano’s, and it will take clear leadership to accomplish that worthy goal. The unintended consequences of policy have often been an afterthought in the gubernatorial race, but Malloy has often spoken to the practice of measuring results and examining policy enacted. It is clear that under Malloy, the overarching question of "Can it work better?" would be a guiding principle.

John DeStefano is a good man with a lot of very bright ideas, but many of his plans seem to lack a good dose of realism. One of the major problems with DeStefano’s proposals is an over-reliance on taxing the wealthy, and, in some cases, a lack of specific plans for financing his proposals. His plan to establish pay equity between men and women would result in the creation of a huge, unmanageable bureaucracy that would poke into the books and practices of every single business in Connecticut. His willingness to let the details of funding some of his ideas be taken care of later is also unsettling.

DeStefano also seems to make poor political decisions. For example, his comment that Jodi Rell’s plan for combating urban violence was like that of a 1950s Mississippi governor was absolutely over-the-top, and his strange willingness to roll back things like mandatory hospital stays post-childbirth and insurance coverage for birth control as part of his health care plan has left him desperately trying to reclaim the votes of women. Also, his unwillingness to return campaign money raised from contractors should campaign finance reform pass in time for the 2006 election was foolish, at best.

Malloy, by contrast, is a far more credible candidate who seems less prone to missteps. His record in Stamford is slightly more impressive than DeStefano’s in New Haven, although it’s difficult to compare the two cities. Stamford is one of the safest cities in the nation, as Malloy is fond of saying. New Haven has also made great strides under DeStefano, but Stamford’s example is the better one.

Most importantly to Democrats, Malloy has a better shot at giving Jodi Rell a run for her money in November. Rell is aware of this: it’s why she picked a running mate from Malloy’s city of Stamford. A contest between DeStefano and Rell would end up being more about DeStefano than Rell’s record or Connecticut’s future, which would be a shame. A race between Malloy and Rell would still offer clear distinctions, as well as a lively debate over the future of the state.

There are still problems with Malloy. His lack of union support may cost him later on, and his name recognition is extremely poor, even now. But he is the better choice to face Gov. Rell in November. We endorse Dan Malloy for the Democratic nomination for governor.

DeStefano Dissent

In the gubernatorial primary Democrats must make a difficult decision. Both Dan Malloy and John DeStefano are talented men who have a lot to offer to both Connecticut and the Democratic Party. However, when it comes to the issues and values that matter most to Democratic voters John DeStefano is the best candidate to challenge Jodi Rell in November.

DeStefano has an inspired view of how government can better meet the needs of its citizens. He understands the urgent need for universal healthcare, a minimum wage that better reflects the cost of living, and the importance of job creation. His AFL-CIO and numerous other union endorsements speak to his commitment workers' rights.

The needs of Connecticut families are a priority for John DeStefano. On education DeStefano supports universal early education, magnet schools, and revising the state's formula for distributing aid. While both candidates have plans for tax reform DeStefano offers the more ambitious overhaul including a property tax freeze for seniors, and a more progressive form of taxing income. He is also the only candidate brave enough to tackle the problem of pay equity rather than simply paying lip service to it.

If at first DeStefano seems vague when it comes to details that's only because he has a more realistic understanding of governance. It is one thing to release glossy campaign materials with sky high promises, and quite another to turn those initiatives into policy and law. John DeStefano has a keen understanding of government as a process rather than a press release.

John DeStefano offers a positive vision of Connecticut's future which is in sharp contrast to the status quo policies offered by Jodi Rell and her predecessor. Looking towards November there is no better candidate to articulate the need for change. That is why we dissent from the majority and endorse John DeStefano for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

One Week to Go

Greetings to readers coming in from around the country. There's a lot of great coverage of the primaries and other races on the site from the weekend. Please check out all of the following links!

U.S. Senate
Gubernatorial Primary
And once again, it's time for predictions. Who's going to win on August 8th? By how much? What will the turnout be like?

Six Questions for Rep. Diana Urban

Note: Rep. Diana Urban, an antiwar Republican, is trying to petition her way onto the U.S. Senate ballot. She must collect 7,500 valid signatures by August 9th. She answered these questions, sent by me via email, between 7/28-7/31, 2006.

1. This is a pretty crowded race already, and one that already includes an antiwar candidate in Ned Lamont. What made you decide to jump in?

It has always been my (not so secret) plan to serve /represent more people. Who would have thought that a seated senator would be challenged by a brave political neophyte and that candidate would start making inroads presumably because of the war with Iraq( however, I believe the D’s discontent with Lieberman goes deeper than that and has to do with alliances formed and positions taken over time) Add in a “R”candidate who served in the legislature but no one can really remember what he stood for and you have “opportunity”

I also felt that if Lieberman actually won the primary there would be no anti war candidate in the race as Lamont has publicly stated that he would not run as an independent if Lieberman won, that he would support the designated Democratic candidate.

In addition, for me this is not just about the war, it is about a country that is at a crossroads. The global economic system requires more education and yet we are cutting Pell grants in favor of tax credits ( who does that favor?). 120,000 kids graduated from High School this year fully capable of going to college and can’t afford it. We are leaving our children a polluted planet to deal with ( inter generational equity) and we are fighting a war while cutting taxes creating a huge deficit(which includes the estate tax while we have yet to get an Earned Income Tax Credit in the State of Connecticut) and laying the ground work for a major recession. We favor factory farming (subsidies and all..some to foreign owners) over family farms. And the growing gap between the rich and the poor reminds me of a Teddy Roosevelt quote that I love to use in speeches “ This will never be a great place for anyone to live until it is a reasonably good place for everyone.”

So this and more... including my 24 yr old son who did a year of service in DC teaching inner city kids saying to me “ You don’t even get it Mom, you need to do more”... lead me to finally (it was an evolving process) file to petition on the ballot.

2. Your positions on issue like the war, the environment and others seem quite different from most others in your party, and you are known for disagreeing with your own caucus. What kind of Republican are you, and do you think Republicans will vote for you?

I have said this time and again, I am a Republican in the mold of TR, Lincoln, Claudine Schneider and I do not know where my party has gone. If you read “Crunchy Cons” you will find parts of it ( although I am vehemently pro choice) and if you go back to what real “Conserve”..atives used to talk about, you will find other parts. This is fertile ground for a discussion about where are country is headed and what the parties actually mean . I have a vision that is inclusive not exclusive and that is what I have based my whole career on and that is what I brought to the Ct General Assembly. So I work on Affordable Housing , and Results Based Accountability , and Low and Moderate Income Microenterprise programs, and universal health care, and animal issues and the cycle of violence and Global Warming and Education for all our kids. I guess it just seems like the right thing to do ( Spike Lee).

A number of people on My own Republican Town Committee have signed my petition and have been quoted in the paper supporting my independent run. Many people signing the petition are Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. People like what I have to say and they also like the fact that my record backs up my words.

3. Do you think you'll get enough petitions signed to qualify for the ballot? How many would you say you have at this point?

