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Mike Richter Tests the Waters in CT-4

by: Maura

Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 15:01:46 PM EST

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.

Maura :: Mike Richter Tests the Waters in CT-4
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Early Start (0.00 / 0)
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.

This is key and this is why I would support Richter entering the  race now. It's going to take two years of campaigning to beat Shays - Farrell had four and she couldn't do it. We can't hem and haw about who will be running while we wait for someone to step forward. If Richter steps forward now as a proud Democrat then I will support his campaign and not hold out hopes that a local civil servant eventually decides he/she wants to run.

If the party is willing to move forward with Richter now, all the better.

The NYS Democratic Party basically killed any chance of victory in NY-03 because they made Dave Mejias wait in line too long. By the time his campaign got started, he had lost easily 6 months of campaigning time. I hope the CT Party does not make that same mistake against Shays this time around.

Disclosure: I'm proud to work for the Service Employees International Union

Early even more critical for Richter (0.00 / 0)
Now is the perfect time for any candidate to jump in and start working.  I'd love to see a candidate do a sort of "listening tour" throughout the district, kind of like what Hillary Clinton did upstate in NY when she first launched her Senate run.

Having served as coordinator for Ned Lamont in the 4th, I believe the other critical need is training local precinct captains NOW to build organizations in every precinct for a 2008 election.  Connecticut in general is very weak when it comes to precinct operations, and comprehensive training now would pay high dividends next year because it would give local captains the time necessary to really build.

[ Parent ]
But does Chris Shays have an action figure? (4.00 / 2)
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

I mean besides when chewing out widows and orphans.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

(Picture stolen courtesy of ctblogger.)

[ Parent ]
Oh Scarce, love you man... (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
but Shays has the 'eye of the tiger' (4.00 / 1)

isnt that song from the same era when Richter was still ice skating?

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
Survivor (0.00 / 0)
Slightly earlier. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor was from 1986 (featured in "Rocky 3"). Richter started his pro hockey career in 1988 (actually 1989 was his first game). And don't say "ice skating". A puck in the head for less than that.

Music video's just aren't the same anymore. *sigh*...The real version below.

[ Parent ]
Rye or the Kaiser (0.00 / 0)
I prefer the Rye or the Kaiser (theme from Rocky XIII).

[ Parent ]
Where The Wild Things Are (0.00 / 0)
Yikes! Talk about rolling your terrible eyes and showing your terrible claws! (Those of you who have ever been parents or children will understand! ;) )

[ Parent ]
Jim Himes is a serious candidate to take on Shays (4.00 / 4)
Jim Himes, the Greenwich DTC chairman, is seriously considering running against Shays in '08.  Jim is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard, a Rhodes Scholar, a former varsity athlete at both Harvard and Oxford, and a former senior investment banker with Goldman Sachs.  In addition to his investment banking background, he has also been working in the non-profit sector promoting affordable housing.  He currently serves on Greenwich's Board of Estimates and Taxation, and until recently headed Greenwich's Housing Authority.

Jim was a passionate supporter of Ned Lamont, and led the Greenwich delegation to the state convention that cast eighteen of its twenty one votes for Ned.  Under his leadership the Democratic Party in Greenwich has been seriously energized.  A fluent Spanish speaker who spent significant time in Central America, Jim would appeal to all the voters of this district.

I understand that Jim has been quietly talking with a wide base of Democratic leaders in the district and the state, and has lined up significant support.

In my opinion, Jim Himes would be a tremendously powerful candidate.  And I can tell you that he would receive enthusiastic support from Greenwich Democrats, who know him best (we told you that Ned Lamont was a great guy, didn't we?).

Watch this space.  If Jim Himes decides to go forward with his challenge, I think he will absolutely clobber Shays. 

Get in now (4.00 / 3)
So you should tell Himes that he has to get in now.

