Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am so glad we have the primaries behind us! I've been active in state politics for thirty years, and I've seen nothing to match what we Republicans just went through. Here in Southington, in addition to the contested statewide offices, we had a fight for probate judge and for a state rep seat (everything but--thank goodness and Paul D'Angelo!--state senate).

Though I didn't get my way in every race, I'm happy to say that I can support everyone on the ticket. I voted for Tom Foley at the convention, and though I was disappointed in his campaign (beginning the day after he was nominated, with the Lennie Winkler fiasco), I'm still confident he can be a fine governor. The more I saw of Mike Fedele, the more he impressed me too--I would have been proud to run with him as well.

I supported Peter Schiff at the convention and I still think he would have been a remarkable addition to the US Senate, but he was a poor candidate and ran a poor campaign. He has no relish for pressing the flesh, and his team never seemed to have a vision of what they needed to do. With all due respect to Peter's intellect and his commitment, conservatives looking ahead to 2012 should seek another candidate.

I was a great skeptic about Linda McMahon, but I must say she has won me over. As a candidate, she has what Peter lacks: a gift for connecting with people, and the management skills to build a winning team. Obviously she does not have his economic insight (who does?) but I think her instincts are good and her nature conservative. Some of my tea party friends may not believe me, but it is impossible not to like and trust Linda when you know her.

Two excellent young men fought it out in the 80th district, which includes all of Wolcott and part of Southington. I have nothing but praise for Rob Sampson and Alan Giacomi, who ran a primary the way it ought to be done, each campaigning hard for himself without attacking his opponent. Rob came away the winner, but Alan will be welcomed and supported the next time he seeks office.

My biggest disappointment was Peter Bowman's loss in the probate judge race. I've known Peter for a couple of years now, and worked closely with him in the grassroots movement. There's no one currently active in Connecticut politics who I'd rather have on my side than Peter Bowman. He is sharp, honest, hard-working, decent, a pleasure to be around, and every other good adjective you might summon. His opponent is also an intelligent young man and fully qualified for the position. I can support him wholeheartedly, but I wish he had not taken so harsh a tone in his campaign.

I was torn between Ann Brickley and Mark Zydanowicz, who both struck me as good candidates for a tough congressional seat. I supported Ann at the convention, and the voters validated that choice on Tuesday. She is a smart and charming woman, and if she shows the fire that I know she has in her, she can make a strong case against Larson. I will do my best to get her known here in Southington--people who meet her can't help being impressed.

Everything I hear on the trail points to a strong Republican year. I

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I was deep in the East End of Waterbury this afternoon, knocking on doors off of Monroe Avenue. The makeup of the neighborhood has changed since I last ran, but not the character--it's a nice area, where people care about their property.

Not wanting to alarm anyone, I parked in front of a vacant house. As I sat in my car organizing myself, I saw a woman seated on the porch of the next home down watching me, curious and perhaps concerned.

I went straight over to her and introduced myself. Relieved I was merely a politician, she launched into a tirade about our broken government, that spends without regard to revenue or the capacity of the taxpayers. As has happened to me repeatedly on this campaign, I was hard-pressed at first to convince her that I fully shared her perspective--that my main purpose in running for the legislature is to cut government spending.

Once she realized I was on her side, she engaged me in conversation about the Republican gubernatorial candidates. She'd been following the race, and she was interested in my perspective on Foley and Fedele, since she was trying to choose between them. When I left, I reminded her to make sure to vote in the primary on Tuesday.

"But I'm a Democrat," she said. "I have been for--what?--nearly fifty years. Not that I'll vote that way, this time."

That's what I'm hearing, in Waterbury and Southington: a rejection of the big-spending Democratic party even I didn't expect. The people are ready to face facts, to make the hard choices that will put this state back on track. It's a great year to be a conservative running for office!