We have about 3800. We expect around 20 % will be invalidated so it is a steep hill to climb. The experience makes it worth it. I now have 55 volunteers and everyone has stories about how incredibly supportive people are. People are eager to participate in a true grass roots effort, making them feel like they really count. I am out getting signatures too and I have been overwhelmed by how much people want me to continue and to not back down in this independent bid. The thoughtful questions and the mini debates that I have had are ample evidence that people not only get it they want to participate. I have had people tell me that they don’t vote because politicians “ just don’t care about me, they care about being re elected.” and then I talk to them about winning by 34 vote in my first election in 2000. And then running unopposed the second time and having my own party offer $10,000 to anyone who would primary me ( New London Day Op Ed By Morgan McGinley) and STILL running unopposed, which I am again in this election..Why??? I believe it is because I work for the people and the people of my district know that. I do not mince my words and worry about the next election. I am concerned about policy and what is best for the long term. I guess that is why I am known as a maverick...and people listen and then say “give me that petition, I want to sign” It is , as I mentioned , an awesome experience.

4. You're running for both the U.S. Senate and your 43rd House District seat at the same time. As you know, one of the complaints against Joe Lieberman is that he ran for both the Senate and Vice President in 2000. How do you justify doing something similar? Will you drop your 43rd House District bid if you qualify for the Senate ballot?

I have always wanted to serve more people, I have a vision based on 22 years of teaching economics, running my own small business, raising an incredible son and serving for 3 terms in the CT General assembly. Should I fail in my bid to get on the ballot, I still want to be able to serve the people of my district. As I write this, I am working on two RFP’s as Co Chair of the Results Based Accountability Work Group of Appropriations, the Energy Bill, 4 Bills on Animal issues, the Earned Income Tax Credit, SB701 on Property Tax that we lost in the final 3 days of the last session, Getting together the Environmental caucus to decide what we will be doing to expand our work on global warming, talking to Nancy Wyman ( the Comptroller) about our continued efforts for affordable health insurance for small business and continuing with the Affordable Housing Task force with the Partnership for Strong Communities These and many other issues are so important to me. Ct law allows me to do what I am doing. Were I to get on the ballot, I would get my volunteers together and assess the situation and make a decision about continuing to run for both offices at that time.

5. What would your priorities be as a U.S. Senator, should you be elected in November?

First and foremost, a re evaluation of A US foreign policy that has lead us in the wrong direction. A combination of a fossil fuel based policy that ignores what Portland Oregon has accomplished ( building a vibrant economic web while cutting GreenHouse Gases to their ‘92 levels) and an administration that seems oblivious to the dangers of unilaterally pushing this policy. We have as a nation made errors , but the magnitude is in this administration dwarfs what I have seen before. I have a policy paper on Iraq and the Middle East that I can make available to you.
On the domestic front, we have people losing their jobs to outsourcing and off shoring but no concerted effort to back and fill the economy with small business and microenterprise ( I have national awards in this area)And we are not helping our kids that need the help to finance a college education that would enable the US to be productive in the global economy. Global Warming is real and we need to start to talk about SUSTAINABILITY..the planet has 6 billion people and carrying capacity is around 11 billion. The impacts of Global Warming will hasten resource wars, famines. We ignore this at our own peril. The debate needs to be framed in a way that people can understand. Al Gore’s film is a huge step in that direction. Universal health Care: The System we have now is economic lunacy. People use the emergency room for their health care, without treatment things spiral out of control costing much more to treat, prevention ( the demand side of the equation..see Paul Krugman’s essay) is ignored. Energy Policy that favors the multi national oil companies rather than subsidizing de centralized alternative energy and promoting efficiency and conservation ( the biggest bang for the buck in the short run)Animal Abuse and the cycle of violence..80% of rap sheets for juveniles show some form of animal abuse.. programs directed an anger management, counseling could help, Affordable Housing: we can’t expect people to succeed without a safe and decent place to live. The list goes on and on and I believe that most politians are so concerned about being re elected that they are afraid to face these issues head on. I am not and have proven that over and over.

6. Do you believe that you can win? Why or why not?

You don’t do this unless you believe that you can win. People get it and they are hungry for a voice to articulate the concerns of “Everyman” I started late but it truly was an evolving process. The response has been more than even I ever expected and galvanized me and my volunteers to work even harder. Want to join us??? Email Chris at DianaUrban2006(at)softhome.net. She is my volunteer Campaign Manager and would be happy to try to answer your questions.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"I used to be against Joe"

The Nation has a good article on CT-Sen (D) in this week's magazine and online (I warn my conservative friends that the article has a progressive slant). Go check it out.

The paragraph that spells trouble for Senator Lieberman on August 8th:

Lamont's confidence about his ability to win more than just antiwar protest votes is well founded. It's common on the Connecticut campaign trail to run into Democratic voters like Harriet Scureman. "I used to be against Joe, because of the war and a bunch of other issues," says Scureman, a retired Xerox employee from Norwalk. "But as the campaign's gone on, I've realized I'm for Ned Lamont. You can't meet him, listen to him, and not come to the conclusion that he would be a great senator." If a majority of Connecticut voters reach the same conclusion in August and again in November, it will not merely be a defeat for a single centrist senator who supports the war. It will also be a win for a new Democratic mindset, one that displays the energy, enthusiasm and vision that the party will need if it intends to lead the country out of the wilderness of the Bush years.


(emphasis added)

Source:
John Nichols, A Fight for the Party's Soul, The Nation, August 14, 2006.

Lieberman in Enfield

Joe Lieberman made a stop at Figaro's in Enfield tonight to meet with diners and Democrats. The stop was not on his published schedule. No bus, unfortunately.


He waved gamely to us (my wife and I, armed with camera) before ducking inside.

Open Forum

If anyone is taking pictures of the last week of the primary campaign, and wants to see them published on this site, send them in! You'll get as much or as little credit as you want. Click on "about" for my email address.

What else is happening today?

Hartford Candidate in Legal Trouble Over Petitions

Frank DeJesus, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd House District, has been arrested and charged with forgery and fraud in connection with his effort to petition his way on to the ballot:
Frank DeJesus was charged Friday with six counts of second-degree forgery, five counts of second-degree false statement and one count of falsely certifying the administration of an oath. The forgery charges are felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

DeJesus, 58, was investigated by the chief state's attorney's office over allegations made by his opponent, Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, that he committed fraud and intimidated illiterate, disabled and elderly voters to get his name on the ballot.

The warrants for his arrest allege that DeJesus signed the back of five petitions, though he did not gather the signatures. He also is charged with falsely certifying signatures on six petitions in his post as a justice of the peace. (AP)

DeJesus is an ally of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, a Gonzalez foe. Perez is now calling for him to drop out of the race.

Source

"State House candidate charged with forgery." Associated Press 29 July, 2006.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Courant Endorses Lieberman, Malloy

The Hartford COurant has made up its mind about which candidates it would like to see win the Democratic primaries, Joe Lieberman and Dan Malloy:

For Lieberman:
In an era of exceptionally corrosive politics, Connecticut has the antacid.

We endorse U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary for his skill in bridging the partisan abyss in Washington -- a valuable asset.
...
Mr. Lieberman's rectitude, though it strikes some as self-righteous, is principled. He led the charge to tone down sex and violence in video games for more than a decade. His denunciation of President Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct helped make him Al Gore's choice as running mate in 2000.

