Lame duck Republican Jodi Rell has been a popular Governor ever since stepping into the position while disgraced ex-Gov. John Rowland (R) did his jail time for corruption. In fact, the last Democratic Governor in this blue state was William O'Neill, replaced by independent Lowell Weicker in 1991. That looks to change this year, no matter which D candidate is selected next Tuesday.
Less than one week before the Connecticut primary, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy trails businessman Ned Lamont 45 - 40 percent in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Democratic likely primary voters released today.
This compares to a 46 - 37 percent Lamont lead in a July 15 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. In today's survey, 14 percent are undecided and 43 percent of those who choose a candidate say they might change their mind before the August 10 primary.
Among Republican likely primary voters, Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele trails former ambassador Tom Foley 41 - 26 percent, surging from a 48 - 13 percent deficit July 15. Oz Griebel has 13 percent. In this fluid race, 21 percent remain undecided and 62 percent of those who choose a candidate say they might change their mind in the next six days.
On the D side, Malloy had a strong debate and painted his opponent as ducking the opportunity, and both are running attack ads against the other (Lamont is accused of being a lousy businessman, Malloy of taking advantage of his Mayor of Stamford role to enrich himself.)
And so it goes:
In a statement Thursday, Malloy's campaign said voters know Malloy, the endorsed Democrat, has the best experience to be governor.
"They're moving away from Ned because they don't want a CEO to run this state like a business," the statement said. "Ned is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars a day into this race -- about $8 million so far -- and people are beginning to reject it."
Lamont's campaign responded by criticizing Malloy's two-week "barrage" of negative, false ads and calling Malloy's campaign "desperate and erratic."
On the R side, it's just as nasty. From The Day:
The fists have flown just as furiously across the aisle, where Foley, a wealthy businessman and former U.S. ambassador, cruised out to an early lead on the strength of ubiquitous TV spots, but nonetheless went to court to try to block Fedele from participating in the state's public campaign financing system.
Foley's court challenge, which Griebel also backed, may have failed when the state Supreme Court rejected his request to block Fedele from receiving just over $2 million in his campaign grant.
But it has also handed him a cudgel with which to whack Fedele, the sitting lieutenant governor and the only gubernatorial candidate other than Malloy who is participating in the public financing system.
Fedele's retorts have aimed for the jugular: references to published reports about Foley's two arrests on motor vehicle-related charges, and a hard-hitting advertisement that shows off the plight of workers at a textile plant, the Bibb Co. in Columbus, Ga., once owned by Foley.
Foley maintained a minority stake in the company when it underwent restructuring and the plant was shut down, putting 1,000 employees out of work.
But don't be distracted by the sideshow. When the dust clears, it looks like this from the Q-poll:
Among all Connecticut voters, Lamont and Malloy lead any of the possible Republican candidates by a 13 to 25 percentage point margin, depending on the matchup:
* Lamont tops Foley 46 - 33 percent;
* Lamont over Fedele 48 - 33 percent;
* Lamont beats Griebel 50 - 27 percent;
* Malloy over Foley 46 - 31 percent;
* Malloy beats Fedele 47 - 30 percent;
* Malloy tops Griebel 50 - 25 percent.
That'll tighten, too. But a D pick-up, in a state generally rated a toss-up, certainly looks realistic.