Here’s something you don’t hear every day in politics: both front runners in the race for governor are not running. As we reported earlier, sources tell me Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz is saying no thanks to some great poll numbers and will drop her quest for the state’s highest office.
This comes just days after another poll showed Bysiewicz scoring higher than her fellow Democrats and easily beating, thumping is more like it, Republican Lt. Governor Michael Fedele and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley.
And it comes just two months after Governor Rell decided not to run for re-election even though polls showed she could win another term. Ironically, the only Democrat who came close to beating Rell was Bysiewicz, and Bysiewicz was beating the governor among women.
The polls showed Susan Bysiewicz was the Democrats best chance of recapturing the governor’s office, a prize they last won in 1986, when Ronald Reagan was president.
So what gives? We’ll find out tomorrow when Bysiewicz explains to reporters why she is dropping out of the race and running for Attorney General., but folks at the Capitol and political observers say Bysiewicz may have looked into the crystal ball and not liked what her governorship looked like. UConn economist Fred Carstensen is predicting the economy in our state to be even worse a year from now. Whoever is governor will have to make more painful budget cuts and inherit a half billion dollar budget deficit. The ever popular Bysiewicz might become…unpopular, and quickly.
Our state is also not attracting new businesses and new residents and the prospect of new revenue streams is dim. Few candidates are embracing money makers like tolls and Sunday liquor store openings for fear it will prevent them from being elected. Whoever is governor has one tough job ahead.
There is also speculation she may challenge Joe Lieberman for the senate in 2012.
So the Democratic field looks like this: 2006 Senate nominee Ned Lamont, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, State Senator Gary LeBeau, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, former house speaker Jim Amann, and Simsbury First Selectman (yes, it is not called woman) Mary Glassman.
The Republicans are Lt. Governor Fedele, Foley, and Metro Hartford Alliance President and former Bank of America Connecticut president Oz Griebel.
All are asking, “Hey, Jodi and Susan, can I have your poll numbers?”