Governor’s race would be grueling, but still has Marconi thinking

Running for governor would be long, grueling and expensive, but First Selectman Rudy Marconi is still thinking about it — despite some skepticism from a very important constituent, Mrs. Marconi.

“She would prefer that I not run,” Marconi said of his wife, Peggy. “But I think that’s normal of any spouse that’s in a relationship with someone who’s in politics.

“Political campaigns are not easy, as we all have witnessed. I think that’s what concerns her most,” he said.

Ridgefielders in general have been supportive.

“I would say the most common response has been: ‘We would love to support you, we know you would do a great job, we’d hate to lose you here.’ It is nice to hear that — very nice to hear that,” Marconi said. “That’s the kind of fuel you need to keep plugging along and trying to make Ridgefield a little better every day.”

Marconi said he hasn’t gotten a lot of reaction from people on the statewide political scene — but that doesn’t surprise him.

“My experience there is, it’s quiet. People say very little about people who announce they want to run for particular office. There’s a lot of discussion among state central committees and local political committees. But on the surface — at least my experience has been — not much has been talked about.

“I have heard from a couple of other elected officials,” he added, “all in a positive way.”

Time is of the...

The calendar seems to have a lot to say.

“I believe both parties are going to end up having primaries,” Marconi said. “...There’ll be multiple candidates for either party.”

That would mean leg work.

“During that part of any campaign, it is the candidate’s job to get to as many local political town committees as one possibly can,” he said.

“If there are 130 either Republican or Democratic local town committees, you try to make each one. And when you look at a calendar, that means technically you have 130 nights you have to allocate to that purpose. When you look at a year, it’s 365 days — already you’ve taken more than a third of them available — including Saturdays and Sundays, every single day of the week — that you’d have to dedicate just to that.

“Technically, does a candidate make every single local town committee? No. But in a primary process it’s important that as many committees know about you, hear you speak, know your thoughts and ideas, so that it gives you the opportunity to be considered during the primary and hopefully considered favorably.”

One aspect of the calendar that’s friendly to a potential Marconi run is that governor’s election is in the fall of 2018, and while there’s a local election for some town offices this fall, Marconi’s current term as first selectman’s runs through the fall of 2019.

He wouldn’t have to give up his current job to try a run for a higher office.

Knowing the game

Marconi, who formed an exploratory committee for a run for governor back in 2010, had some other observations on what’s involved — he has been thinking about it.

“Today, social media will play a very large part for any candidate, so that part of a campaign has to be structured extremely well, with dedicated people — one of the reasons, perhaps, as to why people do announce so far out in advance,” he said.

With Gov. Dannel Malloy having announced he will not seek another term, a number of Democrats are viewed as in the ‘might run’ or ‘considering a run’ category, including State Controller Kevin Lembo, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei.

“And we haven’t even started to talk about public financing — public campaign financing,” he said.

“Those are just a few of the things you think about when it comes to a campaign.”