The annual Easter Fest and Craft Fair, sponsored by First Congregational Church on the Green, is set for Saturday, April 6, 9-2:30, at the church, 464 Campbell Ave, The fair features handmade candies & crafts, a bake sale, and an Easter Basket raffle, as well as White Elephant shop and Book Sale downstairs, and Clothes Closet upstairs. A light breakfast is offered as well as lunch. The Easter Bunny will visit us between 11 and 2. Kids can have their picture taken with the bunny, get a free Glitter Tattoo, enjoy our crafts/activities table, and get a prize from our big pink tree!
Vendor spaces are still available for the festival. Contact our church office for an application or information, (203) 933-6291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The West Haven Historical Society invites the public to a discussion of West Haven’s fire department history as Lt. William Heffernan discusses, “Why West Haven Has Three Fire Departments,” at the monthly meeting, tonight at the Poli House, 686 Savin Ave. The time is 7 p.m.
The Harugari German-American Club, 66 Highland St., is sponsoring three events: Friday March 15, at 6 p.m. St.Patrick’s Day Family Dinner Members $15 non-members 17. Cash Bar. Live Music. For Reservations please call Barbara Pokora at (203) 640-3656 For more information go to Harugari.org.
Saturday March 23 open house and Bierfest from 4-10 p.m. Free admission
Sunday, April 7, at noon. Brunch at Duffy’s Tavern 241 Campbell Ave. Please make reservations by calling Sue Lanziero at (203) 623-9093. For more information go to Harugari.org.
The West Haven Senior Center is making a trip to Mogehan Sun on Wednesday, May 8. Cost is $25 with $15 free bet and $15 food voucher or free buffet. This trip is in conjunction with The West Haven Housing Authority. Pick up times are as follows: Morrissey Manor 8 a.m., Savin Rock Conference Center 8:15, Surfside 8:30, Union 8:45, and John Prete 9. Those picked up at Housing Authority sites, please make reservation with Yolanda (203) 933-9449. Those picked up at Conference Center please register at the West Haven Senior Center or call (203) 937-3507. Bus leaves Mohegan at 4.
Golden Oldies Review
The 37th edition of the Golden Oldies Review is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at the Cielo ballroom, 85 Chase Lane, from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Michael Hoover presents “Memories of Elvis” at 9:30. DJ Charles Rosenay will provide music. Also featured is Carla Gemma Tickets are $30 per person with door prizes and raffle. Proceeds to benefit MDA Call Geri Caccavale (203) 795-5473 or Lucy Prokop (203) 468-2528 for tickets.
The Liberty Coin Club of West Haven, organized in1962, will host a Coin Show on Sunday, March 17, at the Elks Club, 265 Main St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. Anyone with an interest in buying, selling or collecting coins, or with questions about coins, is welcome to attend. Expert dealers and collectors will be on hand.
Shore Haven scholarships
The Shore Haven Junior Baseball League will be accepting scholarship applications for current high school seniors pursing further education. The league will be awarding three scholarships in the amounts of $250 in honor of Sal Arminio, Dave Terese, Sr., and Mario J.Argentino, plus the Joseph Morrell, Sr., Scholarship.
All applicants must have participated in the league for two years for the first three scholarships. Applications must be returned by May 15 to: Charles Gunning, 125 Central Ave., West Haven, 06516. For information can be obtained from area guidance offices or by calling (203) 934-9740.
Bradley Pt. confab
Bradley Point Garden Club of West Haven will hold its monthly luncheon, followed by a workshop on pressed flower arranging, at noon on Tuesday, March 19 in the lower level of Ora Mason Library, 260 Benham Hill Road. New members are always welcome. Call Marie at (203) 878-8428.
An Al-Anon meeting group invites new members to attend its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the First Lutheran Church, 52 George St. For information and details, call (203) 506-1464.
The Seth Haley Memorial Loan Fund of West Haven provides eligible college students with loans of up to $2500 to help students finish their post high school education.
Applicants must be West Haven residents who have completed two or more years of college or post-secondary work or be in their final two years of advanced work. Any West Haven resident attending college or a post high school professional, technical or trade school can be eligible for a loan. Repayments do not begin, and no interest will be charged until one year after graduation. If you are interested in making an application for a loan, please Gert Beckwith at (203) 934-6921, or Ralph Lawson, (203) 934-6442
Looking to play for a fourth straight state title, the Darien girls hockey team had one more hill to climb before reaching the championship game. That hill proved to be worth the climb.
