“This too shall pass,” Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, said as he embraced Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz before walking into the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner Monday evening.
Bysiewicz may have been in the hot seat last week when the videotaped depositions of her grilling by Republican attorney Eliot Gerstein was released, but as she posed for photos with supporters the publicity of her lawsuit seemed distant.
“I’m fabulous,” Bysiewicz said as she greeted supporters. “I’ve raised more than $210,000 and I’m up 54 percent in the polls.”
“We will endorse her every time,” East Lyme Democrat William Henderson III said. “The reason is because she’s such a good person and when she sets her mind to it she gets things accomplished.”
What about the qualification question raised by the lawsuit Bysiewicz filed in hopes of proving she has the requisite 10 years of active legal practice? Doesn’t that matter?
“No because she’s the person she is,” Henderson said. “It’s the character that counts.”
Former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan of West Hartford said he watched some of the videotaped deposition and feels bad for Bysiewicz.
“But if the primary election were held today she would win,“ he said.
If the court gives her the green light then, he speculated that she could still win. “It’s a curious mess,” he said.
But Bysiewicz’s Democratic opponents are trying to do their best to take advantage of the political blood in the water. Working the delegates at the dinner Monday evening former state Sen. George Jepsen of Ridgefield and Rep. Cameron Staples of New Haven tried to garner support.
Taking every opportunity to introduce themselves to delegates both Jepsen and Staples worked the room shaking hands and handing out stickers.
But based on the last Quinnipiac University poll both men have an uphill name recognition battle to overcome.
According to the poll Jepsen had a 20 percent favorability rating, but 75 percent of Democrats didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. About 92 percent of Democrats didn’t know enough about Staples to form an opinion and his favorability rating registered at 4 percent.
Bysiewicz, however, still has a 59 percent favorability rating amongst Democrats and only 29 percent haven’t heard enough about her to form an opinion.
As for fundraising, Bysiewicz, who is no longer using the public campaign financing system, is at the head of the pack.
According to the latest campaign report, Bysiewicz raised $214,000 during the last fundraising quarter.
Staples raised about $25,000 and will have to raise $75,000 in $100 contributions in order to qualify for the matching state grant.
Jepsen said he raised about $50,000 during the last quarter, but his report is not yet available online. Jepsen is also participating in the public finance system and will need to raise $75,000 in $100 contributions to qualify for the matching state grant.