President Obama has been here, so has former President Clinton, and in the next month we’ll be seeing more high profile politicians coming to Connecticut on behalf of candidates here.
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who shocked the nation by winning the seat once held by Ted Kennedy, will be make at least two appearances in the state on October 9th. He’ll headline rallies for Tom Foley in Glastonbury, and Linda McMahon in Milford. Brown’s brother lives in the 5th District, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to campaign for Sam Caligiuri there. A Caligiuri spokeswoman says they have not asked Brown to come there yet.
Two up and coming governors will also visit Connecticut this month to campaign for Foley. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is seen by many as a presidential candidate someday. Also coming in: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who upset the political world last year by defeating incumbent Governor Jon Corzine. Christie’s take-no-prisoners approach to fixing the Jersey budget crisis has made him the darling of the GOP. An appearance on Oprah last week upped his star power.
These visits will be highly publicized events, I’m told, with plenty of media access. This pales in comparison to the visits made by some prominent Democrats. There was no public rally for Dick Blumenthal when President Obama came to town last month. Read about that here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/media-kept-away-from-obama-blumenthal-event/
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to Hartford, there were no public events, only a fundraiser and a trip to a beauty salon. There was no press release sent to the media from the Democratic party heralding her arrival; that notification instead came from the Republicans. She’s only the most powerful woman in the country, reduced to a clandestine visit to a blue state.
On the other hand, the Clinton rally for Blumenthal was well publicized and as such turned out to be a big media event. Then again, polls show he is more popular than the President.
Like the Democrats, the Republicans have a few folks who either won’t be trotted out for reporters, sneaked in a back door like Pelosi, or not invited to Connecticut at all. Former President George W. Bush is on that list, but his father, mother and wife could be campaign assets. I don’t think we’ll see Sarah Palin here, even though a few candidates (Janet Peckinpaugh, perhaps?) could benefit from her fundraising prowess and ability to draw a huge crowd and plenty of media attention.
The potential Republican guest list could include Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Democrats could bring in Al Gore, and some Kennedys , but beyond that the pool of big name surrogate candidates is kind of thin. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton can’t make campaign appearances.
There is one guy who at one time was more popular than Bill Clinton in Connecticut: Jerry Brown, the former California governor. He beat Clinton in the 1992 Connecticut presidential primary. He’s not available, as he is running for his old seat in a race that is as tight at the Malloy Foley race.