As a champion of conservation and a protector of Long Island Sound and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he disappointed many when he alone among Northeast Senate Democrats voted for the 2005 energy bill that did nothing to curb the nation's oil addiction or protect the environment.

But he voted with Democrats 90 percent of the time last year on key votes. It's the 10 percent, though, that could cost him the Democratic primary.
...
Mr. Lieberman's history of enthusiasm for military interventions overseas is an anomaly in a man famous for mediating among warring factions in Washington. But to dismiss this moderate -- a vanishing breed in a Congress sundered by extremism on both sides -- for dissenting on a single issue would be a terrible waste. And a mistake.

It would show an intolerance unworthy of any political party. ("For Experience")


For Malloy:
Although this is a tough call, Mr. Malloy, the party's convention-endorsed candidate, appears to us to be the best man to challenge Mrs. Rell. We base our recommendation on Mr. Malloy's innovative thinking, charismatic style and his record of getting things done in Stamford.
...
The Courant has challenged all the gubernatorial candidates to package their ideas into a visionary framework for stopping sprawl development, which empties cities, clogs highways, degrades Connecticut's quality of life and has contributed to the state's dismal performance in job growth. Both Mr. DeStefano and Mr. Malloy have made elements of anti-sprawl strategy a priority, such as improving transportation options, encouraging affordable housing, and speaking out against Connecticut's oppressive property tax system, which forces municipalities to compete for businesses and education funding and crushes homeowners.

But we believe Mr. Malloy would make the more business-friendly leader.

He has a compelling sense of urgency about the need to address looming obstacles to the state's growth. He has a deep understanding, born of paying attention to what works in other states, about what it will take for Connecticut to remain competitive and to grow smartly. He thinks and acts creatively.

Mr. Malloy has demonstrated consistently that he has the drive and know-how to go after his goals, whatever the obstacles. For the primary, he is the better choice. ("Choose Malloy")

Both articles are well worth reading in full. I won't comment on them now--I'll have plenty to say on both races when CTLP endorses candidates later this week.

Sources

"For Experience, Mr. Lieberman." Hartford Courant 30 July, 2006.

"Choose Mayor Dan Malloy." Hartford Courant 30 July, 2006.

NYT Will Endorse Lamont

Update: Here is a link to the editorial.

From the article:

[The New York Times, in an editorial published on Sunday, endorsed Mr. Lamont over Mr. Lieberman, arguing that the senator had offered the nation a “warped version of bipartisanship” in his dealings with President Bush on national security.]


Credit goes to Mel_Gibson at MLN for spotting this first.

Source
Nagourney, Adam. "After Sluggish Start, Lieberman Heeded Warnings of Trouble". New York Times. 7/28/06

The Hug


I have no words for how silly this is. Hat tip to tparty at LamontBlog.

I also noticed that Lieberman is traveling aboard a Peter Pan bus. Which is very nice, except that Peter Pan is based in Springfield, MA. Why not a Connecticut bus company, like Dattco (of New Britain)?

Friday, July 28, 2006

More Mail from Democrats

With a little over a week and a half left to go, the mailers have slowed to a surprising trickle. My address hasn't rated a Lieberman mailer in weeks! Which means I only have one of his to share with you. The Lamont campaign, on the other hand, has been sending out a lot of mail.

The Mule

Let's start with Lieberman, like last time. Here's one from Sen. Lieberman attacking Ned Lamont for being a chameleon. You can, in fact, see the chameleon on most pages, as Lieberman accuses Lamont of changing his views. This line of attack has been a mainstay of the Lieberman campaign.

Lieberman attacks Lamont over his votes with Greenwich Republicans, his reluctance to release his tax returns, his contributions to Lieberman, and so on.

That is also one ugly chameleon.

Lieberman, on the other hand, is no chameleon. He is, and I'm not making this up, a stubborn mule. See? "Joe Lieberman is As Tough And Steady as a Mule," reads the caption. "Voters Always Know Where He Stands." There's also a picture of a mule, which is somewhat more attractive than the chameleon, at least.

One of Lieberman's biggest problems has been his refusal to move move away from his disastrous position on Iraq, and his support for the Administration. Consistency is nice, but mulish stubbornness really isn't.

Also, a mule is only half a donkey.

Any Women Out There?


Among the many Lamont mailers we've received were several directed at women. It attacks Lieberman's support for Catholic hospitals that didn't want to provide Plan B to rape victims. The first side features a woman sitting in a hospital gown (a rape victim, we presume) , and, weirdly, has a tiny George Bush and Joe Lieberman menacing her from the corner. The flip side is mostly a picture of a serious-looking female doctor--you know she's serious and smart because she is holding glasses, and resting them thoughtfully against her chin.

John DeStefano also sent out a mailer supporting women. Here a woman is working at her job, which apparently involves taking a rag to a whole bunch of tubes. Glad that ain't me.

DeStefano is using this ad to highlight his plan of establishing pay equity in Connecticut. The back features a list of women and family-friendly policies touted by DeStefano. There's also the black-and-white file photo of Rosa DeLauro. Couldn't she have provided a better picture?

Return of the Hallmark Mailer

The Lamont campaign put out this mailer, similar to the one that featured Lamont's mother.

Yeesh. The inside shows pictures of Lamont and his family. These sorts of character pieces seem to be getting more common.



Regional Interest

Finally, a mailer from the Malloy campaign! Here Malloy informs us that "Eastern Connecticut has been ignored for too long..." which is true. That's also why Eastern Connecticut leaders sent a letter to both Democratic candidates before the convention, practically begging them to put someone from east of the river on the ticket as their running mates. Both candidates picked people from affluent towns just to the west of Hartford, instead (Simsbury, West Hartford).

Malloy promises on the flip side to end this sort of practice when he's governor. Frankly, it'll be a miracle if anyone can get Route 11 or Route 6 finished, but at least he seems willing to try.

He also lists many prominent Democrats from Eastern Connecticut (including Richard Balducci, who was originally from Newington but is now apparently in Deep River) who support his candidacy.


Expect more of these to be posted (and mailed) as the primary day approaches.

Open Forum

Both Lieberman and Lamont want the women's vote.

Malloy and DeStefano just need votes.

Both Joe and Ned will be out and about today.

What else is going on?

Source

Keating, Christopher. "Senate Race Casts A Shadow". Hartford Courant. 7/27/06

Pazniokas, Mark. "Candidates Battle For Women's Votes". Hartford Courant. 7/28/06

Ned Lamont Comes to Suffield

My wife the registered Democrat and I decided, since a political event was actually taking place near us, to go to Suffield High School and see Ned Lamont speak tonight.

The high school is only a few years old. I actually taught as a substitute in the old Suffield High School, and this building was an incredible, stunning improvement. The parking lot was a lot fuller than I had expected it to be. Suffield isn't known for being a hotbed of liberalism.

In fact, people had come from Suffield and from all over the region to see Lamont, if only because, as one woman bitterly remarked, we don't see as many candidates around here as people in other parts of the state. The auditorium wasn't full, but a crowd of probably 100-150 had gathered to hear Lamont. Many of them were either middle-aged or older people, although a few younger faces dotted the crowd here and there.