Behind a strong defensive effort, and two points apiece from Cate Droogan and Kelly Raymond, third-seeded Darien topped second-seeded West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy 4-0 in the CHSGHA girls semifinals at the Rinks at Shelton Wednesday evening.
Not only will Darien (17-3-1) get an opportunity to win its fourth consecutive state title, but the Blue Wave will get a chance to do so against FCIAC rival and top-seeded New Canaan, a 3-1 winner over Simsbury, Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“We got out on them super fast,” Droogan said after finishing with a goal and an assist. “We won every battle .We were determined to win every battle and we did so. I thought we played very well tonight.”
Darien held a 31-14 shot advantage in the contest, and if not for the goaltending of WH/SHA’s Kyleen Crowe, the Westie Sharks (19-4) may have faced a bigger hole from which to climb.
“We played defensive,” WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. “We knew they were tough. They had a 6-2 win against us last time we played them. We knew it was not going to be easy.”
While West Haven’s Taylor Nowak had the game’s first scoring opportunity which was turned aside with a pad save by Hallie Kreppein, it was the Blue Wave which produced better scoring opportunities, until finally beating Crowe with 1:30 left in the opening period.
Off a scramble in front, Raymond scored off an assist from Droogan to give Darien the only goal it would need in the contest.
“We were not going to let them get going,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said of the Westie Sharks. “They are a very good team and they have had a good season. We never wanted them to get going.”
While Darien held a 9-5 shot advantage in the opening period, it was the second period which turned the game around. The Blue Wave had 12 shots on goal and all seemed to be quality chances.
Crowe made a spectacular save on a shot by Kit Arrix 3:27 in, denied a backhander in front by Raymond five minutes later, and another by Lucie Edwards with a glove save less than a minute after.
Darien finally increased the lead to a pair of goals with 5:38 remaining in the middle period as Shea van den Broek knocked in a rebound, with Sarah Hearns and Ceci Stein gaining assists.
“We have a lot of depth,” Tropsa said. “We are able to run three or four lines out there. I give them a lot of credit. They have kids who work hard. We ran out three or four lines and six D (defense), and I think that allowed us to keep our legs fresh.”
After Kreppein denied Francesca Criscuolo with a great save in front with 1:31 left in the second, Darien put the game away with 10.8 seconds to go in the period.
Arrix kept playing until the whistle and stuffed a loose puck past Crowe following a WH/SHA turnover for a 3-0 advantage.
“This is amazing,” Droogan said of her team playing for its fourth straight state title. “Every year, we come in and we have a standard to live up to. It makes it so much better playing them (New Canaan). It is the first time we get to play them for the state championship. We are excited.”
With the game in hand, the only question was whether Kreppein (14 saves) would get the shutout and that was answered when the junior denied a point shot from Meghan Dupre with 7:20 to go, a hard shot in close by Jenna Hunt less than a minute later, and a shot by Jianna Cohrs in front with 6:12 to go.
“I thought we back-checked hard,” Tropsa said. “That was the plan going in.”
Darien put the final touches on the win when Droogan scored off an assist from Raymond with 2:06 left.
“I’m proud of this group and these seniors,” Blake said. “They are the first team to make it this far. We made four SCC championships, winning two. The seniors helped bring this from the ground up. I hate to see them go out this way, but we had a great year.”
Crowe finished with 27 saves in the loss for the Westie Sharks.
With wrestling and indoor track now complete, Notre Dame is down to three winter sports teams still competing. Basketball won its first-round state tournament game, hockey reached Ingalls Rink, and swimmers fared well at Class M Trials.
Hockey — The hockey team exorcised a lot of demons when it beat the Darien Blue Wave, 3-1, on Saturday to advance to the semifinal round of the Division I state tournament. Darien ended Notre Dame’s season twice in the last three years and had beaten the Green Knights twice in the regular season.
