Despite a series of salvos from prominent Connecticut Republicans, GOP Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger will not be dropping out, he told me today, calling the attacks "silly."
Schlesinger, you'll remember, has been dogged for weeks by revelations about his gambling habits. First, news broke
that he used to gamble under an assumed name, and once got the boot from a casino for card counting. And on Friday, The Hartford Courant reported
that Schlesinger had twice been sued by casinos to collect unpaid gambling debt.
A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Schlesinger widely trailing the two Democratic candidates in a head to head match up: Joe Lieberman 68 to 15 percent and Joe Lamont 45 to 22 percent. And even though Connecticut's Republican governor has urged Schlesinger to consider dropping out, Republicans cannot force him off the ticket.
This morning, Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), in the course of an interview
during which she praised Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) as "good for Connecticut," said that Schlesinger would have "to search his soul to see if he can be a successful candidate with this personal weakness."
âIâve searched my soul," Schlesinger told me. "I did absolutely nothing wrong. Period.â
Pointing out that he'd done nothing illegal, he called the controversy over his gambling "silly," and added that he was âvery disappointed that my colleagues arenât defending me. I'm disappointed that theyâd join in the silliness for no reason.â
"Enough with the silliness," he said.
He's not the only legislator who's ever gambled, he said, and wondered at what other "salacious legal things" reporters will dredge up. "Iâve sat at tables with my colleagues [in the Connecticut State legislature]."
As proof that he's being unfairly singled out, Schlesinger urged me to ask Democratic candidates Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman if they've ever gambled. My initial queries to the campaigns weren't immediately returned.