Lamont arrived a bit late, but was greeted with a standing ovation when he finally showed. He shook a few hands, then launched into his stump speech. The speech focused on the idea that "stay the course" was no longer an acceptable strategy. He started off a little slowly. He hesitated over a few lines, and his energy seemed a little low in the beginning. However, as in the debate, Lamont became much more dynamic and effective as he warmed up.

Perhaps deliberately (considering the audience), he started off by talking about the need for universal health care, not getting to Iraq until about midway through the speech. It was by and large pretty positive and focused on progressive policies, but he did have a few attacks to send Joe Lieberman's way. When talking about the energy bill and the influence of lobbyists, he said:
I know Senator Lieberman is often talking about reaching out, finding common ground: with Dick Cheney on the energy bill, or President Bush on Social Security, and I appreciate the thought about common ground, but I think it's so important that we send Democrats to Washington D.C. and start talking about common good.

This line drew huge applause.

But the most interesting part of the night was when Lamont wrapped up his stump speech and took questions from the audience. This is where Lamont seemed to be at his best. Perhaps it was the friendly crowd. These were Democrats who were concerned with a huge range of issues, from Iraq, Bush, what they felt was the miserable state of the country, to paying for health care and property taxes. He seemed at ease, and was able to express unqualified support for rolling back the Bush tax cuts (even though, as the questioner noted, this would mean Lamont himself would pay more in taxes), stem cell research and public financing of campaigns (!), although he wasn't sure if he favored term limits. He also responded to the idea of his supporters being a bunch of fringe lunatics by suggesting that, in fact, his campaign was helping to drag the country's politics back into the mainstream. When a woman in the crowd was complaining that candidates like Lieberman rarely come to northern Connecticut, Lamont pointed out that Lieberman was, in fact, there--in the form of a Lieberman staffer who was videotaping the event. Lamont waved to the staffer, to much laughter. The staffer sheepishly waved back.

The audience seemed smitten by Lamont. He is a good public speaker, although this didn't come across as well on television during the debate, and he has a kind of intense, personable charisma that people seem to like. He still doesn't quite seem like the kind of man who could possibly bring down one of the most prominent Democrats in America. Which maybe is why he's been so successful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Joe (Finally) Takes His Show on the Road

Joe Lieberman is going on tour.
From his official press release:

Hartford, CT - The Lieberman campaign today announced
that Sen. Joe Lieberman will embark tomorrow on a
ten-day tour of the state. "Joe's Tomorrow Tour,"
which will visit six cities across Connecticut on the
first day, will make stops in Meriden, Naugatuck,
Seymour, Ansonia, Shelton and Orange.


Over at MLN Spazeboy has Joe's public schedule for tomorrow posted. In addition to a stop at his campaign headquarters Lieberman will make appearances in Meriden, Naugatuck, Seymour, Ansonia, Shelton, New Haven, and Orange.

Meanwhile according to the Courant Ned Lamont will hold a press conference with Michael Schiavo, widower of Terry Schiavo tomorrow. I get what Lamont is trying to do, but appearing with Schiavo is a bizarre move.

Then again what about the Senate primary hasn't been.

Source
Steinfels, Marion. "LIEBERMAN CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCES
"JOE'S TOMORROW TOUR". Official Campaign Press Release. 7/27/06

Pazniokas, Mark. "Important As All Get-Out". Hartford Courant. 7/27/06

The Millionaires' Amendment

Two recent articles have speculated that Ned Lamont's self-financing of his campaign to the tune of $3,000,000 have opened the door to Joe Lieberman's campaign going back to their donors who have already contributed the maximum allowed and legally receiving more money.

From the AP (via CTConservative):

With U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont contributing a total of $3 million to his Democratic primary campaign, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman can now return to his contributors and ask for more money.


From the Courant:

Meanwhile, the Lieberman campaign declined to comment on whether Lamont's use of $3 million in personal funds has made Lieberman eligible for extra donations - up to an additional $4,200 - from each of the campaign donors who already have given him the maximum $2,100 allowed by law for the primary.
...
The amount of money Lieberman has raised makes it unclear whether Lamont's self-financing will trigger the higher contribution limits that would benefit the incumbent's campaign.


While the Courant should be commended for picking up what the AP missed, that just because the Lamont campaign has crossed the Millionaires' Amendment CT threshold the Lieberman campaign cannot automatically return to maxed-out donors for more money because of the amount that Lieberman has raised, both articles fail to point out the reasons why the Lieberman campaign will not take advantage of this provision:

1. While the formula for determining the Opposition Personal Funds Amount (AKA the amount that Lieberman is allowed to raise up to 110% of with additional contributions of maxed-out donors) is complicated, its not impossible to calculate. So I took a shot at it (anyone can try - its found in 11 CFR 400.10 and 11 CFR 400.31; I have included the formula and my calculations below the sources at the end of this post) and the number I came up with is negative, which means that Lieberman cannot take advantage of the Millionaires' Amendment at the present time. By my calculations, Lamont would have to kick in another roughly $585,000 before the Amendment would become applicable.

2. Funds raised under the Millionaires' Amendment can only be used for the election in which the opponent crosses the threshold and primary and general elections are treated separately (11 CFR 400.2). In other words, even if Lamont had triggered Lieberman's ability to recontact maxed-out donors, he would only have about 12 days to raise and spend that money. After the primary election, he would have to return the excess donations and would only be able to use the Millionaires' Amendment in the general if Lamont self-financed his general election campaign to an extent that crossed the threshold. Given that Lieberman has plenty of cash on hand, given the constant monitoring necessary, and given what is about to be point 3 below, it simply isn't worth it to invoke this provision, even if possible.

3. The FEC is not in the business of helping out campaigns. In evaluating whether they can raise additional funds from maxed-out contributors, the Lieberman campaign would have to decide that they were eligible, risk a complaint being filed immediately and publicly, and then await a decision that would not come for two or three years. It simply isn't worth it.

Interestingly, since Lamont, by self-financing $3,000,000, has exceeded 10x the threshold for Connecticut ($2,575,000), if Lamont had triggered the Millionaires' Amendment, Lieberman would be able to raise $12,600 from each contributor (total or an additional $10,500 from each donor) and take coordinated expenditures from the state and national parties, not just the $6,300 (total or an additional $4,200 from each donor) reported by the AP and the Courant.

Finally, it is unlikely that the Millionaires' Amendment would be triggered in the general because, either a) Lieberman wins the primary and Lamont isn't in the general or b) Lamont wins the primary and the scorecard starts from scratch, only now Lamont has better resources to raise money that do not involve dipping into his own funds.

Sources:

News and notes from the campaign trail, Associated Press, July 25, 2006.

MARK PAZNIOKAS And JON LENDER, Important As All Get-Out, Hartford Courant, July 27, 2006.

Federal Election Commission, Millionaires' Amendment Brochure, 2006.

Federal Election Commission, VAP and Thresholds for Senate Candidates, 2006.

Title 11 Code of Federal Regulations Volume I Part 400 INCREASED LIMITS FOR CANDIDATES OPPOSING SELF-FINANCED CANDIDATES, 2006.

