The Courant’s Rick Green wrote today that he was “hoodwinked” by the “faux candidate for governor” Mary Glassman. Rick, my friend, you are not alone.
During the summer of ’09, a parade of gubernatorial wannabes appeared on “Face the State” to talk about the possibility of running for the state’s highest office. It was suggested to me t0 that I have Mary Glassman on, because she, too was going to run for governor. This person told me she first had to be re-elected First Selectman of Simsbury, and then she would announce.
Honestly, I didn’t give it any credence. Susan Bysiewicz and Dan Malloy were formidable candidates, and there was the speculation of Ned Lamont jumping in, or even Richard Blumenthal. I didn’t see half of a ticket that got a drubbing three years earlier, as a serious candidate. In 2006, nearly 65 percent of voters voted against DeStefano/Glassman.
In the fall, it was brought to my attention that the race for First Selectman in Simsbury was getting interesting. One of Blumenthal’s assistant attorneys general, Darren Cunningham, was calling on Glassman to sign a pledge to serve out her term if re-elected, and not abandon Simsbury to run for higher office. She refused.
Glassman was easily re-elected on November 3rd, and sworn in on December 7th. Then on December 15th, eight days after being sworn in, unbeknownst to voters and the media, the website www.maryforct.com was created. It seems pretty clear that when Glassman took the oath of office, she was hoping it was the last time she’d have to promise to lead the town of Simsbury.
On December 17th, I got a tip that Glassman had indeed decided to run for governor. I immediately called her at home to book her on “Face the State,” and spoke to whom I believe was her husband. He told me she “can’t come to the phone right now.” I left a message for her to call me, and he asked what the call was regarding. I said I would rather talk to her directly.
I don’t know Glassman’s husband, therefore I didn’t think it was professional of me to discuss a confidential tip with him before talking with her about it. I wouldn’t discuss the Governor’s business with Lou Rell, or Linda McMahon’s with Vince or Blumenthal’s with Cynthia.
I told Mr. Glassman I would be at the station all night and the First Selectman could call me there. The call was never returned.
I called Mrs. Glassman’s office the next day, and again no return phone call. By the way, Glassman would have been booked on the same “Face the State” as Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post. The appearance on “Face” would have brought her some national attention.
The holidays came and went, and there was some buzz that Glassman might run, so I called Glassman’s office again on Monday, January 4th. Glassman returned my call at 5PM on the 5th, while I was sitting on the news set. This was hours after her announcement that she was forming an exploratory campaign. She asked me to call her at home. I called back as soon as I could, but got voicemail. I offered her the opportunity to come on “Face” Thursday, January 7th. Had I got a call back that night, Glassman would have been booked on “Face.”
Later that night, a political bombshell: Senator Chris Dodd was announcing he would not seek re-election. I called Blumenthal and by 7AM on the 6th he was booked on the show.
Later that morning I heard from Glassman aide Karen Cortes. Since Blumenthal had beaten Glassman in the return phone calls, this week was suddenly no longer open, so Cortes asked about the following weeks. The next two were already booked. We agreed on January 28th.
During this time all sorts of politicians expressed interest in running for governor. Most wanted to get on “Face.” After meeting with WFSB news director Dana Neves, we decided not to have any of them on the show until they were declared candidates. This included the much sought after Lamont, whom everyone wanted to talk to.
I called Cortes to postpone Glassman for the 28th. She expressed disappointment and mentioned to me that other “exploratory” folks had been on in the past. True, but the race had changed and forced our policy to change and I had postponed two other people for the same reason. I reminded her that Glassman could have been on in December, and that I also offered the first week in January. I told Cortes to call me as soon as Glassman was ready to make it official.
February came and saw Lamont’s entrance into the race. Still no word from the Glassman campaign, althought they sent out press releases periodically, in which she sounded like a candidate, criticizing Governor Rell. Meanwhile this reporter and likely others, started to hear rumblings that Glassman was going to run for lt. governor and a deal was in the works for a Lamont Glassman ticket.
On March 2, Cortes contacted me to book Glassman on “Face.” I was told Glassman would enter the race in mid-March. We agreed on a date to tape “Face;” March 18th.
On Tuesday, March 16th I called the Glassman camp as a courtesy to tell them I would be out of town and Susan Raff would be hosting the show. Cortes said “no one called you?” The announcement of a candidacy was “delayed.” Had I not called, our “Face” crew and guest reporters would have been sitting around wondering “Where’s Mary?”
As March turned into April, there was still no word on when Glassman was going to get off the fence. Cortes told me the reaction to the campaign was positive and she was raising lots of money. Still, some thought Glassman was never going to run, and that this Lamont ticket rumor was going to prove to be true. By mid-April with the convention a month away, I knew Glassman wasn’t going to pull the trigger. She went to debates, but was not a candidate. Under the exploratory law, Glassman had to choose to words her carefully.
I share this minutiae with you to give you a sense of what seemed to me and others to be very unfocused effort to run for higher office. My take is, Mary Glassman never really wanted to be governor, and that’s why the number two position might be what she really wanted all along. Very few lieutenant governors go on to be governor. Only three since 1961 thanks to three resignations, one as a governor (Grasso) was near death.
Rarer still, is the lieutenant who serves dutifully as a second banana and then is elected to the big job.