CT-Gov: Rell Won’t Run For Re-Election; SSP Moves to Tossup

Big news out of the Nutmeg State:

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell says she will not seek re-election next year.

Rell made the announcement in a news conference with reporters Monday at the statehouse in Hartford.

This comes as a surprise, as Rell has had fairly high job approval ratings, although they’d been trending downwards lately, and a recent bit of ethical bad news couldn’t have helped matters. Democrats already in the hunt include Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, 2006 Senate candidate Ned Lamont, and Stamford mayor Dan Malloy. Without a Republican in the field yet, and given the state’s bluish hue, Swing State Project is immediately moving the Connecticut race to “Tossup” (and may move it further in the Democrats’ direction once the field gets better sorted out).

UPDATE: The Hartford Courant sheds a little more light on the possible Republican field. Current Lt. Governor Michael Fedele has apparently already said he would seek the GOP nomination if Rell didn’t, and also says that Rell privately promised her support in such a case. The article also cites state House minority leader Larry Cafero and state Senate minority leader John McKinney (who begged out of a CT-04 run recently) as possible candidates.

RaceTracker Wiki: CT-Gov

77 thoughts on “CT-Gov: Rell Won’t Run For Re-Election; SSP Moves to Tossup”

  1. How popular is Lt. Gov. Fedele?

    Also, anyone think she may challenge Lieberman now that she’s not running? Or is she just done with politics?  

  2. and she sounded all choked up, fighting back tears. Connecticut Republican chair didn’t know she wasn’t going to run again, neither did Lt. Governor Fidele. She’s a cancer survivor, I’m hoping there’s no health issue.

  3. Get your sorry ass out of the Senate.  Hopefully the people of Connecticut won’t be fooled again and we can end Lieberman’s political career two years earlier than expected.

  4. Yet another gubernatorial race that Team Blue has an inside track towards winning.  We now have better than even chances to flip Hawaii, California, Arizona (although we technically never lost it), Minnesota, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Connecticut.  That will greatly help us overcome (likely) losses in Oklahoma, Wyoming, Tennessee, and Kansas, as well as at least 1-2 losses we could suffer from the tossups in Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Ohio.  We also still have a decent shot in Nevada (although it seems to be fading), Florida, and South Carolina.  Given how badly some of our incumbents are doing in these races, the more offense we play the better we will be as I think it will be extremely hard for us to successfully defend all of our territory.  Besides her ethics concerns, I think Rell knew that 2010 would be anti-incumbent year and that she’d have to struggle to win re-election.  As long as Dodd doesn’t kill us on the top of the ticket we should get this.  

  5. I think the previous posts about the scandal and Rell’s dismal fundraising numbers clinched it for me. There probably is a health issue behind it all. Still, along with Vermont and Rhode Island, maybe now we can go 3 for 3 on all of the remaining Republican-controlled New England governorships.

    And yes, it probably will help Dodd. So will Linda McMahon. Frankly, as long as Dodd doesn’t have any more ill-thought out gaffes like he did last fall, he should be fine. There isn’t enough momentum there by itself to push a five-term Democratic incumbent over the edge in a solidly Democratic state. (Only 14 Senate incumbents having served four or more terms have been defeated since 1920, most of them in Presidential years. They don’t just fall down because the media wants conflict. I’m working on the spreadsheet now.)  

  6. Now that Ned Lamont has formed a exploratory committee and will eventually announce that he’s offically running soon. What are the chances of winning the primary and general elections? Because my mind he got screwed in 2006 and this is a man that we need in politics

  7. I’m happy to see all the informed speculation of how this will play out politically, which I’ve come to expect here.

    But I want to take a moment to reflect on Rell’s time in office. She came into office when the Governorship had been thoroughly disgraced, and brought the state together by showing a seriousness of purpose to act in what she perceived as the interest of the people. Unlike many Republicans today, she did not indulge the hard right of her party, but instead, was always willing to listen to and negotiate with legislators from across the political spectrum. She is part of a sadly dying breed of pragmatic, centrist, good-government Republicans. I salute her and wish her well.

  8. Stay with me for a moment. As I have been (futilely) trying to understand the Palin phenomenon, it has occurred to me that there is probably an opening for a 2012 Republican candidate that is a) female, b) sane, and c) potentially competent.

    Particularly as we look to a possibility in which Hillary could be our nominee in 2016, I can certainly see many Republicans seeing value to trying to beat us to the punch and becoming the first major party to nominate a female candidate.