Opposition Personal Funds Amount Calculation:

Since Lieberman's Gross Receipts - Lieberman's Self-finance Amount ($8,464,769) is greater than Lamont's Gross Receipts - Lamont's Self-finance Amount ($4,292,683 - $3,000,000 = $1,292683), the formula is:

Lamont's Self-finance Amount - ((Lieberman's Gross Receipts - Lieberman's Self-finance Amount - Lamont's Gross Receipts - Lamont's Self-finance Amount)/2) or

$3,000,000 - (($8,464,769-$1,292,683)/2) = -$586,043

Blumenthal, Nappier and Wyman Endorse Malloy

Earlier today three of the top Democrats in the state endorsed Dan Malloy:
"After every convention, I have supported the party's nominees and this year I do the same, beginning at the top with Dan Malloy for Governor," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "I am proud to have been Dan Malloy's constituent and friend. He is a great family man with rock-solid principles and commitment to public service."

"As Stamford's mayor, Dan Malloy has a record of accomplishment in two vital areas of citizens' lives that I care very deeply about -- the economy and health care," Comptroller Nancy Wyman said. "I believe his vision and leadership are worthy of electing him to the highest office in the state of Connecticut."

"Dan Malloy has demonstrated tenacity, perseverance, and determination throughout his life -- admirable attributes that have brought personal and professional accomplishments," State Treasurer Denise Nappier said. "His substantial record of innovative policy success and effective leadership was instrumental in his Democratic convention victory, and with that he has earned my endorsement."

Susan Bysiewicz, who dropped out of the governor's race last year, apparently had nothing to say on the matter.

Source

"Constitutional Officers Restate Their Support of Malloy for CT's Next Governor." Dan Malloy for Governor. Press Release. 27 July, 2006.

Is Lieberman Behind on Collecting Petitions?

Yesterday, Sen. Lieberman's campaign manager made this interesting assertion:
“As far as I know there’s no one in any of the offices doing that [petition gathering],” Steinfels said.

Today Ken Krayeske of the Green Party was at the Secretary of the State's office, and reported that he found only 65 certified signatures, out of 70 total, for the Connecticut for Lieberman party. This is compared to 414 for the Concerned Citizens' statewide ticket, 67 for the Independent Party statewide ticket, and 3296 certified out of 4550 submitted for the Green Party.

Which means that either the CT for Lieberman folks are sitting on a big stack of petitions, or they simply aren't collecting all that many of them. The deadline for filing petitions is August 9th--Lieberman needs about 7,500 to get on the ballot. Unless he's planning a big push over the next two weeks... he may not make it.

If Lieberman loses the primary and doesn't turn in enough signatures, he's finished. Literally.

Update: Concorde at My Left Nutmeg has an account of Lieberman's petition-gathering, so it looks like it is happening. How much has been gathered is uncertain.

Johnson Releases Attack Ad: Murphy Responds

Rep. Nancy Johnson recently released an ad attacking rival Chris Murphy (click for ad--.wmv format), in which she accuses him of being "a tax-hiking politician Connecticut can't afford." Yesterday, Murphy released his own ad (not yet on web), the transcript of which is as follows:
[Shot of Johnson ad on a television--Murphy turns off ad with remote]

I’m Chris Murphy, and I approved this message because attack ads like this are why I’m running for Congress.

Nancy Johnson’s misleading ad against me proves she’s been in Washington too long.

I’m running not only to change Congress, but to change what people expect from politics.

That’s why I’m doing things differently, going door to door, listening to people.

You’ll be hearing more from me soon.

Until then, you might just want to keep this handy. [Holds up remote]

Murphy also disputed the charges made in the Johnson ad. For example, the Johnson ad claims that Murphy raised taxes $3 billion, but the Murphy campaign said that, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the overall tax burden has decreased by $300 million since Murphy took office eight years ago.

The Murphy campaign also says that "the federal tax burden on Connecticut families has increased from 21.6% when Johnson took office in 1983 to 24.6% in 2006."

However, this information (and other rebuttals to Johnson's attacks) were not included in Murphy's ad--but only in a press release.

Johnson's ad is pretty vicious, is an obvious attempt to define Murphy before the campaign really gets started--and is probably a response to some recent (albeit biased) polls showing Murphy in the lead. Murphy's response, while a nice effort to change the tone, is rather weak by comparison because it addresses none of the charges leveled against him. Dave Boomer, Nancy Johnson's campaign manager pointed this out in the Hartford Courant this morning:
About Murphy's "little fluff ad," Boomer said that the Democrat "is trying to answer [our ad] by avoiding answering it."

"If I had his record on taxes, I wouldn't want to talk about it either," Boomer said. (Cohen)


However, the fact that the ad wars are beginning already in the 5th District is just one more indication that this is going to be a close, tough race.

Source

Cohen, Jeffrey. "Sparks Fly In Race To Sway." Hartford Courant 27 July, 2006.

Senate 16: Caligiuri Accuses Zoni of Push Polling

The race for state senator in the 16th District is heating up, as Republican candidate Sam Caligiuri is accusing his Democratic opponent, David Zoni, of using a push poll again him:
According to the Caligiuri campaign, they were alerted to push polling allegedly directed by the Zoni staff after a complaint by Southington attorney and fellow Republican John Nugent.

Nugent claims he received a phone call last night (Tuesday) from a man who identified himself as an employee of a polling firm based in North Dakota. The questions began normally, according to the Caligiuri staff, but when Nugent revealed he intended to support Caligiuri in the November election, “the questions took a different turn.”

“He started asking questions that I knew were a distortion of [Caligiuri’s] record,” said Nugent. “One question was, ‘Did you know Sam sent the city into bankruptcy?’ That is so far from the truth it’s a joke…The questions got worse from there.” (Southington Live)

A push poll in a state senate race? In July? Wow.

Good reporting by Southington Live.

Source

Southington Live Staff. " Caligiuri slams Zoni for “shameful” polling." Southington Live 26 July, 2006.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Willington DTC to Lieberman: Drop Independent Bid

CT News Junkie is reporting that the Willington DTC has passed a resolution asking Sen. Lieberman to forget about a possible independent bid:
The day following former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Connecticut in support of U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic Town Committee in Willington called a special meeting to pass a resolution asking Lieberman to support the winner of the Democratic primary and withdraw his petition to run as an independent candidate should he lose the Aug. 8 primary to his challenger, Ned Lamont.

Mark Palmer, co-chair of the Willington DTC said Wednesday that if Lieberman wants the support of Democratic voters in the primary he should withdraw his bid to run as an independent. He said, as long as Lieberman petitions to run as an independent, “Then he’s not focused on the primary.”

Willington is the fifth town committee to denounce Lieberman’s independent bid for re-election. Palmer said Greenwich, New Britain, Norwalk, and Hamden have passed similar resolutions. (Stuart)

The text of the resolution is posted there. Willington, as the article points out, isn't exactly a hotbed of liberal activity:
Palmer said even the Republicans in town want to know more about Lamont, so “Joe must have overstepped some invisible boundary,” that the polls just won’t pick up. (Stuart)

Interestingly, according to Marion Steinfels, the Lieberman campaign's spokeswoman, petition gathering isn't even serious at this point. Which is odd, considering that 7,500 signatures or so are due on August 9th.
“As far as I know there’s no one in any of the offices doing that [petition gathering],” Steinfels said. (Stuart)

So what's going on? I haven't heard of anyone being approached by Connecticut for Lieberman people. Has Lieberman collected a single signature?

