I am still at an age when where hearing of the death of a contemporary still seems shocking. Mike Connell has been around the political internet about as long as I have -- we've been to enough of the same conferences that we would certainly recognize each other at the cocktail parties at the Conferences we attended. He died this morning in the crash of the private plane he was piloting.
What I had no idea of, was that his death puts him at the center of conspiracy theory on the blogs. He had been forced to testify on the Monday before the election in a suit alleging he was a key player in fixing the 2004 Ohio vote. His "non-political" company was running the vote count website for the Ohio Sec. of State. As the returns were coming in and starting to show a Kerry lead, the site was switched from OH servers to ones in TN. According the allegations, after that was when the totals were changed as they came in in real time.
The lawyers pushing the case forward also alleged that Rove was putting pressure on Connell to take the fall or stonewall. They were even asking for court protection for Connell -- although it doesn't appear that Connell was asking for that protection. Another blog noted that Rove was predicting an upset until the day Connell testified -- the implication being that having to testify put the scare into Connell so he pulled the plug on fixing 2008 as he had in 2004.
So the speculation is that Connell was killed to keep him from testifying. Although if I accepted all that blogs alleged, I prefer the supposition that he was killed for refusing to the fix 2008 -- it's more Godfather.
Let me say that I have no first hand knowledge that would lead me to believe or disbelieve any of this. It just feels very weird to have this circulating around someone you shock hands with and would chat with until some more likely to give him business came into view.