    Given that the 2012 Presidential race is likely to be an uphill climb for Republicans in any event, it might behoove them to think outside of the box a little bit and try to do something a little bit atypical. (In other words, two white dudes ain’t gonna get it done.) It probably also behooves them to look outside their current cadre of milquetoast candidates – Romney, Huckabee, Pataki, et al – all of whom really just scream “LOSER.” If nothing else, this could be an opportunity for them to move the Overton window on gender a little bit, and try to present themselves as a party that (all evidence to the contrary) cares about women.

    The problem, of course, is that Republicans only have three sitting Governors (Rell, Linda Lingle, Jan Brewer) and four sitting Senators (Kay Bailey Hutchison, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Lisa Murkowski) that are women. Most of the names on that list are quickly eliminated as Presidential candidates for different reasons, and not many other names come to mind as potential viable Presidential candidates. Rell will be 66 in 2012, meaning that this would really be her one and only opportunity to stand up and take her shot.

    I get all the reason why this will never happen. Her national profile isn’t high enough (then again, the same could have been said for Bill Clinton.) She doesn’t hate gays, and she seems to believe that a woman has the right of autonomy over her own body – two ideas that are anathema to the Republican base. And yes, there’s a hint of a scandal, but when has that ever stopped Republicans? Still, if there is a voice for moderates within the Republican party, she could potentially carve out a niche among moderates and independents (and crossover Democrats) in a Republican primary.

    And one more thought – I could see her attempting a Biden-like candidacy, in which she has little chance to secure the nomination but could position herself as an option for a VP nod. She could be an appealing moderate alternative to a conservative candidate, for someone like Huckabee. Hell, for that matter, Palin is so erratic that if she’s the nominee, I can see her picking Rell (though more likely Bachmann) as the VP candidate in a “girl-power” ticket.

    Obviously, Jodi Rell would be a more palatable candidate than almost everyone else under consideration. If she spurred a third-party challenge from the far right, all the better.

    Just some food for thought. I keep looking at outside-the-box Republican party candidates for President in 2012, and this is a thought that had occurred to me.

  9. she could’ve won reelection easily and then ran for Senate if she was considering it.

    As far as Fidele? I’m not sure he’s all that well known…this seems like a Kerry Healy situation.

    I wonder if Chris Shays’ name will come back into the fold.  

  10. I think Georgia is in tossup territory now and as the election gets closer will be a lean GOP race.  2010 will not be a good year for Dems in the South.  Florida most likely presents a better chance for a Dem gov pickup.  Sink seems to be a much better candidate than Barnes.  His ill fated reelection run in 2002 will definitely be brought to the attention of voters.  Georgia exhibits more Southern tendencies than Florida.  

  11. He’s also had a lot of health issues. I hope she wasn’t sad because of that. I think it may be her popularity, a new poll is out tomorrow about that.

  12. This is huge for Dodd because a close election could have been skewd towards Simmons if Rell was on the ticket. In 2006, she won with over 63% of the vote in a great year for Dems. She would likely have done better in 2010 and thus could have potentially had coattails that would have gone down to Simmons. If Dems do really well in the Gov race, than it could the opposite affect. This is the one of the reasons Im hoping Lynch runs for re-election in New Hampshire. (Hodes vs. Ayotte)

  13. I expect he’ll jump in this race eventually.  Personally, I’m cheering for Chris Murphy to take out Lieberman.  

  14. I would think that as a statewide offical and being linked to the current governor would make him the obvious choice.

    Anyone from CT know of any other Republicans who woudl run if Fidele didn’t. Shays would be a strong candiditate but I don’t think he would want to get back into politics: it would have been far easier for him to run against Dodd and he is stronger than Simmons. That he passed on that easier race means he will probably pass on this tougher one with a very strong Democratic field.

  15. Lieberman’s entire persona is based on being a media whore. His current position lets him lob turds into the Democratic punchbowl with impunity and gets him regular opportunities to wag his finger and self-righteously say “I told you so” on the cable talk shows. If he became Governor of a relatively small state that no one really cares about, he loses that advantage. Also, Connecticut is done with Lieberman. He’d lose if he ran for any other office, and will probably lose in 2012. I think even he realizes this, and has decided to take the Democratic Party down with him out of spite. He needs to cling to his Senate seat for as long as possible to do that. (And twenty bucks says he’s a worse sore loser than Norm Coleman was when they finally do boot his sorry ass out.)