What if, as the Willington DTC suggests he ought to, Lieberman does decide to forget about the independent bid altogether? The latest polls have been devestating. His support among Democrats is at a low ebb. Maybe burying the Connecticut for Lieberman party and throwing all his chips into the primary, combined with an all-out offensive featuring Bill Clinton, could turn that around.

But then again, it might be far, far too late.

Source

Stuart, Christine. "Willington DTC Asks Joe to Drop Independent Bid." CT News Junkie 26 July, 2006.

Air National Guard to Remain at Bradley

My house will no longer be buzzed by A-10s, but the Air National Guard mission at Bradley Airport will continue:
The Air National Guard will comprise C-21 cargo aircraft, which are to begin arriving in September, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Wednesday. The agreement between Connecticut and the National Guard Bureau and U.S. Air Force also calls for a command and control headquarters and a regional aircraft engine repair facility.

More than 400 jobs will be protected, though the presence of fighter planes in Connecticut has ended.

"Washington heard my message loud and clear," Rell said. "This is a significant success." (AP)

This is great news. I really wasn't expecting them to get anywhere with the Air National Guard. Rell and Blumenthal deserve a lot of credit--and Rell, at least, is taking it. Her campaign put out a jubilant release today, trumpeting the fact that "Team Connecticut is 2-0 against Defense Department recommendations to close major facilities in our state."

Source

"Conn. loses fighter jets, but gains cargo planes at Bradley base." Associated Press 26 July, 2006.

Open Forum

Diana Urban in CT News Junkie. I heard her yesterday on Bruce and Colin (WTIC 1080-AM), and she's pretty interesting.

MikeCT examines the voting patterns of minority-party selectmen, and finds that Lamont voted with the majority Republicans an awful lot less than most do.

DeStefano has a plan for "supporting and protecting our children."

Also, some funny stuff from LamontBlog.

What else is happening?

Republican U.S. Senate Poll

Republicans! What do you think?

Should Alan Schlesinger Withdraw From the U.S Senate Race?
Yes - He's morally corrupt
Yes - He can't win
No - He's not guilty of anything
No - He can win
It doesn't matter
I'm a Democrat, I don't care
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Which of these Republicans do you think would do best in a three-way race against Lamont and Lieberman?
Alan Schlesinger
Kevin O'Connor
Jack Orchulli
Diana Urban
Jack Welch
Mark Boughton
Eunice Groark
John McKinney
Bob Ward
Bill Aniskovich
Themis Klarides
Tim Stewart
John Rowland
Ann Coulter
Someone Else
Free polls from Pollhost.co
Post your thoughts in the comments.

Malloy Push Poll?

The gubernatorial primary is getting nasty:
A Branford man picked up his telephone Monday night to find a political pollster on the other end.

The conversation started innocently as the caller asked whether the state was going in the right direction and how he felt about the races for governor and the U.S. Senate. But as soon as the Branford man said he was voting for New Haven Mayor John DeStefano instead of Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the conversation abruptly turned to a series of anti-DeStefano questions.
...
What the pollster did not know was that the Branford man was Sam Gejdenson, the former U.S. House member who has publicly endorsed DeStefano.(Keating)

The Malloy campaign denies involvement, but they're coming under pressure from the DeStefano campaign:
[Malloy campaign manager Chris] Cooney said Malloy supporters have received anti-Malloy telephone calls recently, but he said he was not making the assumption that the calls were generated by the DeStefano campaign. DeStefano's spokesman, Derek Slap, denied that the campaign had made any anti-Malloy calls.

"They need to come clean," Slap said. "We'd expect this from Karl Rove, but not from Dan Malloy. Are they calling Sam Gejdenson a liar?" (Keating)

I would hope they'd not be dumb enough to push poll Sam Gejdenson, but I guess you never know. What's interesting, but not all that surprising, is that both sides, or people supporting both sides, are engaging in this kind of behavior. It's a strange race when both sides seem desperate.

Source

KEating, Christopher. "Guess Who's On The Line?." Hartford Courant 26 July, 2006.

Dodd and Lieberman vote Nay

Yesterday the Senate approved bill S. 403 aka the"Child Custody Protection Act". The bill would make it a crime to transport a minor to another state that doesn't require parental notification to have an abortion. Fourteen Democrats voted in favor of this bill, but Connecticut's Senators voted nay.

From the Washington Post:

This measure would make it illegal for anyone, including an aunt or grandmother, to help a pregnant minor cross state lines to circumvent those rules. The adult could be fined and face up to a year in prison. Unlike the House, the Senate bill does not hold doctors liable. Neither version changes any state laws.


More than once I've given Lieberman a hard time on women's issues. But I also want to give credit where credit is due, and today it's due.


Source
Kenen, Joanne. "Senate backs curb on minors' travel for abortion". Washington Post. 7/26/06

On Passage of the Bill (S. 403, As Amended ). United States Senate. 7/25/06

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SurveyUSA: Lieberman Holds Steady

This new poll from SurveyUSA shows Lieberman's approval ratings holding steady at Kind of Lousy. 50% of Democrats approve of him, as do 55% of moderates.

Republicans, however, like him better than anyone. 65% of Republicans approved of the job Lieberman is doing. 65% of self-identifying conservatives approved, as well.

That's his highest approval rating among any group polled. Fifteen percentage points separate GOP approval from that of his own party.

Compare that with Chris Dodd's, directly above.

Source

Results of SurveyUSA News Poll #9742. Approval Ratings for all 50 U.S. Senators. Poll. SurveyUSA. 25 July, 2006.

Known Protestors

This account from Spazeboy is very disturbing.
I was about 10 yards behind Jane [Hamsher], and had just gotten to the door when I was told that no backpacks were allowed in the theater. I could see Jane showing her ticket and presumed that she’d save me a seat, so I bolted to my car to drop off my bag. When I came back but a minute later, a familiar face was waiting for me. It was the Lieberman staffer who exuded so much confidence about Lieberman’s ability to change minds in New Britain when speaking at the DTC meeting in June who reached out and ripped the ticket from my hand.

...

It was someone a little higher up on the Lieberman food-chain (I can tell this because he didn’t steal anything from me) who came over with a police officer and said this about me:

“Officer, he’s a known protester”

...

I bristled at the charge that I was a “known protester”. Am I not also a Democrat? How about a constituent of Senator Lieberman? How about a fan of Bill Clinton?

Nope. Because I am a pretty visible supporter of Ned Lamont, and because I’ve made appearances at a couple of Lieberman campaign stops to see what he has to say (and to ask him to commit to the Primary), I was not allowed in to see Bill Clinton.

This is just the kind of turnaround Joe Lieberman needs. Talking Points Memo spoke with Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels about the issue:
She tells us that although Spazeboy had a ticket (which was apparently given to him by someone else), his name wasn't on the list, and no one whose name wasn't on the list was admitted -- ticket or no ticket. "You had to have your name on the list, for security reasons," she told us. "Every ticket had a number and the name corresponded." It appears that the person at the door recognized Spazeboy and knew his name wasn't on the list, and thus barred him.
Spazeboy says that no list was checked, and that in fact no lists were present.

