Democrat Bill Curry has just bowed out of what promises to be an energetic tousle in Connecticut’s 5th District.
“Some of you,” Curry noted on his Facebook page, “ know I ‘ve spent the last three years studying public corruption; the grass roots movements that have sprung up-- everywhere but here [in Connecticut] -- to fight it; the tools being used around the world to curb it. It’s the big problem that keeps all our other big problems from ever getting solved. The project is close to my heart; after three years it is just now bearing fruit. In the month since Rep Esty said she wouldn’t seek reelection I’ve tried to find a way to keep the project moving forward and still make this race. I couldn’t. The race looked winnable to me and I’m confident it will prove so for one of the fine Democrats contending for the nomination. I promise I’ll help.”
Esty was a casualty of the #metoo movement. She was forced to relinquish her seat as U.S. Representative in the 5th District after her chief of staff had been accused by an Esty aide of abusing her and making threats on her life. “You better f-----g reply to me or I will f-----g kill you,’ the chief of staff messaged Esty’s aide in one of fifty questionable e-mails. Instead of bidding her chief of staff good bye, Esty prevaricated and, after polite suggestions from some Democrats that she had best be gone, Esty declined to defend her seat in the 2018 elections.
While it has not been widely noted in news reports, Esty had first acquired her seat in part owing to an eruption that occurred when former state Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, then running for the 5th District seat, became ensnared in a tawdry corruption scheme. Donovan’s campaign finance director was arrested, and Donovan was compelled to cashier his campaign manager. Under intense scrutiny from both the media and the FBI, Donovan abruptly ended his campaign, which opened the door to Esty.
Curry might want to footnote these two instances, one moral and the other financial, in his new book on public corruption.
Curry is only one of a long list of Democrat casualties of the Malloy Administration – beginning with Malloy, who decided months ago to throw in the gubernatorial towel. Malloy’s faithful Lieutenant Governor, Nancy Wyman, followed suit; her grandchildren, Wyman said, were clamoring for her attention.
The end of the Malloy regime ushered in a slew of Republican gubernatorial hopefuls, now somewhat thinned out by the usual nominating convention thresher. Within Republican ranks, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, having secured his party’s nomination, is leading the pack. Close on his heels is Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and, somewhat surprisingly, Westport businessman and Navy veteran Steve Obstinik who, along with Herbst, garnered sufficient delegate support to earn a spot on the primary ballot. Two Republican businessmen, David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski, will petition their way on the primary ballot; both are self-made millionaires with impressive business resumes.
It is anticipated that Ned Lamont, a Democrat millionaire, and his choice for Lieutenant Governor, Susan Bysiewicz, will sweep the Democrat convention. In the past Bysiewicz has had some difficulty determining which political position – governor, U.S Senator, Attorney General, governor again and finally, for the moment, Lieutenant Governor – she wished to add to her political resume.
Lamont, a heroic figure among Connecticut progressives for having successfully opposed then sitting Senator Joe Lieberman in a primary, has made Bysiewicz an offer she could not refuse. Presently, the Lamont-Bysiewicz campaign is heavy on the usual rhetorical fluff. The two favor a minimum wage; both support labor unions; they would strengthen gun laws, “build an economy for women” and “get our state finances in order.”
There are, of course, logical as opposed to political difficulties in pursuing such a course. For instance, how is it possible to build an economy “for women” if, by raising the minimum wage and thereby distorting the private economy, businessmen such as Lamont react to the distorting measure by cutting back the hiring of employees, women included? Are tolls necessary to get the state’s “finances in order”? Or will yet another tax – added to Malloy’s previous impositions, both the largest and the second largest tax increases in state history – further hobble Connecticut’s economy, thereby restricting the flow of money into the state’s treasury by reducing the number of taxpayers contributing their fair share to Connecticut’s bloated, tax supported public employee industry?
And in what sense can a continuation of Malloy's progressive regime be denominated "moving the state forward?" It is not at all certain that such important matters will be debated in Connecticut’s general election. In a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a rough ratio of two to one, fluff may be enough.