  16. Lynch has one of the highest gubernatorial approval ratings in the country, from both Democrats and Republicans, and is one of the few incumbents who has actually kept up good approval ratings from before the recession. Barring a huge scandal or family/health issues, he’s got the office for as long as he wants it, and I get the impression he wants it for a long time to come.  

  17. We could sweep the New England governorships in 2010, which coupled with the NY-23 may be a total death blow to the Republican Party in that region.

  18. Brandstad seems to be suffering the politician’s classic case of the more voters get to know them, the less they like about them.  Plus, he could still lose to wingnut Vander Plaats in the primary, which would make life way easier for Culver.

  19. He does want to run for higher office, and is extremely risk-averse – this is the cleanest shot he’ll ever get.

  20. Susan Bysiewicz is supposedly the frontrunner, with Dannell Malloy and James Amann. A February poll had her at 44% with Malloy and Amann down at 12% and 4%. Bysiewicz also polled close to Rell. Lamont hasn’t been factored into polls yet and until he does, dunno how much effect he has.

    This could either lead to a Bysiewicz/Lamont primary, or one or the other could run away with the thing.  

  21. Ned was able to capitalize off of the anti-Lieberman sentiment that had been brewing in Connecticut for a long time and also channeled a lot of the anger Democrats had over the war in Iraq towards hawkish Dems.  That said, in 2010 he will have to stand on his own two feet and won’t have a bogeyman to contrast himself against, which I think will definitely hurt him.  I’m not sure how much of his support was actually for him or more just how much folks hated Lieberman.  Plus, while he could present himself as solely an ideological candidate in 2006, he will have to demonstrate a much stronger grasp of local issues this time around and will have to prove he is capable of governing a state – no short order when he’s facing up against a reasonably popular statewide official and a former mayor of a major city.  I think he’ll make a good run of it but will ultimately fall.  I’d love to see him replace Dodd at the Senate race though.

  22. Espically with Rell gone, there really isn’t a frontrunner until a couple of months espically when the candidates get into campaign mode and with Lamont entering the race (which i’m really excited about).

  23. I can’t be sure I agree with what you said about Lamont and the Governor’s race but i’m pretty sure every here agree with your statement about Lamont and the Senator. That guy should be in DC right now.

  24. Lieberman only won because he became the nominal Republican nominee in that race, and there wasn’t really anything LaMont could have done about it.  I’m not writing Ned off for the Governor’s race either, I just think it will be much harder for him to catch lightning in a bottle again like he did in 2006.

  25. Color me surprised if the gubernatorial contest doesn’t boil down to a race between Chafee and whoever the Dems nominate. Rory Smith isn’t going to be as lucky as Don Carcieri was.

  26. And sends out a good message, he’ll have a good change of the nomination. If he runs a campaign Creigh Deeds style, he’s fucked (sorry for the language). And as for the Senate race it wasn’t just the Republicans that put him over, it was the Democrats as well that were duped by his independentness, more expierence than Lamont and the fact they bought the Harry Reid BS that he votes with us on everything but Iraq crap.

  27. The Republican Party’s core constituency, nowadays, seems to be an ignorant, bigoted rabble of paranoid teabaggers – no insult intended to the sane, intelligent Republican(s) here; I just wish there were more of you. More and more reasonable people have deserted the Republican Party in droves. I would be flabbergasted if a pro-choice, essentially non-ideological moderate good-government type came anywhere close to winning the Republican primaries in 2012.

  28. that only three GOP governors are women — which means that potentially they’re on track to have 0 after 2010. (Since Jan Brewer is poised to lose in Arizona, and Lingle and Rell are out. Although it’s more likely than not Mary Fallin wins in Oklahoma, so that’s at least 1.)

  29. I just can’t imagine she’d have the financial support to mount a legit campaign, nor would she prove very popular among any right-of-center bases, sans moderate Northeastern Republicans. Keep in mind – even Elizabeth Dole, perhaps the most beloved woman among Republicans at the time, couldn’t raise the bucks necessary to compete with Dubya. Heck, she came in a surprising third in the Iowa Straw Poll, and that still wasn’t enough to create the necessary buzz.

    Frankly, I suspect if any of those aforementioned names winds up running, it’s Kay Bailey Hutchison. She always struck me as rather resentful of the Sarah Palin selection, and that in turn struck me as a signal that she has high-office aspirations.

    Her Gubernatorial bid complicates things – if she runs and loses, she can’t run for Prez; if she runs and wins, she’ll have buzz, but she might be sick of the campaign trail; if she doesn’t run, she can still run, but she won’t have a whole lot of buzz.

