Bob Dole to the Rescue in Connecticut?

The Republican Party now feels it has a legitimate shot to snag the Senate seat belonging to Joe Lieberman. It appears that Bob Dole is the key to making it happen. And, no, he’s not going to be on the ticket.

Last week’s Rasmussen Poll showing Ned Lamont winning handily the Democratic primary and in a tie for the November contest has spurred Connecticut Republicans to renew efforts to toss beleaguered nominee Alan Schlesinger from their ticket.

Republicans now believe they can be serious players in a Connecticut Senate race for the first time since Lieberman beat gadfly Republican Lowell Weicker in 1988. First they must get through two fights. They need to get Schlesinger to take a powder, and then they must quickly settle on a replacement. Interest in the race grows in Republican circles in Washington, with the National Republican Senate Committee rumored to be licking its chops at torturing left-wing Democrats should Lamont win in August.

The route to victory, locals believe, runs through Schlesinger campaign advisor Richard Foley, a former state party chairman and legislator. He is a consultant to the campaign who won’t want to give up that sinecure before November’s certain humiliation of his candidate. Foley has defended his candidate against revelations of his gambling under an assumed name and running up debts that caused Atlantic City casinos to sue him. Foley might accept a dose of reality from the great dealmaker of yesteryear, Bob Dole. Foley vigorously supported the Kansan in his unsuccessful 1988 and 1996 bids for president. The two have similar growling personalities, even if they differ in achievements. Dole could probably convince others in his party to put Foley’s experience to use in some forum other than the sinking Schlesinger campaign. Dole could also raise money to allow Schlesinger to recoup what he’s invested in his campaign so far. And Dole would be helping wife Elizabeth Dole enhance her reputation as the head of this year’s GOP Senate effort.

It’d be worth a shot, certainly. Everything I’ve seen and heard indicates that Lieberman will win re-election regardless of whether he somehow gets the Democratic nomination or runs as an independent. Still, the Republicans have zero chance with Schlesinger on the ballot and he ought to do the honorable thing and step aside. Of course, were he an honorable sort, he wouldn’t be in his current mess.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.