Dream­ing of the races that might’ve been

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Opinion - Are KEN DIXON Ken Dixon, po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor and colum­nist, can be reached at 203-842-2547 or at kdixon@ct­post.com. Visit him at twit­ter.com/KenDixonCT and on Face­book at kendixonct.hearst.

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.

Betheona Guiles-Smith?

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 ...

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