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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Schlesinger vows to stay in senate race

I can't stop shaking my head...
Gov. M. Jodi Rell and GOP State Chairman George Gallo publicly urged fellow Republican Alan Schlesinger to reconsider his candidacy for U.S. Senate after learning Wednesday that he gambled at the Foxwoods Resorts Casino under an assumed name while an elected official in the 1990s.

Schlesinger said Rell and Gallo were overreacting to an innocent act: giving a fake name to obtain a Foxwoods "wampum card" that rewards casino patrons with meals, rooms and merchandise based on how much they gamble.

"I am not going to let this bother me," said Schlesinger, who described himself as a recreational blackjack player. "I am going to continue in the race."

Bradley Beecher, a former state police officer once assigned to the casino enforcement unit, told Rell by letter Wednesday that Schlesinger gambled under the name Alan Gold to avoid detection as a card counter, a player who improves the odds by counting the cards as they are played. Card counting is not cheating, but casinos often ban counters.


Schlesinger said he did nothing wrong, other than try to keep his name off Foxwoods' marketing list. But Rell and Gallo said his behavior was troubling, signaling that Schlesinger will face pressure to quit the race.

"Gov. Rell is disturbed by this new information and believes that Alan Schlesinger should seriously consider whether he should go forward with his campaign," said Judd Everhart, a spokesman for Rell.

"I share the governor's concern about Alan Schlesinger, and I will be meeting with him within the next day to discuss his U.S. Senate bid," Gallo said.

The Senate nomination has grown increasingly important to Republicans given the strong showing by Democratic challenger Ned Lamont against incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman. Lieberman announced last week he will run as a petitioning candidate in November should he lose the Democratic primary, which would force a three-way race with Schlesinger and Lamont.

A three-way race with two Democrats would give the Republicans their best chance at winning a Senate seat in 18 years.