Employing a neutral zone trap, Notre Dame stymied a strong Darien offense and rode the hot goaltending of Connor Smith to the upset win. Zachary Schroder broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period and Ian Hayden iced the win with an empty netter. Mike Card got the Green Knights on the board with a tip-in goal in the first period. Notre Dame used a pair of goals from Hayden in a 6-3 opening round win over Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe on March 5. Notre Dame played NW Catholic on Wednesday in the semifinal round.
Basketball — Beating a team three times in one season isn’t easy, let alone four. But that was the task handed the Notre Dame basketball team when it played Hillhouse in the second round of the CIAC Division I state tournament on March 6 at Shelton High School.
Victors in the three previous tries, the Green Knights used a strong start, a suffocating first-half defense, and a 17-point effort off the bench from Jaiden Kimbro in their 57-36 win over the Academics to advance to the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2016. After Kimbro’s 17 points, Notre Dame was led by Carrol’s 13 points. Laput added 12 and Raines nine for another balanced scoring attack. The win advanced the Green Knights to the quarterfinal round where they played Immaculate this past Monday.
Swimming — Nine Notre Dame swimmers as well as three relay teams took to the Cornerstone Pool in West Hartford on Saturday looking to qualify for the CIAC Class M Championship Meet. Mission accomplished as eight swimmers and all three relay teams swam fast enough to keep their season alive and competed at the season-ending CIAC Class M Championship Meet Monday at Wesleyan University. Better yet, everyone posted their fastest times of the season, which thrilled head coach Mike O’Brien
“Today was an awesome job by the guys who swam,” said O’Brien. “To post their best times shows their dedication all season. There’s still room for improvement which we hope happens in Monday’s meet.”
You can get all the latest athletic news, scores, and more by following @NDWHAthletics on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope while frieNDing the @NDWHAthletics Facebook group.
After defeating the St. Paul Falcons 57-49 in the first round of the CIAC playoffs, the West Haven boys’ basketball team traveled to Meriden on Thursday night to face the fourth-seeded Wilcox Tech Indians. When Mufee Cooper hit a three-pointer just six seconds into the game, the Blue Devils would never trail in their 68-63 victory.
With the score tied 11-11 in the first quarter, Shea Sheffield pulled up and drained a three-pointer to make it 14-11 with 1:59 left in the quarter. West Haven led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter before the Indians battled back to knot the game at 24-24 with 5:31 left in the half. Quannel Straughter’s layup with 2:53 left made it 33-28 and he made another layup 29 seconds later to increase the lead to 35-28. Wilcox Tech continued to battle and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the Westies holding a 39-34 lead.
The Indians got within three points but Malcolm Duncanson pulled down a rebound and put it up and in with 5:18 left in the third quarter to make it 43-38. When Mufee Cooper made two layups with 1:44 left and 1:18 left in the quarter, the Blue Devils had their largest lead of the game at 49-41. The Indians would not go away though and scored the next, five points to cut the lead to 49-46 by the end of the quarter.
Muffee Cooper hit an acrobatic layup with 6:12 left in the game to make it 53-48. Things got a little scary for West Haven with 3:15 left in the game, when the Westies picked up a foul and then a technical on the same play to give the Indians four foul shots and the ball. Wilcox Tech’s center, John Soto missed both of his foul shots but DeJuan Ransom hit his two and then the Indians sunk a shot to cut the lead to 60-58 with 3:02 left. That’s when the Westie defense came up big. The boys used a stiffling defense to force a turnover and extend their lead to 66-60 and go on to the 68-63 win.
Cooper led the Blue Devils with 17 points while Malcolm Duncanson added 15 points and Quannel Straughter had 14 points. With the victory, West Haven advanced to the quarterfinals and faced the Torrington Red Raiders on Monday.
The West Haven/Sacred Heart girls’ hockey team saw its season come to an end when it was shut down by the Darien Blue Wave 4-0 on Wednesday evening at The Rinks at Shelton. Darien thwarted the Westie Shark offense, limiting the girls to 14 shots on the game. Kyleen Crowe did her best to keep the girls in it, making 27 saves between the pipes.
The Blue Wave got on the board with 1:30 left in the first period. Darien increased its lead to 2-0 with a goal with 5:38 left in the second period and then made it 3-0 with 10.8 seconds left in the period when it appeared that the whistle blew before the puck went in but, Darien was credited with the goal.
