October 5, 2018
The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

Electability 2.0

So last week I looked at the electability of CT's gubernatorial candidates, and this week I had planned on pivoting and looking at the House and Senate races. All of the sudden, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, announced what folks believe to be the last wave of 81 state-by-state endorsements, which included 12 Connecticut candidates. Overall, President Obama looked at 42 states and races from US congressional, gubernatorial (including Lt. Governors), State Senate and House members. By no surprise, all were Democrats, but an interesting list anyway!

In tweeting the announcement, Obama touted the endorsees as "leaders" who are "as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they're running to represent."

"I'm confident that, together, they'll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law. But first, they need our votes," Obama stated.

So who got the nod in Connecticut, and does this increase their electability? Let's start with the governor's race. Most folks in CT, after the brutal primary, are pretty much in the know on who the three candidates are, what they believe in and how they might approach the debate on CT's future. By Obama endorsing Lamont, I don't really think that will change anybody's mind for those who have decided to support the other two candidates. However, it just might have a small impact on who goes to the polling station to actually cast their vote. Others think not so much. As a friend said - "He's no Obama" when discussing the endorsements. A lot of people don't think that many of the "undecideds" will be swayed by this endorsement.

Looking at the 5th Congressional district, newcomer Democrat Jahana Hayes was tapped on the shoulder by her old friend from her "National Teacher of the Year" celebration, President Obama, who was quoted during the final days of the Aug. primary battle with Mary Glassman as saying of Hayes, "She gets through to her students because she remembers what it means to be one of them." First thing to consider: is if the 5th district race close? Most people do not think so. So does this endorsement matter, and does it create another electability factor? Maybe for Hayes it's a stamp of approval from a President of the United States, a sense of pride and "making it," but will it tip the election? I don't think so - she is already being touted as the soon-to-be Congressperson-elect.

Looking at the CT House and Senate seats, he endorsed many who were already on the Democratic leadership's wish list - seven Senate candidates and six House candidates. The Senate candidates are all in the "want to win" category and are not incumbents. They include Christine Cohen (the Kennedy seat), Mary Adams (the Suzio seat), James Maroney (the Slossberg seat), Jorge Cabrera (the Logan seat), Martha Marx (the Formica seat), Julie Kushner (the McLaughlin seat) and Will Haskell (the Boucher seat). It seems that the Republican caucus isn't really concerned over their incumbent candidates at all, but mostly concerned about knocking off some incumbent Democratic senators. Here's where some electability might have helped to shore up some of the progressive Democratic senators to secure the base, rather just looking forward. Not sure if the Obama staffers reached out to the Democratic Senate leaders when he put together their list of hopefuls. Just saying.

In the House, the six Democratic candidates are all newcomers too - including one with a political pedigree. Matt Blumenthal, running in the Stamford seat (147) held by his dad - former CT AG and now US Senator Dick Blumenthal - and current AG candidate William Tong. The others include Jason Doucette (the Tweedie seat), Christine Palm (the Siegrist seat), Maria Horn (the Ohler seat), John-Michael Parker (the Kokoruda seat), and Kara Rochelle (the Gentile seat).

It should be noted that none of those candidates securing the former President's endorsement are running to represent folks in the large cities, but are out in the hinterlands and suburbia. So does the stamp of approval by President Obama help they win their elections, considering some of the opponents they are facing? I'm not so sure. The same way I'm not so sure that by dragging President Trump's name in for every Republican race is what really matters to the CT voters. It's all about our economy, so the DC references just might be meaningless.

I think the "Me Too" conversations and the recent Senate discussions might have more of an impact on the CT voter than much of this action. But who knows? There's one month to go and no one is predicting anything.

CT Agency Corner   
Agencies Submit 2019 Legislative Proposals To Be Read By Governor "???"
by Mike Johnson

This week, state agencies were asked to meet a deadline of submitting their desired legislative proposals that they would like the legislature to introduce during the 2019 session. The only question that remains is if these proposals will actually be ordained by the incoming governor, possible new commissioner that will oversee the agency and the legislators that will preside over the committee to take the proposal up!
Needless to say there are some hurdles before these proposals are taken up, but state agencies as protocol are normally required to submit these legislative "asks" prior to the beginning of the next legislative session.
Traditionally, the proposals are drafted then vetted by the governor's budgetary office (OPM). Following that, they are considered by the governor before being officially released to the public. The large number of Democratic officials within state agencies after eight years under Governor Malloy would indicate that Lamont could carry over consistently a large number of the agency staff that served under Malloy. However, if Stefanowski were elected, it's widely believed that there would be significant turnover within the staff at agencies which could also affect which proposals are taken up as priority.
Agency staff do an incredible job walking the line between parties to ensure nonpartisan proposals have a high chance of passing but election years tend to bring a very political environment in the first year after a massive election cycle like 2018.