    Ultimately, I imagine she probably doesn’t run for Prez (hard to see how she proves all that appealing in IA or NH), but she could be on the VP shortlist. The problem there, however, is that I can’t imagine Mike Huckabee selecting her, and Mitt Romney would probably select Meg Whitman if she somehow becomes Governor. Sarah Palin would rather become an abortionist than pick Kay for VP.

  30. If the 2012 race somehow came down to her, Romney, and Huckabee, I’d seriously consider voting for her. Now, if it was Huckabee or Rell, I think I’d vote for her over Huckabee. I might agree with him on more issues, but I really just don’t like him. I love Jodi Rell, even though we disagree on social issues.  

  31. Yes Rell was a good Governor, If I lived there I probally vote for here. She was down to earth, pragmatic, a real GOP centrist and was willing to buck the GOP at certain times. Not to mention she has breast cancer and was forced to take over as Governor after John Rowland was sent to jail and disgraced the state. Kudos to Jodi Rell and I wish her the best in the future.

  32. I didn’t know that the GOP had such a deficit female govenors. Of course, Woman govenors in general are rare but it is still interesting.

    But yeah Mary Fallin has the strong edge in Oklahoma (Dems have historically been very strong in state elections in the state but it seems that the strong republican lean in Federal races are finally trickling down).

  33. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan

    Bev Perdue of North Carolina

    Christine Gregoire of Washington

    though we just lost three recently; Ruth Ann Miner of Delaware, Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

    Thought it’s possible for the Dems to gain at least four more woman governors next year; Elizabeth Mitchell of Msine, Susan Bysciewicz of Connecticut, Alex Sink of Florida, and Diane Denish of New Mexico.

  34. that BVP will beat Branstad in the primary, but that would be the absolute best outcome from so many angles.

  35. But if nothing else it just proves the RI Democratic Party’s ridiculous inability to field a good candidate. However even more people hate Carcieri now and I suspect Fogarty could have won if it were 2008 instead of 2006. At any rate, as far as 2010 goes, I think that Chafee will suck up the lion’s share of the moderate Republican vote, leaving Rory Smith (or whoever the Repubs nominate) basically irrelevant.

  36.    She has the money but nothing else. Apparently she is afraid to debate her primary opponents until next March (!) and there’s the thing about her not voting regularly. Her radio spots are vague; she has no realistic plan, and no personal charisma that I can detect. She is an amateur, and while she may be able to buy the GOP nomination, that is not enough in 21st century California.

      While many of us have reservations about the return of Governor Jerry Brown, he is most likely going to win it.

  37. She must have had incriminating pictures of someone. I was in the state for the first two of her races, and I was gobsmacked when she got the nomination in 2002.

  38. Jerry Brown’s probably going to win in a landslide. Good news for GOPers in California though is, a Brown landslide won’t cause the damage a McDonnell victory did to the Dems in the House of Delegates because all the legislative districts have been gerrymandered.

  39. Still, despite the potential gaffes, pratfalls, and embarrassments that could come out of their campaigns, I continue to believe there’s a decent chance that having non-teabaggy, business-focused Republicans like Fiorina and Whitman on the general ticket, competing with unabashed liberals like Boxer and Brown (granted, he’s no Gavin Newsom, but I think even most California Democrats would consider him fairly liberal) could result in moderates being very much up-for-grabs.

    I don’t think DeVore or Poizner have a shot in hell at winning the General, let alone getting 40% of the vote. DeVore, however, can beat Fiorina in the Primary. Campbell’s interesting, b/c I suspect he can be even more competitive in a general than Whitman, but I feel like he’s playing to a liberal Republican base that isn’t large enough to win with.

  40. I don’t think we’ll do as badly as her this time around. Caprio seems a bit too slick but he does have real accomplishments to tout, and from what I know of Patrick Lynch I like him.

  41. From what I’ve seen of the polls so far, he’s by far the frontrunner in the GOP Senate contest, so I’m not sure how much he really has to worry about in terms of that nomination.

    In the general, it might indeed be true that the gubernatorial contest would be a better bet in the long run – Connecticut still has room for moderate Republicans at the state leve (like Rell), removed from the damaging federal context (which could easily turn against him if Dodd’s recovery continues).

    Sounds more like something the Democrats would like him to do than something he’s likely to do, though.

  42. Simmons has had to move pretty far to the right to avoid being Scozzafava’d in the Senate race…he may have an easier time playing his moderate self in a Governor’s race.  

