Friday, April 25, 2008

Still here....

But it's been one of those weeks...

The state budget surplus continues to dwindle....and we won't know the real outcome until after June.

State Rep. Mike Caron, R-Killingly, announced he won't seek re-election in the fall. That's a loss for the northeastern part of the state.

House Speaker James Aman announced he won't seek re-election as he prepares to make a bid for governor in 2010....that's a gamble.

The state Senate passed the 401(k) plan...that is a waste of taxpayers' money.

The President is in town today....that's a....

The vice president will be in town next month, delivering the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy.

And I'm taking next week off....back in time for the final three days of the legislative session.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Sullivan campaign

A Democratic-oriented progressive blog made quite the big deal about Republican congressional candidate Sean Sullivan's use of former GOP state legislator Richard Foley "consulting" services yesterday. But not everything he implied on the blog site was true.

the blogger implied that Foley, who was the subject of corruption probe in 1993 later dismissed on appeal, was operating out of hotel in Danbury and hadn't filed the proper paperwork with the state to do business in Connecticut. The truth is, Foley maintains a mail box at the UPS store located at the address -- something he's owned since 2000 -- and he is not required to register with the state, only the town which he had done in Naugatuck.

Foley -- operating as the Prince Group -- was paid by the Sullivan campaign, earning $18,000 during the first quarter of this year for polling and consulting services. He hasn't worked for the Sullivan campaign since February when it appears there was a falling out. (Sullivan would only say that "changes were needed, and we made them.")

At first glance it looked like more than what actually turned out to be, especially with the glee and enthusiasm of the initial report on MyLeftNutmeg. But the details didn't match the same level of glee and enthusiasm on deeper investigation.

Foley's involvement with the Sullivan campaign, even briefly as it was, isn't that big a deal. The bigger deal is the Sullivan campaign itself. He is obviously struggling to raise money, and potential donors are going to look at how he's spending money and wonder if that's an investment they want to make. He barely netted $2,000 in the last three months (raising $43,000 and spending $41,000 -- mostly on consultants). If anything, he should take a second look at his "fundraising consultants" who made money from his campaign than what Sullivan was able to put "into" the campaign.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2nd district race

Incumbent Democrat Joe Courtney issued a press release today egarding another successful (over $200,000) campaign finance reporting quarter, leaving him with $1.2 million cash on hand. Courtney's FEC filing, the more detailed account of contributors and expenditures, hadn't been posted by early afternoon.

His opponent, Republican Sean Sullivan , did not issue a press release -- but his FEC filing (posted on the FEC Web page) shows just over $43,000 raised, and $128,000 cash on hand. As I reviewed Sullivan FEC's filing, I immediately drawn to the fact that he spent nearly everything that he raised -- showing less than $2,000 net gain. A further review showed the vast majority of that spending was on consultants (including fundraising consultants -- and maybe he needs to get another group if that's the best they can do.)

But the more interesting part of it is the expenditures for the polling consultant, Richard Foley of the Prince Group. We're still looking at that one and I'll have more on that tomorrow. (but the blog MyLeft Nutmeg has ar more extensive look at the Prince Group on that blog now)

Sullivan's campaign to date hasn't really excited a lot of people, and this isn't going to bode well.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A promise of more competitive races

When lawmakers adopted public financing for state and General Assembly elections, there was a thought that creating a level playing field for challengers going up against incumbents would result in more competitive racs. So doesn't look that promising.

Endorsement conventions will held in every legislative district between May 6 and 27, so there's still quite a bit of time for parties to come up with candidates to challenge incumbents. (The incumbents here in Eastern Connecticut are all seeking re-election.)

So far, however, only four potential challengers have filed paperwork with the state Election Enforcment Commission. They are:

Marc Guttman, a Libertarian Party candidate looking to challenge state Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, in the 20th Senatorial District.

Chris Coutu, the Republican Norwich alderman, challenging Democratic incumbent State Rep. Jack Malone of Norwich in the 47th Assembly District.

Democrat Sherri Vogt, a rematch of the race two years ago against Republican incumbent State Rep. Mike Alberts in the 50th Assembly District.

And Mae Flexer of Danielson who has formed an exploratory committee and would, if she decides to run, mostly likely challenge Eastern Connecticut's only other incumbent Republican, State Rep. Mike Caron, also of Danielson.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

2nd District race

Mary...neither Democrat Joe Courtney nor Republican Sean Sullivan have filed their first quarter fundraising reports as of yet. The deadline for filing is Monday, April 15., and I suspect both camps will wait until Monday to release the reports.

What is new in the 2nd District, however, is the planned Green Party convention to be held Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. at the Otis Library in Norwich. It marks the first time the Green Party will nominate a candidate for Congress here in the 2nd District. The convention is opened to any Green Party registered voter. The public is also invited to attend.

Scott Deshefy, a retired state Department of Environmental Protection employee is seeking the Green Party nomination.

(There's also a Libertarian Party candidate running as well.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Democratic race....

things are surely getting interesting in Pennsulvania these days. There are now more than 4 million registered Democrats in the state, a huge surge in the final days for folks to register and qualify for this month's Democratic primary showdown with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

And momentum seems to be on Obama's side. According to a newly released Quinnipiac poll, Clinton's lead has been cut to 6 points (50 to 44 percent), down from a 9 percenta point lead last week.

There's been a lot of talk about having the superdelegates bring this to a quick end before the duel causes serious damage to the party's chances in November. But...that might not be necessary if Obama can pull off the upset in Pensylivania. There's no way Clinton could continue if that happened.

Pennsylvania voters hold the power to either continue this contest or bring it to an end.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Some impressions...

I'm back from my trip to South Carolina (84-degrees and sunny upon arrival on Friday, and 44-degrees, rainy and raw when we left Sunday). It was a five-day trip...spending Thursday night in Delaware (not impressed), two nights in South Carolina and Sunday night in Baltimore. Along the way, there were two stops in New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and one brief stop in Washington, DC.

Some observations I picked up based on talking with folks, reading local newspapers and listeening to local radio.

Voters who have not yet voted in the primaries are excited about having the opportunity to have a say in the selection process. None of these voters in the late states thought the race would last this long, so this is a pleasant surprise for them.

Voters aren't interested in how states voted. They see an opportunity to have their own say, and they're going to take it. Although they're not particularly pleased with the tone of the Democratic contest, that doesn't seem to be as much of an issue for them.

Republicans, however, are loving every minute of the Democratic slugfest. As far as they're concerned, it can go on...and on....and on.

Republican voters don't talk about John McCain in terms of being a supporter of his as much as they talk in terms of him being the candidate. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the enemy, and they don't want either of them elected. (McCain is almost a default candidate in that sense).

Democratic voters are not pleased about the possibility of super delegates "hand picking" the nominee. They would much rather prefer that one of the two candidates bows out on their own after all the voting is done. The idea of a convention fight is not high on their list either.

And despite rising fuel costs, the long line of golf bags lying in front of hotels waiting to be loaded in the trunks of cars with license plates from up and down the east coast, the midwest and the south, supports the idea that people still intend on taking vacations this year.