This is one of the more intriguing opportunities of 2010. -Patrick
For the first time in a generation, a Republican U.S. Senate nomination in CT might be worth something, as the state GOP has noted there is "blood in the water" concerning the re-election chances of Senator Chris Dodd (D- Countrywide).
Indeed the worst thing for CT Republicans would be if Dodd were to pull a "Mark Dayton" and stand down due to abysmal poll numbers since Dick Blumenthal, the state's extremely popular Attorney General, would probably replace Dodd in the race.
Cahnman evidently caught wind while I was earning a living this afternoon that Larry Kudlow might be interested in running. Well, the field is looking a bit crowded already with Rob Simmons , Sam Caligiuri and Peter Schiff all showing various levels of interest.
I'm not sure Kudlow is a game changer given the credentials of the present possible aspirants. Here's the tale of the tape.
Simmons: Vietnam War vet and retired CIA officer; turned three term Congressman for Dodd's old House District, the 2nd District. Simmons was a stalwart in bringing home defense dollars and saving the New London sub base. He also did a great job appealing to blue collar voters in rural eastern CT. It is a testament to the 2006 political tsunami that a candidate like Simmons could be beat; but it was by only 83 votes.
Simmons is clearly a strong campaigner. To the extent I can identify downsides they are less than optimal age (67 next year) and having to defend some votes during the GOP control era of the House.
Caligiuri: One of the few outspoken CT Republicans on conservative issues, Caligiuri voted against the failed state budget in opposition to Governor Rell. He also is a vocal advocate for long prison terms for repeat violent offenders. A generation younger than Dodd, he would offer a clear contrast stylistically to Dodd. He also won major kudos early in the decade for assuming the Mayor's office in Waterbury under duress (the incumbent was arrested on child sex charges) and leading the city out of the disaster. That enabled Caligiuri to win a Democrat leaning state senate seat in the absymal environment of 2006. Caligiuri's one drawback is he is an old ally of ousted CT Governor Rowland; but given that Dodd has his own vacation home scandal. Dodd may be hestitant to press that line of attack.
Schiff: Pete Schiff was very prescient as to the dimensions and causes of todays financial meltdown back when other TV financial talking heads were still blowing bubbles. And he is beloved by the Ron Paul fans out there. The problem is that Ron Paul, is , let me be polite, not a mainstream figure in CT political culture. Schiff's dad is a convicted tax protester; the son seems not to challenge authority in that fashion. Schiff would easily serve Dodd up as fillets in a TV debate; the problem is Schiff's recent economic outlook might be so gloomy as to turn voters off from both candidates. A good renegade pick, not a safe one. And he's not revved about running yet anyway.
Where does Kudlow fit in? He is more media savvy that the guys herein; but on economic issues he wasn't as negative as Schiff and won't look as good pointing out Dodd's flaws. On the other hand, Kudlow can attract a broader voting audience and will dominate what little is left of CT's free media.
Then again, if Dodd's utter financial incompetence is already a known quantity to CT voters maybe a politician with a proven record of getting Democrats and independent voters to support him is the better direction.
Usually the CT Republicans have to beat the bushes to find candidates; now they are coming out of the woodwork. Times have changed.