Jodi Rell Not Running
Jodi Rell, the “Republican” governor of Connecticut, has announced that she will not seek re-election.
Her announcement came during a news conference at which she first thanked people who had helped in a food drive over the weekend. “Second, I would like to share with you the news that — after much soul-searching and discussion with my family — I have decided not to seek re-election next year,” Mrs. Rell said. Her family was standing nearby during the announcement, The Hartford Courant reported.
The news left the Republicans without a candidate possessing big statewide name recognition and the Democrats with an opportunity to push for the governorship in 2010.
Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, a Republican, has said that he might run for governor if Mrs. Rell decided not to seek re-election. Other Republicans, including the House minority leader, Lawrence Cafero of Norwalk, and the Senate minority leader, John McKinney of Fairfield, also have expressed interest.
Among the Democrats, Ned Lamont, a businessman who unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate three years ago, has expressed an interest in being governor. “I salute the governor for her service to Connecticut, her civility, and her integrity,” Mr. Lamont said in a statement Monday evening. “Now is the time for a fresh start.”
Mrs. Rell, a former lieutenant governor, has been governor since 2004, when Gov. John G. Rowland resigned. He served 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to corruption charges. Mrs. Rell was elected in her own right in 2006.
Mrs. Rell’s job approval numbers have dipped in recent Quinnipiac University polls, mostly because of the state’s budget problems. A Sept. 16 poll showed that 59 percent approved of how she had handled her job, while 34 percent disapproved — the lowest approval rating during her tenure.
Those numbers are sustainable, however — certainly not enough in and of themselves to signal an uphill fight. So, it may well be that she just decided to move on to something else. She and her husband have also had health problems of late, although she dismissed that explanation when asked.
The state GOP will not miss Rell, even if her decision makes it harder to retain the seat. She’s not ideologically conservative, of course, but that’s pretty typical of Nutmeg State Republicans. But she’s not at all popular with insiders, having developed a reputation for putting her own interests above her party’s.