  43. That doesn’t seem to make sense.  He was basically recruited by the NRSC for this race and has all of the establishment backing, so why would he leave?  And why is everyone so abuzz over Linda McMahon?  She’s a political neophyte whose claim to fame is building up a fake wrestling empire with her dad. Sure, she has money but so does Tom Foley.  If anything, I could see one of the self-funders leaving the Senate race and entering the Governor’s race where they could tout their business experience and have a clearer field (and maybe get backing from the RGA).

  44. Brown was Mayor of Oakland – hardly a hotbed of conservatism, right? – and Newsom is considered notably conservative and pro-developer/landlord in SF. Newsom is no standard for great liberalism (liberality?).

  45. for his day (now, he’d be considered a RINO, I guess) but – correct me if I’m wrong; maybe he had harsh budget and tax policies – ran the state as a right-of-center Governor.

  46. he was economically conservative and socially moderate/liberal.

    Which is pretty much where Connecticut was until recently.

    He also has raised funds for Chris Murphy recently.  

  47. Possibilities-

    Meg Whitman

    Karen Handel


    Mary Fallin

    Kay Ivey

    Susana Martinez

    Nikki Haley

    Carol Molnau or Patricia Anderson in MN

  48. She was in charge of the MN Dept, of Transportation when the 35W bridge collapsed, no way she’ll ever be anything ever again.

    Anderson is interesting.  Ive read up on her and she is pretty pragmatic and would think about the state before following a rigid ideology.

  49. Which shows there’s still a significant number of GOP primary voters who are pragmatic and will vote for who they think will win, even if the candidate is not “pure” on some issues.

    I could see this happening again in 2012 where several rabid conservatives split the radical vote allowing a moderate to slip through.

  50. He was solidly anti-choice, anti-tax, anti-peace, and when they yanked the leash on immigration, he got back in line. His feigns toward independence were one thing; Rell’s sincerely-held beliefs are quite another. And of course, McCain had a much higher national profile, which gave him a lot more resources to draw from when things got tough.

    A better analogy from 2008 would be Tommy Thompson. And he was most definitely an also-ran…

  51. Themoderate alternative will be. I cant see a pro-choicer being it, though. Such as a Rell or Lingle. And especially Pataki (but more because hes wooden and old news).  

  52. Has actually looked better over the years as voters have grown to dislike his replacement Sonny Perdue even more.  His 2002 loss was partly due to the GOP’s mini-wave that year (plus a couple of stupid decisions by Barnes like picking a fight with the teacher’s union and changing the state flag).  I think he’s the right kind of candidate to win in Georgia – he’s focused on local issues and plays very well in metro Atlanta.  The likely GOP nominee Oxendine has a ton of baggage over his ties with the insurance industry and potential conflicts of interest during his time as Insurance Commissioner.  Plus, he will likely have to face a runoff which will give us more time while draining his (or whoever the nominee is) resources.  I also get the sense that the Georgia GOP wants to make this a race about national issues – see Oxendine’s Stop ObamaCare website – and that is exactly what loses you a Governor’s race.  So that goes into my reasoning for Georgia.

  53. But “Bigoted Bob” may do enough damage to Brandstad in the primary that he may not need to win the nomination.  Plus, he keeps forcing the gay marriage issue as well as other Christian conservative causes which only succeed in turning the debate away from the bread and butter issues that voters base their decisions on (and what seem to be Culver’s weakness) – jobs, the state budget, and taxes.

  54. Until I made this list. The only one I knew was Molnau because of the number of candidates in the race. So, I went to Wikipedia and found Anderson. She would probably be our best candidate as a former statewide elected official

  55. I dont get the buzz over her either, although i think the buzz is more ‘shes interesting’ buzz than ‘she has a shot’ buzz. She just has no chance in a GOP primary. Oh and its her husband, Vince, who she is building up a wrestling empire with. His wrestling empire. Although it was his grandfather who actually started the company…over half a century ago. It is kind of odd, in a way, that she is the one running and not him. Considering that, at least when elected, he would make a much better politician. And much more cuttthroat, at the very least. His Mr. McMahon on-air character…definitely has some traits that are really like him.  

  56. The fact that the day she announced she was running TV ads is it. The conservative base seems to like her more than Simmons, like on RS. Personally, I have no favorite between the 2. Simmons has a voting base already, but he lost re-election. McMahon would free up money for us to use in other states though. With a competitive gub race now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the CT GOP started leaning towards McMahon to free up some money to hold on to the Governor’s mansion

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