With long years of experience in the legislature and as blue a Democrat as you can get in Connecticut, Meriden's one of the state's most powerful Democrats, appeared to have his party's nomination to run for the sprawling 5th Congressional District in the bag long before last month's convention that saw him .
But the tumultuous and stunning events since last Wednesday have cast serious doubts on Donovan's political future.
His campaign finance director, Robert Braddock Jr., on Wednesday, May 30, and charged with hiding questionable campaign contributions. His arrest also raised the specter of possible attempts by some donors to buy Donovan's political influence. Within a day Donovan not only had fired Braddock, he also fired his campaign manager.
Those moves, however, did little to stem a backlash of criticism and questions from Connecticut's power elite, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen. Malloy called the allegations against Braddock and Jepsen, who said he was "deeply troubled" by the FBI's allegations, broadly hinted in a statement that Donovan might have to bow out of the 5th District race.
His political foes to step down as House speaker and there was a , from political friends and foes alike, that Donovan speak publicly about what he knew about his aide's arrest, which was the result of an FBI undercover operation.
But for days, Donovan did neither. He issued a brief statement late Thursday saying he was cooperating fully with the FBI's ongoing investigation and that he'd fired Braddock. Then, late on Friday afternoon, Donovan's 5th District campaign officials to announce that Donovan would limit his role as House speaker in the coming special session.
Donovan's absence from that press conference, however, brought an onslaught of criticism about his failure to attend and answer questions, a good amount of it from Connecticut's editorial pages and columnists, who wanted Donovan to speak publicly about what's going on.
saying he knew nothing about alleged irregularities in campaign contributions and that he would continue to press on with his campaign because his supporters are demanding it.