Martha Dean, the Republican darling of Tea Partiers, second amendment activists and political junkies (like me) for her scorched earth rhetoric, has waded into the quick of this year’s governor’s election. But as what? A Republican candidate in a large GOP primary field? Or as a petitioning-candidate spoiler in the general election? That thunderous standing ovation you just heard came from Democratic political operatives conducting evening vigils hoping, praying Dean (The Democratic Dream) runs an independent candidacy poaching votes from the eventual Republican candidate in the cause of reelecting Democrat Dan Malloy to another term.

Dean is the Republican lightning rod conspiracy theorist who suggested the Sandy Hook shootings were staged by actors. An attorney by profession, she’ll add a soap opera attraction to campaign festivities.

Dean has not stated clearly yet if she’s running in the Republican primary or heading straight to the general election in November. She’s scheduled to make a formal announcement March 18. Either way her entry changes the face of the race because she brings a base of support to the table in activists opposed to gun control following the Sandy Hook tragedy.

If Dean runs in the August primary she likely swipes votes from GOP frontrunner Tom Foley, who lost the governor’s race in 2010 by a squeaker to Malloy, in the aid of the other two GOP leading contenders State Senator John McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. Foley has the majority support of Republican gun activists that will vote in the primary. If Dean runs in the primary she splits up that vote with Foley. McKinney could be a stronger general election candidate against Malloy. As a state senator he has supported gun control. Malloy could not fillet McKinney on the gun control issue a majority of Connecticut voters support.

If Dean says screw the primary, I’ll go straight to the general, she’ll not have the voter appeal to win, but she will siphon votes from the Republican nominee. Securing as little as five percent in a general election would likely sink the GOP nominee’s chances, solidifying another term for Malloy.

Right now most Republican political operatives aren’t sure if they want to hug her or slug her. Stay tuned.

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