NY-23: Richter Out

Longtime SSP readers surely remember the brief flirtation of former New York Rangers superstar Mike Richter with a run against then-Rep. Chris Shays in Connecticut’s 4th District back in the early days of 2007. Serious SSP fans will also remember Richter’s name popping up earlier this year as a potential candidate for the 20th CD special election to replace Kirsten Gillibrand. Mike Richter is a name that simply won’t go away whenever it comes to suburan/exurban NYC political speculation.

Since Richter has some area bona fides (he went to high school in Lake Placid and owns a home in the Adirondack Mountains), we thought we’d check in with him to see if he’d have any interest in pursuing the Democratic nomination to succeed GOP Rep. John McHugh in the open seat race in the 23rd District. His response, via e-mail:

“I am flattered to be mentioned for the position but will not seek office at this time for family reasons.  I do hope to have an opportunity to be a public servant in the future, however.”

Someday, sports fans.

RaceTracker: NY-23

CT-04: Richter Scale Rising

You know, I figure that, since David has his hands full doing, um, whatever it is that ambitious attorneys do all day, I should seize the moment and completely overhaul the Swing State Project.  Perhaps I’ll start with a name change.  How does “RichterBlog” sound to you?

Anyway, in all seriousness, everyone’s favorite former New York Ranger turned prospective Democratic politician has been busy testing the waters in Connecticut for a potential run against lonely Republican Chris Shays.  The Associated Press has a great piece up which I suggest you read.  The latest scoop: it looks like we’ll know whether or not Richter will run within a few weeks.  Here are some key pieces:

Richter, a 40-year-old Democrat who lives in Guilford, said he expects to make a decision in the next few weeks about whether to run for the Fairfield County seat in 2008.

“I’ve considered entering public office in some form for a long time,” Richter told The Associated Press. “I’m getting positive responses.”


Richter worked last year for U.S. Rep. John Hall, a Democrat and former musician who upset six-term incumbent Republican Sue Kelly in upstate New York. Richter helped Hall, who opposed the Iraq war, win over police officers, fire fighters and other constituents who might not have otherwise voted for him, said Tom Staudter, Hall’s spokesman.

“He was hugely popular,” Staudter said, describing Richter as bright and friendly. “He’ll be great.”

In a sign of his status, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani named his dog “Goalie” after Richter.


But Richter could pose a big threat given the reverence many Americans hold for sports stars, Rose said.

“That hockey background could actually be an attraction to some voters here,” Rose said. “It would be sort of a blast of fresh air in the 4th District.”

After two unsuccessful kicks at the can by former nominee Diane Farrell, who could not even beat an increasingly and bizarrely erratic Shays in a wave year like 2006, I’m ready for that fresh air.  Are you?

And don’t worry: SSP will resume its regularly scheduled programming soon.

Race Tracker: CT-04

CT-04: More Richter Rumblings

According to the Yale Daily News, CT State Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo has confirmed earlier rumors that former New York Rangers superstar Mike Richter is considering a run against frequently embattled Republican Rep. Chris Shays in Connecticut’s 4th district.

Maura over at My Left Nutmeg has more:

Multiple sources throughout the district had mentioned to me that Richter would be meeting with some local party chairs this week, so I called Nancy DiNardo for her comments this afternoon.

During our conversation, Nancy confirmed that she’ll be introducing Richter, who lives in Guilford, to DTC chairs during one of their regular 4th CD district chairs’ meetings on Thursday night.

Nancy met with Mike earlier this year about his  possible run and told me, “He would make a great candidate.  He’s passionate about the issues and the direction of the country.”

At this point, only one other possible candidate in the 4th has indicated to Nancy an interest in running.  Other names that have been mentioned online and in print – State Senator Andrew McDonald from Stamford, Senator Bob Duff from Norwalk, and State Rep. Jim Shapiro from Stamford – have not yet spoken up to indicate an interest.  Former State Party chair George Jepsen, who is relocating back to the 4th, has ruled out a run against Shays, and Ned Lamont has said that he is “disinclined” to run.  Nancy is encouraging all other prospective candidates to speak up and begin work on a campaign soon.

One thing’s for sure–Nancy’s right.  Now is not the time for prospective opponents to Shays to doddle.  They’ll need every precious month between now and November 2008 to scrape together the necessary resources and build a field team strong enough to finally topple Shays.  It’s no secret that I would relish the opportunity to have Shays go head-to-head with one of the greatest American goaltenders in NHL history, but he’ll need to hit the ground running in terms of organizing.

And one more thing: when do you think Chris Shays will get his own action figure?  (Hat tip to Scarce .)

Race Tracker: CT-04

CT-04: Chris Shays vs… Mike Richter?

Well, ain’t this intriguing.  According to Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report, Connecticut Democrats are weighing the possibility of running former NHL superstar Mike Richter against the last Republican House member left standing in New England: the battle-hardened Chris Shays.  As a longtime hockey fan, the idea certainly leaves me feeling a little giddy.  Richter was a career-long member of the New York Rangers, carrying them alongside Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Brian Leetch to a historical Stanley Cup victory in 1994.  His Rangers jersey is only one of four to hang retired in the rafters of the Madison Square Garden.  That’s got to carry at least a little bit of resonance in the NYC metro area, even if hockey hasn’t exactly been the taste du jour of the area in the past few years.

As for his connection to the district, Richter is a recent graduate of Yale, where he obtained a degree in Ethics, Politics & Economics in 2006.  According to Gonzales, he also found the time to campaign for Democrat John Hall in his upset victory over Sue Kelly in NY-19.  Makes you like him even more, doesn’t it?

However, a Shays-Richter matchup isn’t a sure bet:

But Richter […] apparently is looking at a number of districts in more than one state before he makes a final decision.

According to Wikipedia, Richter was born in Abington, Pennsylvania.  There are two Abingtons: a small township in Lackawanna County (PA-11, held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski), and a larger township in Montgomery County (shared between PA-13 and PA-08, both Democrat-held seats).  Perhaps he could be eyeballing a nearby tossup district like PA-06 or PA-15.

He also went to school in Lake Placid, but I believe that that area falls under freshman Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand’s NY-20, although Republican John McHugh’s 23rd district is right next door…

In any case, the idea of having Mike Richter in our arsenal is exciting.  I’d certainly take a fresh face over a third kick at the can by Diane Farrell.  And if there has ever been a more effective American-born goalie at shutting down right-wingers, I’d like you to name one.