The Campaign Trail

It's campaign season folks! Mark your calendars for upcoming debates to learn more about candidates running for office this fall.

WFSB will host a series of political debates in partnership with UConn moderated by Dennis House:
  • U.S. Senate Debate on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to noon at the WFSB Rocky Hill Studio.
CT Association of Broadcasters will host the fourth gubernatorial debate on:
  • Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, Hartford.

In partnership with the Hartford Courant and WTNH News 7, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities will host the final gubernatorial debate of the 2018  election cycle at its annual conference in October.
  • Gubernatorial Debate on Tuesday, October 30th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Did You Know?
This Week in History
September 30th, 1945
Babe Ruth Plays His Last Baseball Game in Hartford

On September 30th of 1945, baseball superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 fans in Hartford by participating in an exhibition game between two local semi-pro teams: the Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. The Gems had been founded by a successful local jeweler, Bill Savitt, who used his money and influence to schedule popular charity exhibition games involving some of the biggest names in professional baseball - and Babe Ruth's appearance was one of Savitt's biggest celebrity coups yet.

By 1945, even though Babe Ruth had already been retired from professional baseball for ten years, he was still among the most popular sports figures in the United State. 

On the morning of September 30, the Hartford Courant breathlessly announced that "the greatest attraction ever known in baseball and the home run king of all times [sic], Babe Ruth" was scheduled to appear "in person" at Bulkeley Stadium in Hartford and "give a demonstration of hitting the ball over the fence" before pinch-hitting for the Savitt Gems. That afternoon, wearing a brand-new Gems jersey with a bright red baseball cap and matching stockings, the 51-year-old Ruth managed to hit off a handful of home runs before the game, much to the delight of everyone in attendance.  His game-time performance, however, resulted in a handful of unexciting balls and strikes while at bat.  During his interview with local radio personality Bob Steele after the game, Ruth wryly remarked, "Some days the pitches look like watermelons, and other days like peanuts."

Though no one knew it at the time, Ruth's 1945 Hartford appearance would be the last time he ever took the field as a baseball player. 
In This Issue:

by Ryan Bingham

This week we're thinking about affordable housing and when we're thinking about affordable housing we typically don't think about Stonington, CT.
First Selectman Rob Simmons wants to change that perception. "We understand that our region's quality of life and economy including recreation, tourism and the service industry, require homes for everyone. But we also need to have options for retirees who want to downsize from their single-family homes and stay in the community they built. We want our fishermen, teachers and police officers have local housing options as well. We need to serve our working families," Simmons suggested this week to the CT Post.
He is working with the town's Planning and Zoning Commission along with Partnership for Strong Communities to identify solutions. He has made affordable housing, or as he calls it, "workforce housing," a high priority in his administration. So far at these hearings, there has been mostly positive comments and support from community members who believes that it is not revolutionary for his community but 'evolutionary.'
It'll be intriguing to see how Stonington handles this affordability issue and if that mentality becomes pervasive along shore communities who see very high costs of living and the highest property values in the state.

2018 Election HQ
by Chelsea Neelon

348. That's how many candidates are running for local office in Connecticut. 278 candidates are running for the House of Representatives and 70 candidates are running for State Senate.
273. That's how many candidates have qualified for the state's Citizen Election Program grant. 219 candidates running for the House have qualified, while 54 candidates running for the senate have qualified.
In an unprecedented election year comes an unprecedented number of candidates participating in the state's Citizen's Election Program. Almost 80% of the candidates running for office have qualified for the grant. While critics of the program's main platform is the cost to the state's taxpayers, supporters of the program maintain that the CEP program provides a campaign funding platform that gives the "Average Joe" the ability to run for office. Thusly, as supporters put it, this results in more officeholders who are reflective of the community they are voted to serve.
CEP was created to address corruption in the state and give more people a voice in politics, but due to the amount of candidates using the program this year and the state's current fiscal status, expect this to be a hot button issue next legislative session.


"Women for Larson" John Larson Fundraiser
Thursday, October 11th
1090 Prospect Ave, Hartford
Contact Paddi for more information!

Senate Democrats Fundraiser
Thursday, October 11th
Red Rock Tavern, Hartford

East Hartford DTC's "2018 Man & Woman of the Year Dinner"
Thursday, October 11th
Maneeley's of South Windsor

House Republican's Fundraiser
Tuesday, October 16th
Bad Son's Beer Company, Derby CT