The Westie Sharks did have several chances in the third period but Megan Dupre, Jenna Hunt and Francesca Criscoulo were all denied to keep the girls off the board. Darien iced the game with 2:06 left in the game for the 4-0 final. The Westie Sharks finish the season with a 20-4 record. Veronica Lynn was named to the CHSGHA All-State team for the third time and junior Taylor Nowak was named to the All-State team for the second time.
The boys’ hockey team’s season came to an end with a 9-1 loss to the Xavier Falcons in the first round of the CIAC playoffs on Tuesday night in Middletown.
The Falcons struck first with a goal just 3:45 into the game and then again to take a 2-0 lead before Niko Kyle got one back for the Blue Devils, assisted by DJ. Carfora before the end of the period.
Unfortunately for the Westies that would be the extent of their scoring on the night and the Falcons would go on to score seven, unanswered goals to bring West Haven’s season to an end. Jared Pliszka and Noah Iversen combined to make 29 saves between the pipes for the Blue Devils.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Flanked by black balloons, a sober reminder of the lives taken by the opioid crisis, the Rev. Phillip Krakowiak Sr. led Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and city and state officials in a prayer service March 6 for West Haven residents who have died of drug addiction.
During the solemn ceremony, which marked the city’s second observance of Black Balloon Day, Krakowiak, pastor of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of West Haven, offered words of hope, love and support, telling the group of bundled-up leaders who gathered in the bitter cold on the steps of City Hall that the opioid epidemic is “a crisis that is affecting all of us,” including a member of his own family.
Along with Rossi, mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito and mayoral aide Ruth G. Torres, Krakowiak was joined by state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; City Council Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large; City Clerk Deborah Collins; city Health Director Maureen B. Lillis; West Haven Fire Department Chief James P. O’Brien and Deputy Chief Edward C. Sweeney; and West Shore Fire Department Chief Stephen Scafariello and Deputy Chief Dickson Dugan.
Leading up to Black Balloon Day, Rossi called on all residents who have been affected by drug addiction, including pain-reducing opioid medications, to hang a black balloon outside their home to symbolize a loved one who is struggling with addiction or has died of an overdose.
For the second year, Rossi pledged West Haven’s commitment to recognizing the special day after its co-founder, Diane Hurley, of Peabody, Massachusetts, reached out to the mayor seeking the city’s participation. Hurley’s daughter, Lauren Hurley, is the other co-founder.
Lauren Hurley’s mission began March 6, 2016, after her brother-in-law, Greg Tremblay, a father of four, died of a drug overdose a year earlier.
Hurley’s brother, Sean Hurley, was also a drug addict but has been clean for more than a year.
In the wake of the family’s tragedy, she and her mother have joined forces in the war on drugs.
Rossi, who lost a dear friend to addiction, said West Haven’s participation is aimed at “shining a light on how the national public health crisis of opioid addiction affects us locally.”
The brief prayer service was held in concert with an announcement from John Dixon, CEO and president of Bridges Healthcare of Milford, launching the state’s first Mobile Addiction Treatment Team for opioid addiction.
The new mobile unit is called MATT’s Van. The van, staffed by a physician and a peer recovery support counselor, will aid those with opioid addiction starting later this month on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m. in the parking lot of City Hall, 355 Main St.
At the request of Diane Hurley, city officials hung a black balloon outside the third-floor window of the mayor’s office for each resident who has died of opioids.
“Twenty-four black balloons are on display outside City Hall today,” Rossi said. “Each one represents an opioid death in West Haven last year. I am pleased that we are not merely remembering the 24 people who died, but that we can be part of the announcement that Bridges is making today.”
At least 24 residents died of opioids last year, said Lillis, referencing a November 2018 report by the state Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury Prevention.
“Overdose deaths are a public health epidemic,” Rossi said. “Let’s approach this issue with the appropriate treatment. With the deployment of MATT’s Van, it is my hope that we will be displaying fewer balloons next year.”
According to statistics provided by the DPH, Hartford, with 68 deaths, is ranked first among the Connecticut cities and towns with the highest number of people killed by overdoses last year. Waterbury is ranked second, with 45 deaths, followed by New Haven, 43; Bridgeport, 34; and New Britain, 33.
