As if the new controversy about Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal was not enough, now another leading Connecticut Democrat took a hit today. In an unanimous, 7-0 ruling, the state Supreme Court has reversed a lower court ruling that would have allowed Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz to run for state attorney general, the post Blumenthal was vacating.
Bysiewicz, who earlier had planned to run for governor, switched to the AG race as part of a domino effect, after Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) announced he was retiring and after Blumenthal announced he would run for the Senate.
But, as Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant reports, the court decided that Bysiewicz failed to meet the requirements of a state statute "that says Connecticut's attorney general must have engaged in the 'active practice' of law for 10 years in the state." Lender adds that the ruling "shockingly ends one of the most unusual chapters in Connecticut's political history."
The ruling also comes just days before Saturday's state Democratic endorsement convention in Hartford, where candidates running for the Senate, governor, lt. gov., secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller and attorney general will attend.
(Thanks to Twitter friend Jon Persky for the tip about Bysiewicz.)
SENATE RACE UPDATE: The highly respected Cook Political Report has moved the Connecticut Senate race to "Toss Up":
Blumenthal is the strongest candidate that Democrats could have recruited to run for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd. He is arguably the most popular Democrat in the state. He is serving in his fourth term as Attorney General, and has never really had a tough race. In many ways, voters see Blumenthal as someone who is above politics. At the very least, he has long worn a coat of Teflon. ...
Blumenthal promised to stay in the race and Democrats think that the campaign will move quickly beyond this incident. We are not so sure. There is now a very long and deep scratch in Blumenthal's Teflon, and the tougher the Teflon, the more damaging the scratch. Voters are now likely to see Blumenthal as more of a typical politician than he's ever been.
There are some political observers who don't believe that Blumenthal can survive this incident. Whether that's true will be determined over the next couple of days and will depend on whether the media uncovers more examples of Blumenthal misrepresenting his service, or if doubts are raised about what the Attorney General said this afternoon.