I have no problem whatsoever with there being a Democratic primary in the CT-4th. Primaries raise name recognition and they require candidates to build their infrastructure earlier. Let's not be scared of this happening - that way we'd actually have a choice and not have to fall in line behind DiNardo's pick if it wasn't a good one.

FWIW I'm a huge Rangers fan and love Mike Richter. I have no clue what his politics are, though, and if he's not a proud Democrat I won't be enthusiastic about his campaign.

Disclosure: I'm proud to work for the Service Employees International Union

[ Parent ]
Jim Himes is awesome...and I second Matt (0.00 / 0)
Jim Himes would make a great candidate.  He is smart as a whip, incredibly personable, a great thinker on his feet, good looking, and has a beautiful family.  I didn't realize he also speaks Spanish, which is a HUGE asset.  I'm just imagining the great town hall meetings he could have in the Latino communities in Stamford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport.  Jim's bilinual skills would be a huge asset, having a big impact to crank up turnout in those key areas.

I second Matt's comment that Jim should jump in soon if he's really gonna do it.  There is definitely more than 18 months' work to be done to build a foundation for victory here in the 4th, and Jim would have to work hard to build a presence around the entire district.

A Richter/Himes primary could be really great for the district.  Like Matt, I'm a big fan of primaries if they're done well.  I bet Richter would be reluctant to move his family into the 4th, though, unless the deck were cleared for him...which means Himes has less to lose in declaring early.

[ Parent ]
I'm not big on primaries.. (0.00 / 0)
When Democrats are united in the need to get rid of Chris Shays, the feckless George Bush conservative, then the Dem candidate needs to marshall all the resources available into the general election.  Let's recall that Shays spent over $5 million in the last campaign, which doesn't count the funds spent by the Republican Party in soft funds on his behalf in the smear campaign against Diane Farrell.  So Diane was probably outspent by over $2 million.

To put it bluntly, Democrats can't afford a primary if we intend to actually defeat Shays in '08.  Ned Lamont was a completely different situation: in that case we had a feckless George Bush conservative- Lieberman- who had to be beaten, and Lieberman WAS the Republican candidate.

We need to unite very early behind one candidate in this situation.  Shays will pile up the campaign lard from his right-wing pals once again (remember the fundraisers he held at in Greenwich at which George Bush, Dennis Hastert, and Dick Cheney were the keynote speakers?).  There is very little margin for funding error.

[ Parent ]
the flip side (4.00 / 1)
A primary will draw a lot of earned-media attention, keeping a Democratic agenda front and center while Shays remains marginal. I think primaries are generally healthy for our party, even against candidates I happen to like -- even in "safe districts," it lets the party members have a voice in what we want from members of our party. Primaries force our candidates to advocate for our ideals to make it to the general election - Al Gore would have probably fared far worse in 2000 without a vigorous challenge from Bradley, by way of example, and I thought "populist Al" was a great improvement over "DLC Al" that we wouldn't have gotten without Bradley forcing a real race.

It took ages to get open primaries in Connecticut, and I think we should take advantage of the opportunity to choose for ourselves as frequently as possible. After all, anointed candidates haven't done so well here in recent elections.

[ Parent ]
Bill Bradley (0.00 / 0)
..was the #1 choice of those polled in the spring/summer of 2000 for the vice-president slot. Joseph Lieberman was not listed at all, according to gallup polls at the time. OTOH, Dick Cheney was not listed for the republican party either. If neither man had been chosen as his party's running mate think how much better the world would have been.

[ Parent ]
I Like Primaries Too (0.00 / 0)
As long as the party unites afterwards, which I think they will.  Kennelly's biggest mistake was talking Ganim out of primaring her.

[ Parent ]
Campaign starts now (4.00 / 1)
I strongly agree with those who say that NOW (or yesterday) is the time to start running against Shays.  In the 2nd CD, Joe Courtney started his campaign to unseat Rob Simmons very early and worked hard for two years.  The enormous amount of time that has to be spent fundraising is a big factor. If we want to take back the 4th, Democrats need to coalesce around a candidate right away.

