| Last night, state party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo confirmed the rumors that Richter was considering a CT-4 run in a meeting with Yale College Democrats. Multiple sources throughout the district had mentioned to me that Richter would be meeting with some local party chairs this week, so I called Nancy DiNardo for her comments this afternoon.
During our conversation, Nancy confirmed that she'll be introducing Richter, who lives in Guilford, to DTC chairs during one of their regular 4th CD district chairs' meetings on Thursday night.
Nancy met with Mike earlier this year about his possible run and told me, "He would make a great candidate. He's passionate about the issues and the direction of the country."
At this point, only one other possible candidate in the 4th has indicated to Nancy an interest in running. Other names that have been mentioned online and in print - State Senator Andrew McDonald from Stamford, Senator Bob Duff from Norwalk, and State Rep. Jim Shapiro from Stamford - have not yet spoken up to indicate an interest. Former State Party chair George Jepsen, who is relocating back to the 4th, has ruled out a run against Shays, and Ned Lamont has said that he is "disinclined" to run. Nancy is encouraging all other prospective candidates to speak up and begin work on a campaign soon.
CGG at CTLP has more on Mike Richter.
Patrick Linsey of the Norwalk Hour [paid subscription required] got Chris Shays' perspective on a possible Richter run:
But Shays questioned why Democrats would look outside the 4th District.
"He lives in Guilford," Shays said. "When I hear that they're going to try to find a celebrity or someone who doesn't even live in the district that strikes me as - they have plenty of good people in the district."
Linsey also confirmed with Nancy DiNardo that the state party did not field the recent poll to voters in the district that compared Richter to other possible Democratic contenders including Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and matched Richter against Shays. Some assume Richter himself would have paid for the poll, but I've also heard other speculation that the DCCC might have funded it.
After a record-breaking 300 wins as goaltender for the Rangers, Richter graduated last year with a degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale. Alongside academics, Richter has stayed involved in hockey as a volunteer coach for the Yale University hockey team.
Interestingly, Linsey discovered that Shays, too, has a background in hockey:
Shays was once captain of his own hockey team in Darien and described himself as a "hockey fan" who still skates. "In fact, I actually went to see Yale play two Sundays ago against Dartmouth," Shays said. "Great game. There was even a penalty shot."
As someone who has been as big a hockey fan in the past as I am now a political junkie, I'm salivating at the prospect of a Shays/Richter matchup on the ice in addition to a traditional debate. Hey, a girl can dream.
Of course, it would be ideal if one or more local Democratic contenders would also begin to lay the foundation for a possible run against Shays in '08. Now is not too early to start building an organization and planning a strategy for victory. Turnout will be high in a Presidential year and and this is a great pickup opportunity for Democrats, but any candidate needs to start early and build a strong organization as soon as possible. It is unlikely that a presidential candidate will invest much in CT-04, given that Connecticut is not considered a swing state, so our Democratic Congressional candidate's organization will be critical to leading Democratic operations here in the 4th.