“We have made some progress in recent years with respect to legislation addressing this continual and devastating crisis, but we have much work to do,” Borer said. “We are not going to stop until there is parity for mental health and we eliminate the stigma related to substance abuse.”
She added, “The new mobile van by Bridges will allow them to reach those in our community who need assistance most.”
In addition to West Haven, the van will help those with addiction in Milford on Mondays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in the parking lot of Beth-El Center, 90 New Haven Ave.
“Our goal is to save lives and provide faster, easier access to treatment in our towns and neighborhoods,” Dixon said.
Individuals in withdrawal from opioids or otherwise ready to start treatment can visit the van to receive a prescription for the medication Suboxone to counter cravings and withdrawal symptoms, said the van’s physician, Dr. Tara Kerner, a psychiatrist. They will also have on-site access to the peer counselor, a Narcan overdose reversal kit and referral to a treatment center like Bridges, as well as transportation to a pharmacy if needed to fill the prescription, Kerner said.
The service is free for individuals older than 18. Proof of insurance is not required.
Dixon said: “We know that medication-assisted treatment is the most effective tool we have right now to battle opioid addiction. Taking the first step to treatment is extremely difficult. We hope this mobile service will make that step easier for many who are suffering and at risk of overdose and death today.”
The van and staff will not carry medication. Bridges offers medication-assisted treatment by appointment at its main clinic, 941-949 Bridgeport Ave., Milford.
Funding for the van and services is from a grant through the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Bridges is the DMHAS-designated local mental health authority and nonprofit, community-based provider for outpatient mental health and addiction services for adults in Milford, Orange and West Haven. It also provides programs and services for children, families and young adults throughout the region.
Details at http://www.bridgesct.org.
By Josh LaBella
From his office in the Anna V. Molloy School, Board of Education Supervisor of Facilities Chris Everone and his staff work behind the scenes to ensure schools are clean and everything runs efficiently. He said they prefer their work go unnoticed.
Everone said he has worked for the Board of Education for 16 years and has served in his current position for three. The supervisor got his start working part time at the football stadium during high school and, after college, became the manager of the facility.
“Then about 10 years ago I took over the hockey rink,” said Everone, “So, I ran the complex there. Then three years ago I took over all the facilities.”
The Albertus Magnus graduate said he likes the work because it’s constantly busy and there are new challenges every day.
“Last week we we’re prepping for hockey tournaments,” said Everone. “This week snow is melting and now we’re getting roof leaks in places and are trying to take care of those. It goes from one aspect to the other.”
Everone said they are working to prepare the facilities to switch from heating to cooling. He said before they know it they will be cutting grass. He also said one of his favorite parts of the job is the people he gets to work with.
“Year round it’s a great group of people,” said Everone. “Great principals. Great kids. I mean that’s what it’s all about. If it wasn’t for the kids I wouldn’t be here.”
According to Everone, he is very excited for the new high school building to be completed. He said the school system has not had a new building since the 70’s.
“A high school is a major building. We are in dire need of a new learning environment for the kids,” said Everone. “This is going to be great. It’s going to be state of the art. Every day when you drive by you see something different. It’s exciting.”
Everone said he had never been involved on a project of that scale and he finds it fun. He said he looks forward to the new challenge for his department.
Within the board of education budget passed last month there was money for Everone’s department to purchase new vehicles. He said he hopes the city council passes it.
“Even if I get two vehicles a year I’m happy,” said Everone. “To have the assets with them and not have a delay is helpful. Especially plumbing and carpentry, because we do get broken windows in the middle of the night. We do sometimes get broken pipes in the middle of the night. It’s good to have a reliable and secure vehicle.”
Everone said the board of education and Superintendent Neil Cavallaro have been very supportive of his department. A Westie himself, he said there’s not a time where he doesn’t like coming to work.
“I like doing the job. I even like this job more than the one I did before,” said Everone. “There’s a little more headaches but, hey, it keeps you on your toes.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
During the late-night hours and if the police must come back the second time because of blasting loud music at a party disturbing the neighbors, who gets ticketed, the offenders or the landlord?
