Filing Deadline: July 27
Nov. 4, 1998 Republican Gov. John Rowland defeated Democratic Rep. Barbara Kennelly to win a second term, winning 63 percent of the vote to Kennelly's 35 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Kennelly faced an uphill struggle throughout her campaign in a year of low unemployment and high economic growth. Unable to meet her party's expectations, Kennelly spent most of her bid trying to win back the confidence of Connecticut Democrats, who endorsed her in July but seemed to give up on her bid. To make matters worse, Kennelly's press secretary left the campaign Sept. 22, leaving other staffers scrambling during the final weeks.
Issues: The candidates were cordial during four debates. Critics said Kennelly should have been more aggressive, though she forced Rowland to defend his record on the environment and child-protection laws. He talked about the property tax credit and tax cuts during his term, though Democrats said Rowland did not keep his 1994 promise to repeal state income taxes altogether. The state's education association refused to endorse either candidate. Organized labor endorsed Kennelly.
Polls: Visits by President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and Vice President Gore failed to boost Kennelly's numbers. A poll conducted Oct. 26-27 by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research showed Kennelly trailing by 25 points: 33 percent to Rowland's 58 percent. A Quinnipiac College poll conducted in mid-October showed Rowland leading 72 percent to 24 percent.
Fund-raising: In early October, Rowland reported more than $2 million left of his $5 million war chest. Kennelly raised about $2.2 million since she launched her campaign last year and had about $300,000 left.
Advertising: Kennelly's flagging funds kept her off TV for a while, but she went back on the air in late September with a 30-second spot calling for HMO liability. Her ad aired about a week after Rowland launched an HMO ad about his role in the 1997 state law instituting a new appeals process and banned "drive-through" mastectomies. In early October, a Kennelly ad attacked Rowland for refusing to require mandatory background checks on day care workers and for cutting down on day-care inspectors.
Susan Heavey, washingtonpost.com
Susan Heavey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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