Nov
08

Foley's Gamble: The Senate In 2012?

I bring a unique perspective to the gubernatorial race in Connecticut as I voted neither for the declared winner, Dan Malloy, the Democrat, nor for the loser, Tom Foley, the Republican. Frankly, all the chatter back and forth among members of the two parties almost kept me from voting at all. When it came to the governor's race, all I could bring myself to do was to cast a write-in vote for former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker, an Independent. (I voted for Clarence Darrow, now long deceased, for Congress, figuring Rosa DeLauro wouldn't miss my vote.) I cast a reluctant vote for Richard Blumenthal for U.S.Senate; I just could not imagine Linda McMahon evaluating a federal judge.

When the press reported that the Foley-Malloy race was too close to call, and forceasts of the winner went back and forth like an electoral tennis ball, I wondered for a moment whether I had wasted my vote. What if I had been the deciding vote? What if the race turned on just one ballot? I entertained the thought for a moment, and then moved on: Sure the men bring different perspectives to governing, but as between a lifelong politician and a plutocrat there doesn't seem much to choose from. I am still glad I voted for Weicker.

It now appears as though Malloy won the race by just over 5,637 votes of 1.1 million cast. Today Foley will announce whether he will seek to force a recount by way of the courts. I am all in favor of such litigation. The nation still smarts after the sorry spectacle of the United States Supreme Court's ruling in the travesty known as Bush v. Gore. I suspect the Democratic Party doesn't want the blood of an electoral coup on its hands, too.

But it is an uphill vote to force a recount. Foley would have to show either that the actual margin separating winner from loser was fewer than 2,000 votes, or that there was fraud in the ballot counting effort, not mere incompetence. Were incompetence the standard, we'd have a good case for a recount. Officials in Torrington reportedly mistallied 2,000 votes; many voters were turned away in Bridgeport because some hapless nitwit in the Registrar's office did not order enough ballots for all voters, thus resulting in the polling place being kept open an additional two hours while voters were given a chance to vote on copied ballots; a bag of ballots was found laying on the floor in Bridgeport. Foley's lawyers are working feverishly to see whether all this incompetence rises to the level of the sort of chicanery requiring a recount.

I've read that only several hundred ballots were cast in Bridgeport after 8 p.m., when polls in that city were kept open by court order as a remedy for the Registrar's failure to prepare for voting day. Those votes won't make the difference. And those voters who never returned to the polling place were unlikely to vote Republican in any case; Bridgeport is a Democrat stronghold. But questions do remain. A recount wouldn't hurt. 

The gubernatorial inauguration is not until early January. There is plenty of time for a recount. Accident, mistake and incompetence should be enough of a standard to satisfy to force a recount in a close election. Let Foley have the recount even if he cannot show fraud. What would be the harm? Both the Malloy and Foley already have transition teams in place. Let the teams keep working, and keep hammering out visions of a better state. There is no harm in turning creative minds to the task of good government.

But let's say the result remains the same. What then for Foley? {NOTE: Foley conceded today, ackowledging that there was no evidence of fraud in the ballot counting.]

Clearly, he will not have a new home in the governor's mansion, and no office in the Capitol. But I say should the results remain what they are reported to be, Foley should still convene a government in exile. He promised voters he would not take a salary were ne elected. He spent lavishly from his own funds to try to get elected. Why doesn't he convene a cabinet all his own? Hire ten of the best minds he can to evaluate the policy decisions he would have been asked to make as governor. Let this shadow government make its ideas known, offer its advice and counsel to Malloy and the commissioners he will appoint. Foley can afford it.

But something tells me Foley will go silently into the night. Odds are he will not force a court challenge. He doesn't want to be labelled another Martha Dean, turning to the court with lame claims for relief when the fight is already over. Odds are Foley will fold and retreat, perhaps eyeing the next Senate race. His name recognition is now high; he has great voter appeal. Now if he can just avoid doing anything to create controversry or raising a stir, why he just might become the next United States Senator.

And so the political games go on. Lots of heat; little light; and plenty pf meaningless partisan bickering. My hunch? Foley already has a committee looking at a run for the Senate in 2012. Whatever he does today will be done with that goal in mind. Politics as usual, I say.

Comments (1)
Posted on November 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm by william doriss
Election Post Mortem
You say you cannot imagine Linda McMayhem evaluating federal judges. Egads! I thought you were on my side. I CANNOT, for the life of me, imagine Tricky Dick BloominTALL evaluating prospective federal judges. For real! Do you think for one minute that Sen. Dick will/would question Robert N. ShotKNEE's qualifications for the 2nd Circuit? That is not going to happen. You know it and I know it. So you guessed wrong, and you voted wrong. You voted against your own clear, published interests. That is affirmative.

The Honorable Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama heard from one disgruntled plaintiff before the disgraceful, the irascible and the incompetent Judge ShotKNEE--and listened. That plaintiff was me. Yes, I have both Alabama and CT roots. The CT part did not help me in front of ShotKNEE, and BloominTall's minions went to the 2nd Circuit Court to defend the State against my 1983 civil rights lawsuit against City and STate. Case #s upon request. Thank you Sen. Sessions.

Furthermore, if I'm not mistaken, you have written critically of CT's AG in the CT Law Tribune in the past. So I am left wondering, who is the bigger flip-flopper? You or John Kerry!
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
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