Dear FT Allingtown:
Councilman Peter Massaro answered your question, “The person who gets the ticket is the person who is living there, either the home owner or the tenant.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
Now that the warmer weather is approaching, the weekends in the Allingtown Flats is a nightmare with music blaring anywhere from 9 p.m., 1 a.m., 2, and even 3 a.m. My question is instead of the police just using an officer’s discretion, why not just ticket these people? This will never end unless tickets are issued. LIVE HERE TO BELIEVE IT!
N Allingtown Flats
Dear N Allingtown Flats:
We thank Councilman Peter Massaro for a response to this reader’s inquiry. “To answer the person on Westfield Street in the Sixth District, loud music can be enforced at any time of the day, but at night, usually the cut off period is at 10 p.m. Now it has to be really loud and remember the houses on Westfield Street are very close together.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
Once again, according to residents in the Beach Street neighborhood, “The pavement conditions on Beach Street have not improved. Several years ago, the residents of Oceanside Condominium requested the paving of Beach Street. The condition of that street is very bad. The street needs new paving as of today nothing was done.
“I Cvika, am a board of directors member of the 30 units, Oceanside Condominium. We are all paying very high taxes (over $1,000 per month) to the City of West Haven. On behalf of my fellow owners, I am requesting the paving of Beach Street Condominium. Noting that several streets in West Haven are being paved now, I am disappointed that Beach Street is not included. Please help. We need this improvement.”
Cvika Beach Street
You can watch for a response from your District Councilman to this letter in a future Gripe Vine.
Gripe Vine Readers: My turn to gripe:
I am sick and tired of encountering vehicles without their lights on at dusk. What is the status of driving without headlights on your car during the day light hours? I heard motorists are required to turn their car’s lights on when they turn their windshield wipers on. I have heard pros and cons with the law.
A little research provided some answers for me and hopefully for you as well.
Connecticut Law does not link the display of headlights to windshield wiper use. Instead, it requires a motor vehicle to display its headlights and other required lighting devices (1) from one-half after sunset to one half hour before sunrise, (2) at any time when due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, people or vehicles are not clearly discernable at a distance of 500 feet, or (3) during any period of precipitation such as rain, snow or fog.
The legislature chose to word the last requirement to require headlight display, during periods of precipitation rather than whenever windshield wipers are being used because there are times, such as during sunny winter days, when the moisture from melting snow on the road may require a driver to use his windshield wipers, that turning on headlights would serve no useful purpose.
You can send your gripes, issues and comments to email@example.com or you can mail your complaints and gripes to Gripe Vine c/o West Haven Voice, 666 Savin Ave. Please include your name, address and phone number, kept in confidence with me. Also, if your gripe is lengthy, feel free to use a separate sheet of paper along with the coupon next to my column. You can also submit via our online form.
Coming up: pot holes on West Spring and Stevens Street…$100 fine per day on curb trash…Nonquit Street patching…Timberline Drive vacant house gripe..Allingtown Green clock..grass clipping complaint..Highland Street parking issue..lighting at Ora Mason Library… taxes in Allingtown…snow parking ban and much more.
By Rich Lowry
The race for 2020 is taking shape, although there are still significant unknowns, including whether Donald Trump will get a serious primary challenge.
His fiercest Republican critics say, “Yes — please, please, yes.”
They are probably wrong, and it’s certainly nothing to root for.
Trump’s dominance of the party begins with his lockdown support of the right, forcing any primary challenger to the left. This isn’t fertile territory. Self-identified moderates and liberals are only a fraction of the party, and it is grass-roots conservative activists who have fueled the most potent Republican primary challenges (Ronald Reagan in 1976, Pat Buchanan in 1992).
Because a primary challenge would naturally come from the left and is unlikely to succeed, it will tend to attract people who don’t have a future in GOP national politics and lack conservative bona fides — the wayward former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld; the centrist governor of Maryland Larry Hogan; the former Ohio governor John Kasich, who convincingly demonstrated his lack of national electoral appeal in 2016.
Trump is in a stronger position in the party now. He’s been a rock on judges, abortion and religious liberty. Last time, many Republicans told themselves, “Well, at least compared to Hillary, we don’t know what we’re getting with Trump.” Now, they are grateful for what they’ve gotten.
Could all of this change? It would require a torpedo to the bow from some enormous scandal and a significant ideological betrayal on something extremely important, like a Supreme Court nominee.
