It was one of the biggest mysteries of the 2010 campaign: why wouldn’t Governor Rell endorse her Lieutenant Governor, Michael Fedele? For the first time, Fedele is revealing some of what may have led to the snubbing that many believe cost him the Republican nomination for governor.
During a taping of “Face the State with Dennis House”, a now goateed Fedele told me he really isn’t 100% sure why the woman who enthusiastically picked him to be her running mate in 2006 soured on him by the next election cycle. According to Fedele, things changed after a verbal exchange he had with Rell’s powerful chief of staff Lisa Moody. “I told her she wasn’t a constitutional officer, but rather a chief of staff to a governor,” Fedele explained. Critics have long accused Rell of delegating unprecedented authority to Moody, who was referred to as the “real governor” or “Governor Moody,” by several Democrats. In June 2009, on Face the State, then candidate for governor Jim Amann irked Governor Rell when he declared Moody was “running the state.” That comment drew a swift response from the governor’s office who called the comment “as foolish as Amann’s candidacy.”
Rell has never said publicly her reasons for not endorsing Fedele, but sources have suggested Moody persuaded her boss to withhold the endorsement. The Hartford Advocate’s Greg Hladky wrote about the Rell/Fedele/Moody issue last summer http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/featured-news/state-republicans-elections-with-friends-like-these-mike-fedele-lisa-moody-jodi-rell
Fedele told me “I was not Moody’s favorite person.”
To confirm that dislike, Fedele was not offered one of the now controversial low digit license plates as a parting gift. Instead, some of Moody’s relatives were the recipients of the automotive swag.
Always the gentleman, Fedele demurred when I asked if he was angry at Rell for the humiliation. Fedele said he wasn’t angry, but rather “disappointed in people he had put his faith in, people he was committed to, and people he worked hard for.” He acknowledged getting the endorsement of a governor with a 60% approval rating certainly would have enchanced his political fortunes. During the interview, Fedele also talks about other factors in his defeat last August.
Fedele also talks about running for the U.S. Senate, his new status as Knight, and the budget of his high school classmate, Governor Dannel Malloy.
You can watch the entire interview with former Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, this Sunday morning at 11AM on Face the State.