Blumenthal “Listening” On Governor Run

by Leonard J. Honeyman | November 10, 2009 10:38 AM | | Comments (7)

bluemiecloseup.JPG(Updated 11:34 a.m.) In a visit to New Haven Tuesday morning in the wake of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s bombshell decision not to run for reelection, Dick Blumenthal reprised his quadrennial Hamlet routine.

To be a candidate for governor? Or not to be?

Blumenthal, the state’s attorney general since 1990 and once Connecticut’s fastest-rising political star, was asked that question Tuesday. He answered it the way he does every four years — vaguely, with lots of wiggle room.

He said he has “no present plans” to seek the 2010 Democratic nomination — for now. But he’s “listening” to people urging him to run.

He made the comment to the Independent as he arrived for a previously scheduled talk on health care at Gateway Community College’s Sargent Drive campus.

Blumenthal has been keeping the state’s political community on tenterhooks every election cycle since 1994. He has been widely considered the frontrunner if he wants the job; volunteers and power brokers and fundraisers await his word before deciding whether to back another candidate.

Blumenthal had not been considered a candidate for governor this year. Incumbent Republican Rell had the highest popularity ratings of any governor in the country. And Blumenthal is widely believed to be holding out for one of two jobs he’d prefer to have — U.S. senator or a federal judgeship.

That calculus went out the window late Monday when Gov. Rell announced she’s not running for reelection.

The Independent asked Blumenthal as he arrived in town Tuesday morning whether he’s running for governor in the wake of Rell’s announcement.

“I have no present plans to run for governor,” he responded. “I am hearing from a lot of people. At this point I have no plans to run for governor.”

Is he definitely ruling out a run?

“I am not saying anything other than, ‘At this point I have no plans to run for governor,’” Blumenthal said.

Then Blumenthal walked into a crowded community room at Gateway to talk with some 100 senior citizens and students about health care.

After the event, television reporters asked him again about his plans. He repeated his earlier statement that people are “asking” him to run. Then he added an intriguing three words: “And I’m listening.”

Blumenthal did express at least as much openness to a 2012 Senate run as he did for a 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Because Blumenthal was believed not to be running for governor, the Democratic field of potential candidates filled up fast more than a year before the 2010 election. Prominent Democrats who probably wouldn’t have run against him — Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, former U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont — have all formed “exploratory” committees and begun racing around the state seeking support. Six Democrats in all are either “exploring” or officially mounting runs; the others are former state House Speaker Jim Amann, State Sen. Gary LeBeau of East Hartford, and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi.

One Democrat who did run four years ago definitely ruled out jumping in — New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.

“I feel very good about the agenda in front of us [in New Haven],” said DeStefano, who won a record ninth two-year term as mayor last week.. “I’m excited about school change. For me in New Haven now, that’s the place to be.”

Paul Bass contributed reporting to this story.







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Comments

Posted by: Ka Ching | November 10, 2009 10:51 AM

Oh, goody. I can just hear Rell's internal monologue: "Why destroy the Democrats in 2010 when I can just sit back, take it easy, and watch them destroy themselves?" As Jon Stewart might say, "clusterf*** to the state house!"

Dick: Make a damn decision and stick to it. Your time to run for gov has passed. You're a damn good AG (with a damn awful hair stylist) and maybe you should leave well enough alone (though if you want to be senator, go for it and run for senator in 2012).

Malloy: I'm not sure CT's ready for a Democrat urban mayor as governor but stick with it so long as (1) you're willing to raise the tough issues (cities, property taxes, public transit, jobs) and (2) without going dirty. Don't tear down other Democrats this time.

Amann: You're not even really a Democrat. This is a vanity exercise for you but face the facts that of the people who actually know who you are, nobody likes you very much.

Susie: Well, maybe your time has come. But it's up to you to make sure this race is about real issues and not, as it was last time, about who voters would rather have a cup of hot cocoa with!

Posted by: fearless | November 10, 2009 12:43 PM

Blumenthal, definitely yes. Lamont, definitely no.

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | November 10, 2009 1:50 PM

Everyone would drop out if Blumenthal, there is no beating him!!

But hmmmmm I just heard that is he is going for Trader Joes seat. And that is from someone I think may have a small clue... but still it could be wishful thinking.
which is great!
But still would like to see him as gov.

Posted by: Leave Paul Bass Alone!!! | November 10, 2009 2:16 PM

Has M. Lisa Moody ruled out a run?

Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | November 10, 2009 6:09 PM

It will still be club house politics no matter which party is in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wePMYM4av6Q&NR=1

Posted by: strangerthanfiction | November 12, 2009 1:11 AM

Just once I wish Blumenthal would give a clear "yes" or "no". His indecisiveness weakens the Dems because a certain portion of the Party is always wondering if he will get in the race. It's been this way in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 and only helps the GOP. Blumenthal needs to declare decisively now one way or the other. None of this "I'm listening" stuff. Come on Dick.

Posted by: virgil | November 19, 2009 11:34 AM

CT NEEDS A VIABLE CANADATE FOR GOVERNER
IN 2010, BLUMENTHAL IS OUR ONLY HOPE ! !

HE'S THE KIND OF POLTICAN WHO ONLY COMES AROUND
ONCE IN A LIFETIME, LIKE J.F.K AND F.D.R

WE NEED TO CAPTURE HIS TALENTS FOR CT....

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