The promoters of a Trump primary challenge still haven’t come to grips with how intertwined Trump’s fate is with the party’s.
If Trump becomes seriously vulnerable to a primary challenge, it’s a sign that something very bad has happened that won’t be constrained to him. Say it’s proof of a criminal conspiracy with the Russians. Is the rest of the party that has defended Trump so vociferously in the Mueller probe going to emerge unscathed? Say it’s a sudden economic downturn. What’s the case that such an event wouldn’t tank the GOP generally?
Indeed, a winning primary campaign against Trump would almost certainly be a catastrophic success. How would the winner put the party back together again for the general election?
Perhaps the hardcore Trump base and media will enthusiastically back whoever slays their champion. But why would they? Besides the inevitable hurt feelings and ideological disagreements, they will surely consider recent precedent — Never Trump would be the analogue to Never Hogan.
There is obviously a character case to be made against Trump, although Republican voters are already aware of his flaws and strongly support him nonetheless.
The contradiction in the case for a primary challenge is this: If it’s a bad thing that Trump is potentially a weak general-election candidate, as Trump’s critics say, then why make him potentially weaker with a primary challenge? What many of Trump’s GOP detractors won’t say out loud is that when they talk of defeating Trump, they don’t mean only in a nomination battle; they mean seeing him lose in a general election.
That Republican voters would sense this, and understandably recoil, is another reason a primary challenge is probably a box canyon.
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.
(c) 2019 by King Features Synd., Inc.
Prosecuted for support
Last week former, and we might add very briefly-tenured, Trump campaign director Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for tax evasion, lying to Congress, and violation of laws pertaining to registry as an agent of a foreign government. The 44-month sentence was immediately attached by the usual suspects in the Democratic Party and Never-Trumpers in the media as too lenient, and a miscarriage of justice. In fact, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller asked for between 19-24 YEARS as a sentence for the 70-year-old Manafort.
Judge T.S. Ellis called the recommendation by Mueller “excessive,” and it would seem so. Tax Evasion sentences rarely are extended sentences, and the registry violation is a seldom-enforced act. In the last 30 years it has only been prosecuted seven times. Interestingly, Democrats working in the Hillary Clinton camp have not been charged for the same offense.
Our problem with the prosecution of Manafort is one that should be disturbing to every American, no matter what their political stripe. Mueller’s investigation, which, thank goodness, is winding down, has exhibited the worst in American prosecutorial conduct. In at least three cases: Manafort, George Papadopoulos, the short-term, low-level Trump operative, and Gen. Michael Flynn, the former National Security advisor in the Trump White House, the modus operandi has been the same: Charge the person with lying, even (in the case of Flynn) where agents believe he was telling the truth, and then bankrupt him with long, drawn out cases, and move to imprison. The Flynn case is most egregious. Flynn, a highly decorated general, was driven into penury by Mueller.
Perhaps, though Andrew McCarthy of National Review said it best: “Paul Manafort would never have been prosecuted if he had not joined Donald Trump’s campaign. He would not have been prosecuted if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election and spared Democrats the need to conjure up a reason to explain their defeat.”
It must be remembered the charges against Manafort, particularly the charges of tax evasion, were resurrected by Mueller from 2005, when they were dropped by an FBI and Justice Dept. Mueller was head of the FBI at the time. These were brought back up to corner Manafort, who is a sleazy character, but nonetheless has been poorly treated here. The fact he did not give the Mueller team anymore information was the reason for the excessive sentencing recommendation.
Throughout the two-year investigation of collusion, Mueller and his team have exhibited the worst in prosecutorial conduct. The American justice system is not supposed to be politicized, slanted or otherwise favoring a party or candidate. Yet, throughout this probe more and more evidence has come out that the FBI and Justice Dept., with the possible cooperation of the Obama White House, sought to favor Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, taint the Trump Campaign with a false narrative (headlined by the debunked “Steel Dossier”) and then bring down the Trump Presidency in a coup.
The Mueller investigation is going to be shown as a farce, and an attempt to hide what really happened with Obama, the upper levels of the DOJ and FBI and the Clinton campaign. Those facts are coming to light. In the meantime, the American Justice system was used as a political cudgel, even on unsavory people like Manafort.
It’s just un-American.