Haha (0.00 / 0)
I read this:

His last appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs would be 1997, as a series of knee injuries and a string of mediocre Ranger teams saw his personal statistics suffer.

And couldn't help but think of some in the 2006 freshman class in Congress being weighted-down by legislators who should be relegated to the bench.

One thing's clear, if he's the 2008 candidate, there's going to be a whole lotta hockey metaphors flying out of the blogosphere.

Richter never been in the real world (0.00 / 0)
As far as I can tell, Mike Richter's qualifications to take on Chris Shays are hockey and that he just graduated college.  This is not the stuff it'll take to knock off a popular incumbent.  The people of the 4th District want more than that. 

Oh yeah, and he doesn't even live in the District, never has and is looking at multiple places to run.  Richter stay home, wherever that is.

My heavens (0.00 / 0)
Do we have a Republican troll? That's so cute!

[ Parent ]
I was thinking the same thing.. (0.00 / 0)
he went to Yale *big deal, so did bonehead our esteemed President*, he worked for John Hall during his campaign and  Giuliani named his dog after him.

I'm not excited

but then I abhor hockey

he should start with being a state rep first, and then moving to the big leagues.

PS Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi '09, former diplomat for the Taliban government, is attending Yale thru the same program that Richter was enrolled, only he's in a nondegree program. Just a tidbit, mentioned for sh*ts and giggles, nothing more.

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
The real tipoff (0.00 / 0)
was "the people of the fourth district want..." shtick.

[ Parent ]
oh, okay... (0.00 / 0)
you have a better radar than I do.

I still am not sure I'd vote for Richter if I were eligible.. and I sure wouldn't vote for Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi if he was running haha. too misogynistic .

/*not a troll

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
Trolling for a good Democrat (0.00 / 0)
Hey mattw - What I'm really trolling for is someone who can beat Shays.  I don't think a hockey puck can do it in the 4th.  I'd love to see someone with experience in the real world, and Richter has none.  You're not an apologist for the unqualified, are you?

[ Parent ]
I'm keeping my eyes out (0.00 / 0)
Many of Shays' more visible positions are quite unpopular, and his experience and qualifications don't seem to be accruing to his wisdom. So there are probably a range of people who could beat him. My first couple of choices aren't in it for 2008, so I'll keep an open mind. After all, who's to say what "the people of the 4th district" really want?

[ Parent ]
" what "the people of the 4th district" really want?" (0.00 / 0)
it seems like they want a pro war guy who gets sex and torture mixed up.

but then what do I know? I live in a state where Jodi Rell was reelected by a landside and LIEBERDUDE won reelection.

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
Experience and elections (0.00 / 0)
How wish that more people had felt like you in the 2000 presidential elections.

[ Parent ]
It's not a carpetbagger (0.00 / 1)
As a resident of the 4th, I have some idea what will work.  There is no scenario - none - where we elect an opportunistic carpetbagger.  It may work elsewhere but not here.

Also, does Richter know the first thing about public policy?  Has he ever held a real job?  Again, his candidacy may work elsewhere but not here.

Don't forget, my compatriots in the 4th were the only ones in the region to re-elect a GOP incumbent.  This isn't like other districts - and we need someone who really identifies with the people here if the party actually wants to win.

Shays will score a hat trick on Richter for sure.

Carpetbagger (0.00 / 0)
The northeast is practically the only place where prominent carpetbagging politicians have been successful in getting elected. And for christs sake, it's not like he's moving from Florida or something, he worked in New York and lives a 15 minute drive from the district.

[ Parent ]
Losing slogans (0.00 / 1)
Those sound like losing slogans for a political campaign.  "It's not like he's from Florida."  "He lives a 15 minute drive from the district."  With a strategy like that, Shays will shut him out.

[ Parent ]
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