A New Tone of Chaos in the Attorney General's Race
No decision on lawsuit likely soon
UPDATE - 1:09 p.m.
A Hartford Superior Court judge said today she will have no immediate decision on Martha Dean's effort to strike George Jepsen's name from the ballot, virtually guaranteeing that the election of an attorney general will proceed unimpeded by the courts.
"There's no way to have a hearing before Tuesday" on the substance of Dean's claims, said David Golub, a lawyer for Jepsen. "So the voters will decide."
Dean filed suit Tuesday, arguing that Jepsen does not meet the statutory requirements to be attorney general, as articulated in a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision.
But lawyers for Jepsen, the Democratic nominee to succeed Richard Blumenthal as attorney general, and the secretary of the state's office told Judge Julia Aurigemma during a hearing today that Dean, the Republican nominee, has no legal standing to bring her challenge.
And even if she did and the court found her complaint to have merit, the court has no authority to order Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz to remove anyone from the ballot, the lawyers said.
"She has no discretion whatsoever," said Perry Zinn-Rowthorn, an assistant attorney general.
Sitting elbow to elbow in a radio studio today, Democrat George Jepsen said that Republican Martha Dean's new lawsuit claiming he is ineligible to be attorney general was a "last-minute, desperate play."
"The fact of the matter is any true litigator, a good lawyer, would have known you cannot file a case one week before the election with any hope whatsoever of it being disposed of on the merits," Jepsen said.
Dean said she had no choice but to file a lawsuit Tuesday asking a Superior Court judge to declare Jepsen ineligible or to block state officials from certifying the results of the AG's race until her suit is resolved.
"I would have let down the voters of Connecticut, who have a right to choose their attorney general at the ballot box," Dean said, adding that a successful challenge of Jepsen's status after the election could give the next governor the right to appoint an attorney general.
On WNPR's "Where We Live," Jepsen and Dean sharply disagreed over the basis of Dean's lawsuit and the role they see for the attorney general's office. Dean also faced listener calls about her promise to advocate firearms training for school children.
For the full audio of the Where We Live conversation, click here.
For Colin McEnroe commentary on the latest twist in the race, click here.