It appears the deck has been cleared for former controversial state Sen. William Aniskovich, 48, to become the next chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party. His emergence, as the front runner to succeed Chris Healy - the election for new chair is later this month - has set off a firestorm.
Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the state Democrat Party, sent out a release, Wednesday, reminding everyone of Anikovich's ties to the corrupt Rowland administration. Then, Hartford Courant columnist and former state Sen. Kevin Rennie blew the lid off the story, writing what many people have known for years, that Aniskovich made Rep. Anthony Weiner look like a choir boy, when he served in the state senate. Aniskovich admitted to Rennie that he cheated on his wife, Jennifer, who received a plum job from then Gov. John Rowland to head the state tourism department. Meanwhile, DiNardo was reminding everyone about the numerous fines Aniskovich's senate campaign had received, in addition to his relationship to the corrupt Rowland.
However, it's Aniskovich's sexual peccadilloes and sweetheart deals his business received from then Gov. Rowland, that has Democrats salivating over his possible election. Aniskovich's mental health and substance abuse clinic in Stonington, received numerous state contracts, while Rowland was governor.
Aniskovich claims his playboy days are over, his wife has forgiven him and he now has a strong marriage. He also told Rennie his clinic no longer does business with the state, but the ever persistent Rennie did some research and discovered his Stonington Institute still holds two contracts with the state.
Meanwhile, I am told former congressman and defeated U.S. Senate candidate Rob Simmons and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley have emerged as kingmakers, pushing the Aniskovich candidacy, by cutting deals with several candidates, who have "suddenly" dropped out of the race. Simmons told the Courant, "It's really too bad we have to go back seven, eight, nine 10 years to make a judgement about somebody..." A laughable comment, when you consider Simmons was willing to reach back longer than that, when sabotaging Linda McMahon's senate candidacy.
Supporters say Aniskovich has the talent to "articulate Republican principles." Apparently family values aren't among them. Rather than unite the Republican Party, the choice of Aniskovich will serve to split it even more. And the argument that "we have all made mistakes" doesn't cut it. Yes, only Aniskovich and his wife know what their marriage is, but life's hard lessons, do exclude a person's past from certain occupations. An Aniskovich chairmanship would serve as a reminder of a Republican Party's corrupt past, under the felonious and polarizing Rowland.
Say what you want about Healy, but the party did make some inroads under his leadership in state and municipal elections. The GOP has come too far to be rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titantic.