If this is true (and I suspect that it is), then that was not a smart thing of the Lieberman campaign to do if they want to prove to Democrats that they are not, in fact, the Bush campaign from 2004. I wonder if free speech zones are next.

Update: In fact, there was a free-speech zone at the event. Sigh.

The Replacements

If Kevin Rennie and a few others are right, then the rest of the week is going to see the rollout of more hits against Alan Schlesinger (starting with the fact that he hasn't filed any of his July campaign finance forms), which may finally lead him to drop out of the race.

So who will replace him on the ticket? The Republican state central committee will choose the new candidate. Here's a list of possible and impossible candidates for them to consider:


The Possible

Bill Aniskovich

He's got better name recognition than Schlesinger, can raise money, and would probably appeal to the Republican base. Best of all, he's actually interested. However, his Rowland ties, a reportedly seamy past and his loss to Ed Meyer in 2004 raise many questions about the viability of a potential Aniskovich candidacy.

Jack Orchulli

Republican diehards like him. 67% of the rest of voters decided they preferred the other guy in 2004. But in 2006, 33% or thereabouts might be good enough. He also has money, which is a plus.

Diana Urban

The bad news is that Republicans don't actually like her, as her positions on most issues are quite liberal. However, she could more realistically portray herself as a sane, center-left alternative to Lamont and Lieberman.

Kevin O'Connor

The U.S. attorney has good name recognition and a strong background. He'd be a great candidate, if he were interested. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be.


The Unlikely/Impossible

Jodi Rell

Most popular Republican in these parts. But already has a job, and a big lead over her rivals.

Nancy Johnson, Chris Shays, Rob Simmons

A dream scenario for Republicans would be if one of the three Republican members of Congress took a run at Lieberman, while leaving a capable Republican candidate to run in their district. This is the Weicker 1970 scenario--which, as Republicans recall, actually worked. For example, if Johnson ran for Senate and, say, Sam Caligiuri ran for Congress, GOP chances are pretty decent in both races. But it isn't going to happen.

John Rowland

Waterbury would be a lock. And it's a great story--the once popular governor who has learned his lesson. I swear, a lot of people would still vote for him.

In the end, I imagine that we'll see either Orchulli or Aniskovich enter the race if and when Schlesinger steps aside. Both would be better than Schlesinger--but probably not enough to actually win without some serious outside help. Which may, in fact, be coming. The NRSC is apparently getting interested in this race--and will become more so if Lieberman loses in two weeks.

But if Schlesinger remains the candidate, I don't think their interest will matter for much.

Open Forum

Rasmussen polls are finally public. Gubernatorial, U.S. Senate (general) and U.S. Senate (primary).

Interesting show today on WTIC, looks like.

And now Nancy Johnson is questioning Schlesinger's candidacy. Still waiting for the latest round of revelations.

What else is happening?

Clinton Visits Waterbury

Former President Bill Clinton came to Waterbury yesterday to support friend Joe Lieberman. Clinton defended Lieberman on the central issue of the campaign, Iraq:
"We don't agree on Iraq," Clinton said of Lieberman. "But the real issue is, whether you were for it or against it, what are you going to do now? Let me tell you something. No Democrat is responsible for the mistakes that have been made since the fall of Saddam." (Pazniokas)

There's a lot to argue with in that statement. The case could be made (and has been made) that Lieberman, by providing support for Administration policies and undermining his party’s opposition efforts, exacerbates those mistakes. Clinton’s defense of Lieberman rings a little hollow.

But that’s neither here nor there. Clinton was a hit. He always is. He’ll probably swing a decent number of votes Lieberman’s way. The question is whether or not Clinton’s appearance will help Joe Lieberman enough to save him from defeat. Lieberman hopes so: I would expect to see at least one commercial featuring Clinton appear over the next two weeks.

An attendee who wishes to remain anonymous has sent these observations from the event:
1) There was a HUGE minority presence in the palace theater. Somewhere between a third and a half of the audience.
2) No Destefano supporters showed up (No Kevin Sullivan, No Don Williams, No Marty Looney, No Destefano, No Larson or DeLauro who were said to be out of town). Labor, however, was there in force
3) Malloy did show up but was not invited up on stage. His campaign had a big presence there including wall to wall signs outside as people were leaving almost to the point where it was stopping traffic…
4) Joe Courtney was the only Congressional Challenger absent...and very conspicuously so.
5) George Jepsen was camped out front trying to get a ticket to get in, he even tried to sneak in a few times to no avail....it was hilarious.

We'll see if Bill Clinton's visit helps right Lieberman's ship. If it doesn't, I don't know what will.

Source

Pazniokas, Mark. "Bill Stands By Joe." Hartford Courant 25 July, 2006.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rennie: Aniskovich?

Courant columnist Kevin Rennie on Political Wire:

Talk grew over the weekend in Republican circles about the advantages of offering the Senate nomination to Lieberman if he loses the primary. The 20-25% a Republican nominee would thrust Lieberman considerably past Lamont. Expectations of more Schlesinger revelations have moved from the if to the when column among party apparatchiks.

Lieberman may first have to get by former Republican state Senator William Aniskovich. The seven term legislator was defeated in 2004 on the heals of his to-the-last-ditch defense of felonious former governor John Rowland. Aniskovich confirmed for me this weekend that he is interested in filling any vacancy. He began today to make calls for support. Aniskovich, a dynamic campaigner when his interest is engaged, might have some troubled convincing Governor Jodi Rell, with whom he has had a strained relationship, to support him. Nevertheless, he is thought to be able to fund a fast start and then persuade donors that a three-way would be a contest in which he would thrive.


Seriously? Aniskovich? Two years ago he couldn't beat a guy who moved from New York 10 minutes before the election in a state senate district with a less than 800 person Democratic registration advantage and now he is going to win the senate election in Connecticut? It would have to be a 10 way race!

Somewhere in Branford, CTKeith is already setting up a table in front of a Stop and Shop and licking his chops...

PS - read the whole post. Dole (Bob not Elizabeth) as broker to get Schlesinger to drop out? Tell me the truth, if this wasn't unfolding in front of you, would you believe it was happening?

Representative Johnson Calls for 'Soul Searching'

This morning, Representative Nancy Johnson (R-5th) became the latest member of Connecticut's GOP elite to take a shot at Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger's collapsing campaign. The article, which appears in the NewsTimesLive, is posted here.

Representative Johnson now joins Governor Jodi Rell, GOP State Party Chairman George Gallo, and Representative Christopher Shays in calling into question the Schlesinger campaign's viability. Adding to the insult of the GOP hierarchy's apparent lack of faith in Mr. Schlesinger's ability to win in November (or even continue on for that matter), Representative Johnson had very kind words for Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman (without going so far to endorse him).

The question becomes, other than Mr. Schlesinger, who is this Republican love affair with Senator Lieberman hurting most? According to FoxNews, the answer is the Democrat Party. But doesn't this hurt the GOP as well? While Senator Lieberman should be commended (and not discarded) for his bipartisan politics, he does not really represent the overall ideals of the typical Republican. This race just keeps getting more interesting by the hour. . .

