Dreaming of the races that might’ve been
Remember the glory days of the candidates for Connecticut governor?
It wasn’t that long ago, in geologic terms, when the political landscape was lousy with them. You couldn’t swing a federal indictment without giving a paper cut to someone who was thoroughly convinced they had what it takes to be the next governor and pull Connecticut out of its financial crisis.
Politician, thy aspirations are delusional!
Back a year ago, anything seemed possible for so, so many people whose names, now, are just a couple words ensconced deep inside a document dump in the State Elections Enforcement Commission’s website. And yet, I miss them. The smart money was on people like Republican Senate Leader Len Fasano, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, or Democrats such as Attorney General George Jepsen or State Comptroller Kevin Lembo. Of course, knowing as much as they did about the state of Connecticut and the challenges facing the next governor, they were smarter than the smart money and declined candidacies for governor.
Micah Welintukonis? We not only hardly knew yah, but your names have made the newspaper for the first time right now. And we’re much too busy at the moment to consider you, as this historically vague campaign grinds down to its uneventful nub of a final month. Yep, I’m giving your meager financial forms a big miss. Eric Mastroianni? Huh? Who these people?
Chuck Dikko is another who didn’t make the political radar screen, although with his finance documents, I can see he was truly prepared to join the cavalcade of Connecticut elective leaders. His campaign raised $2,350 and spent $4,340. So there you go, an opportunity missed.
Still, as Republican Bob Stefanowski mostly stays in his fundraising safe room, with the TV commercials droning in the background, and Democrat Ned Lamont parses good-government generalities in near-daily news conferences, I’m wondering what might-havebeen.
I’ve been imagining the ferocious Tim Herbst, arguably the best debater in the original field of about 30 people, engaging in actual policy conversations with Lamont. It’s refreshing, it’s entertaining. It’s brutal.
I’m thinking how Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, the nice-guy Republican who played fair-and-square, courting delegates, redlining his cholesterol at endless GOP town committee cook-outs, might have looked in a camel hair overcoat on the north steps of the State Capitol next Jan. 9, taking the oath of office, the Democrats’ worst dream incarnate.
But no. Boughton, the dubious winner of the Republican State Convention, is now the Charlie Brown of Connecticut politics. Second prize is a return to his mayor-for-life job in City Hall and his Cal Ripken Jr. streak of attending City Council meetings.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, the progressive Democrat? Too bad about soliciting campaign cash in City Hall.
Say what you want about Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim — and let me join you — but he collected big bucks without even asking, because municipal employees there know where their bread is buttered, to use an old culinary term that could be attributed to Town Committee Chairman/Restaurateur Mario Testo, if we didn’t know better.
Yeah, if Ganim had been able to pull off a primary victory, instead of getting buried in Lamont’s 168-town crush, a Herbst-Ganim contest would have been amazing. But anything might be more interesting than this current state of
The smart money was on people like Republican Senate Leader Len Fasano, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, or Democrats such as Attorney General George Jepsen or State Comptroller Kevin Lembo. Of course, knowing as much as they did about the state of Connecticut and the challenges facing the next governor, they were smarter than the smart money and declined candidacies.
affairs. Heck, the next “big” debate is not until Oct. 18. By then, we may all be hypnotized by the TV ads. Just thinking about it makes me yawn ... zzzzzz.
Peter Thalheim, the Greenwich construction executive who sought the Republican nomination? That building collapsed with nary a sound.
State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, who nosed out Stefanowski for the hardestname-to-spell prize, was the most-game candidate, whose presence on the campaign trail paid dividends when Boughton collapsed at a meet-and-greet event and the India-born physician helped administer first aid.
Speaking of salvaging lives, for your Election Day ballot perusals don’t forget Oz Griebel, who’s making an independent — small i — run for governor. By now you’ve surely heard of the former Republican, the chairman of the former state Transportation Strategy Board who believes in the power of highway tolls to help the deteriorating roads and bridges. Griebel has teamed up with former Democrat Monte Frank of Newtown, to provide a viable alternative to the Stefanowski/Lamont traditionalists.
For those of you on the fringe, who see Nov. 6 as a dark day on the calendar that is beckoning and yet repulsive at the same time, you can always fill in the bubble for Libertarian Rodney Hanscomb. Then there is petitioning candidate Mark Stewart Greenstein ...