Sources (UPDATED)
NewsTimesLive, Nancy Johnson Praises Lieberman, Challenger Has Some ‘Soul Searching’ To Do, by Fred Lucas (site last visited July 24, 2006)

FoxNews, Democrats Lose If Lieberman Is Defeated Party, by Peter Brown (site last visited July 24, 2006)

The YouTube Campaign

One of the things we haven't talked about much around here is the explosion of YouTube as a tool for and driver of campaigns.

Here's the upshot: YouTube and sites like it are allowing people unaffiliated with campaigns to make campaign videos and event reports, and, most importantly, to share them. Some of them are scarily good. For example, go watch this anti-Lieberman piece. Doesn't matter if you agree with it or not--it's effective. And it's going to spread all around the liberal web: by the end of today, I bet half a million people will have seen it--if not more.

Ned Lamont's campaign didn't pay a thing for it. They had nothing to do with it--just like they have nothing to do with the hundreds of liberal blogs posting positive coverage of the race. For now, these videos probably serve the same purpose as campaign blogs--they excite and motivate the candidate's base. But what if they start reaching undecided voters? Video is a far more powerful medium than text.

Another new wrinkle. Another small campaign revolution, courtesy of the Web.

Update: This piece from CT Bob is a perfect illustration of the possibilities of this medium. As Bob's video suggests, most incumbent politicians don't really like being questioned by regular people. They'd rather deal with the press, which acts as a sort of buffer between elected officials and the rest of us. The mainstream press is predictable, and follows set patterns and rules. Regular people are not, and do not. I think it annoys the hell out of some officials to have to speak directly to us without the buffer there, and to have to answer our questions because suddenly we've got digital cameras and an internet connection. Everyone can be the media. Scary stuff.

Bring 'Em Home and the Reverse of 1994

The Washington Post has started a series entitled Eight Issues That Will Shape The 2006 Elections, which focuses on eight questions affecting select congressional races this fall, including:

(1) How big a problem is President Bush for the GOP?
(2) Will the corruption issue go national?
(3) Will pocketbook concerns move voters?
(4) Will the immigration issue save Republicans?
(5) Will the Iraq War come home in November?
(6) Can Republicans win the Northeast?
(7) Can Democrats compete in the upper South?
(8) What ballot issues will drive voters to the polls?

Only one question is applied to select congressional races, and in the case of Connecticut's delegation, two races are being closely monitored:

4th Dist. -- Rep. Christopher Shays (R) vs. Diane Farrell (D) -- Will the Iraq War come home in November?

5th Dist. -- Rep. Nancy Johnson (R) v. Chris Murphy (D) -- Can Republicans win the Northeast?

It has always amazed me how one issue can turn an election. In the case of the 4th District, Rep. Shays finds himself caught in dangerous waters as Ms. Farrell has kept continual pressure on him for his position on the Iraq War, and Ms. Farrell seems to be holding him personally accountable for the legislature's alleged oversight failure of the Bush Administrations strategy. If Rep. Shays loses this election, it is clearly (to me) the result of the 4th District's rejection of the Iraq War and the current policies/strategy (or lack thereof).

As for the 5th District, the Washington Post targets this race as a question of whether a Republican can win in the Northeast. It likens this race (and several other races) to 1994 when Republicans took the South by storm. We all know that the Northeast has been a difficult place for a (conservative) Republican to win office (FYI - I'm not referring to Rep. Johnson as a conservative), but I do not think that the climate in the Northeast has changed to the level that a (moderate) Republican can no longer win here. If it has changed, I think the question really is whether this is an indictment of the Bush Administration rather than a shift in whether a Republican can be successful in the Northeast.

Thoughts? Comments? What about the other races in Connecticut?

Source
The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com (date last visited, July 24, 2006)

Fifteen Days

We're heading into the home stretch for the primary. Bill Clinton's in Waterbury today, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will be touring Connecticut with Joe Lieberman beforehand. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is also in the state campaigning for Ned Lamont, and former Clinton appointee Carl Feen is endorsing the challenger. Expect the national media to descend in force starting today, and continuing through August 8th.

All of which means that it's a great time for a predictions thread! Who's going to win in the U.S. Senate (D), gubernatorial (D) and 1st Congressional District (R) primary? By how much?

Feel free to offer guesses about turnout, too. We'll do this again next week to see if perceptions are changing.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Open Forum

So. What's happening?

A Note from Scott MacLean

I received this email from Scott MacLean, who will be facing Miriam Masullo in the 1st District Republican Congressional primary, with a request to post it publicly.
Dear Genghis Conn and all the Connecticut Local Politics bloggers:

This is Scott MacLean, the GOP endorsed candidate for Congress in Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District. As I’m sure you and the entire Connecticut blogging community know, I will face Dr. Miriam Masullo in the Republican primary on August 8th. Although I am not a registered contributor to the Connecticut Local Politics blog, I read it and am familiar with some of the regular contributors.

I would like to put this question out to the blogging community, Republicans and Democrats alike, so I can listen to your comments and thoughtfully weigh them as I decide what to do in this matter. First the facts:

Last week, I received an e-mail directly from Dr. Masullo herself. It was addressed primarily to two churches, First Congregational Church in Bristol and a CC to my home Church, The First Church in Hartland-Congregational. The subject line if the e-mail said, “Personal and Confidential.” But she also sent a copy to me. Why, I don’t know. The subject line of my copy said, “Personal and Confidential (your copy.)”

So here is my question to the blogging community. What are my ethical responsibilities here? If I was still a practicing Minister, which I’m not, and someone sent me an e-mail saying, “Personal and Confidential” I would feel an obligation to preserve that confidentiality. But I am no longer a practicing Minister. Am I still obligated to preserve the confidentiality of something which was intended for someone else even though a copy was intentionally sent to me by my political opponent? Also, I made no agreement with Dr. Masullo to keep anything personal and confidential and we have no oral or written contract on this or any other matter. In fact, we have never spoken except for the few moments after the 1st District Convention in May. So in some ways I feel that if she sends something to me, directly, that’s it’s fair game and I can publish it. What are your thoughts?

I know you all have some curiosity about what the e-mail says but my question to you concerns the ethics of the matter, so please frame your comments in those terms.

I look forward to the thoughts of the blogging community on this. I’ll weigh them carefully and you’ll be the first to know my decision. If it is your collective wisdom that I am ethically free to publish this and if I then decide to actually publish it (of course the final decision is mine and mine alone) then I will break the story first on the Connecticut Local Politics blog.

Thank You.


Sincerely,

Scott MacLean
Republican Party endorsed Candidate for Congress
Connecticut's 1st Congressional District

Mr. MacLean also included this in a follow-up email, which I am also posting with his permission:
But let me also say something about Ethics in General. When I was in theological seminary I had a two course core requirement in Ethics, so it's an area where I have some specific training and I deem it to be important. But the thing about Ethics that makes it so complicated is not what decision you come up with, on any given subject, but the decision making process you use to get there, the reasoning behind your decision. That's why two different people, each coming up with a different answer, can both be considered ethical if their reasons and justifications are ethically sound.

This is why I welcome the discussion within the blogging community because two different people, coming from different places, can each come up with two different ethically justifiable positions.

Feel free to post your comments and ideas.